Protégé Chattanooga

Protégé Chattanooga is designed as a team-based mentoring program that is geared towards promising young professionals who are early in their careers. It provides an opportunity for ambitious young professionals to come together and learn from local executives and each other.

The nine-month program begins with an orientation in September and ends with a graduation in May.

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The mentorship program consists of:

  • A group of 16 protégés and one Mentor per session
  • Protégés from diverse professional backgrounds, with strong preference given to YPC members
  • Mentors who are established business or civic leaders

Each month, protégés will meet as a group with one mentor for one to two hours, preferably at the mentor’s place of business.

  • 100% attendance is expected from protégés. Two missed meetings are allowed without penalty
  • Confidentiality is required, in order to facilitate a more open and honest exchange between mentors and protégés

Recognizing that there are many paths to business and civic leadership, the goal of Protégé Chattanooga is to provide the protégés with eight different views of success and leadership – one from each mentor. Over the course of the program, protégés will bond with each other, gain valuable insight from established leaders, and develop a better understanding of their own path to success.

The cost of the program is $450, and partial scholarships are available.

Key dates for 2017 – 2018 Protégé Chattanooga:

• August 1, 2017 – Applications available at
• Aug. 11, 2017 – Applications due

Apply Now!

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Role of the Mentor:

The mentor should provide open and honest insight based upon his/her experience and values. There are no right or wrong answers, just sharing successes and lessons learned honestly.

The mentor commits to attending the opening reception, the graduate recognition, and their one meeting with the Protégé group. Mentors can expect to receive the outline for their meeting prepared by the protégés the Friday before their meeting.

Past Classes

Joseph Cadle, Business Development Consultant, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

Amy Donahue, Director of Marketing and Communications, River City Company

Maurice Fider, Communications Assistant, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce

Chelsea Tackett Garcia, Manager, Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough

Kaitlyn Grosch, Coordinator, Process Manager, MediTract

Erin Harrell, Assistant Director, Project Inspire, Public Education Foundation

Katie Jackson, Operations and Programs Coordinator, Women’s Fund of Greater Chattanooga

Greta Jansen, HR Generalist, ATN Hoelzel LP

John Jolley, Staff Attorney, Legal Aid of East Tennessee

Andrew LaFevor, Teacher, 7th Grade Academy Team Leader, HCDE, Red Bank Middle School

Chelsea Sadler, Executive Assistant/Project Manager, City of Chattanooga, Mayor Berke’s Office

Chris Sislo, Wealth Manager, HHM Wealth Advisors

Kelly Spencer, Communications Coordinator, Pinnacle Financial Partners

George Stanford, Digital Marketing Specialist, Bellhops

Aggie Stephenson, Community Engagement Manager, Tennessee Aquarium

Allyson Witt, Chattanooga Car Share Manager, Green Commuter

Mentors for the 2016-2017 program included:

Todd Womack, Chief of Staff, US Senator Bob Corker

Christie Sell Faires, Judge, Hamilton County General Sessions Court

Edna Varner, Teacher Residency Coach, Public Education Foundation

Tom Griscom, Partner, Q Strategies

Dana Vaughn, Assistant Chief, Chattanooga Police Department

Cameron Doody, Co-founder, Bellhops

Autumn Graves, Head of School, GPS

Larry Buie, Regional Director, Atlanta Gas Light & Chattanooga Gas Company

Lucky Ramsey
Pathfinder Films

Joe Kane

Joda Thongnopnua
Lamp Post Group

Audrey Mosley
One to One Personal Physicians Network

Josh Lee

Mary Carlie Corbitt

Jamie Ann Phillips
Papercut Interactive

Josh Jolley


Rick McKenney

Hamid Andalib

Alison Lebovitz

Donnie Hutcherson

Kevin Spiegel

Andy Berke
Chattanooga Mayor

Mike Sarvis
Cohutta Bank

Joe Smith

Dakota Williams

Thomas Connolly

Annea Claire

Carmen Davis

Evan Bissonette

Marjorie Crocker

Jennifer Hoff

Protégé Chattanooga 2013-2014 participants include:

  • Tia Capps, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Tyler Forrest, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Alishea Hixson, First Things First
  • Erica Jolly, TVA
  • Jeff Murphy, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
  • Leif Ramsey, SVAD Productions
  • Matthew Richman, Debo’s Diners
  • Tiffanie Robinson, River City Company

Protégé Chattanooga 2013-2014 mentors include:

  • Stephen Culp, Co-Founder and CEO of Delegator and PriceWater, Founder and Chairman of Smart Furniture, and General partner of Chattanooga Renaissance Fund
  • Tom Griscom, former Executive Editor of Chattanooga Times Free Press and former White House Communications Director
  • Michael Lebovitz, Executive Vice President of CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.
  • MaryStewart Lewis, Regional Director of AT&T
  • Ladell McCullough, Partner of Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough, PLLC
  • Bernie Miller, Pastor of New Covenant Fellowship Church
  • Kim White, President and CEO of River City Company
Protégé Chattanooga 2012-2013 mentors include:

  • Ted Alling, Co-Founder and CEO of Access America Transport;
  • Julie Baumgardner, President and Executive Director of First Things First;
  • Rose Decosimo, Assurance Principal at Decosimo;
  • Harold DePriest, President and CEO of EPB;
  • Craig Holley, Chairman, President and CEO of Capital Mark Bank & Trust;
  • Michael St. Charles, Shareholder with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel;
  • Michael Walden, President of Walden Security.

Protégé Chattanooga 2012-2013 protégés include:

  • Lynn Brown, Suntrust Bank;
  • James Chapman, Southeast Tennessee Development District;
  • Katie Ann Downs, TVA;
  • Shannon Edmondson, Public Education Foundation;
  • James Hobbs, Weill & Long, PLLC;
  • Zach Hutcherson, Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough;
  • Emily Job, Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain;
  • Danielle Rhones, EPB.