Meet Marissa Bell – Special Events Co-Director

PR Consultant, Waterhouse Public Relations

“Mental and physical strength, health and professional success are all related. Also, I’m constantly raising the bar in expectations of myself and the goals I set. I want to lift my community up and guide other YPs to success. I also just get lift-your-bike-over-your-head excited when I’m exercising in nature with friends. A dear friend and life mentor snapped this photo.”


Q: Is there a person that you look up to that inspires the career moves you’ve made so far? This can be a person you know, or a public figure (dead or alive).

A: My grandpa, Richard Withington, Sr. He worked hard for his success every step of his life. Before he was in his teens, he was selling eggs. Then, he got into auctioneering as a teenager, becoming one of the most well-known auctioneers in New England and beyond. He served in the U.S. Army. He helped his town when it needed a hospital and a bank, and he preserved many historic structures. He even served in the New Hampshire State Senate for a short time. His final words of wisdom to me before he passed were 1) have a good attitude, 2) be honest and 3) be on time. He was a good citizen and talented at his craft. I aspire to contribute to my community and profession at the same level that he attained.


Q: Is there something you learned as a child that taught you something profound that you carry with you as a young professional?

A: Resilience and resourcefulness. Growing up on a farm, you never know when a wild animal is going to attack your cattle or the hay baler is going to break or a storm is going to ruin your crop or even your family car is going to break down and you’ll have to walk home from school. It’s led to a problem-solving mindset and stubborn resolve. The takeaway from my childhood is when something is challenging, there’s always another way to arrive at a resolution. I believe young professionals have the ability, energy and eagerness to solve some of our community’s toughest issues.


Q: What is the hardest lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?

A: Not everyone is going to be excited or passionate about your work. I could talk all day about communications, public relations and Chattanooga, but not everyone is going to care. It pushes me to work harder at understanding other people, what drives them, what motivates them and what they find interesting.


Q: If you were to write an autobiography, what would it be titled?

A: Farm Barbie Grew Up. (My mom will be mortified, but she playfully called me this as a child. Despite slinging hay bales well into the night, chasing escaped cows for hours and scrubbing dirt from my hands after a full day working crops, I also enjoyed dressing up any chance I got.)


Q: If you knew you would be forced to leave Chattanooga in 1 year from today, what would you like to accomplish here before you go?

A: (1) Let each person know they matter. (2) mentor and encourage a student in all areas of life and see them succeed (3) connect all young professionals to YPC (4) get an arts exchange program set up and running with our friendship city, Fano, Italy (5) create a directory or network so everyone in Chattanooga knows where to go for resources, whether you suddenly need assistance in an area you didn’t expect or you’re a newcomer. Assistance like starting a business, finding a shelter for your family or even finding our outdoor assets. We have incredible public and private entities accomplishing all of these things and more, but I’d like to see a network connecting everyone to what they need in Chattanooga.