Chris Cummings // Pass It Down
Chris is the founder of Pass It Down™, a social storytelling platform launching in 2016, that makes it easy to capture and preserve family stories in video, audio, text and photos.
Prior to founding Pass It Down™, Chris helped co-found Woople™, a learning management system that has delivered over 20 million minutes of educational content to fortune 500 companies around the world. He is also an attorney who practices federal criminal law on both the trial and appellate levels and is a CJA Panelist for the Federal Public Defenders office.
Christopher has spent the last 15 years actively involved in competing and teaching public speaking, debate, and appellate advocacy. In law school, he was the top speaker and winner of the Chancellors Cup Moot Court competition and the winner of the Robert Lee Tullis Moot Court Competition at the Paul M. Hebert LSU Law Center. During his undergraduate studies, he was a six-time collegiate state champion in public speaking and debate and a national champion speaker. Christopher now helps coach collegiate debate, public speaking and appellate advocacy.
Tia Capps and Ashlee Owens // The Company Lab
The Company Lab (CO.LAB) is a nonprofit startup accelerator that supports entrepreneurial growth in southeast Tennessee. We work with companies ranging from street-corner mom and pop shops to tech startups scaling into major markets. We also wake up every morning thinking about how to create a more robust and dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem in our region.
Ashlee Owens is the Programs Manager of the Company Lab, over GIGTANK 365 and the CO.LAB Accelerator. Tia Capps is the Communications Director of the Company Lab, managing press relations, establishing community outreach programs, implement communications and brand strategy, and promoting the various programs and events offered at the CO.LAB, like CO.STARTERS, GIGTANK and the Gig City to local and national audiences. implement communications and brand strategy.
Mary Sedrick // BrightBridge Inc.
Mary Sedrick is the Director of the Women’s Business Center at BrightBridge Inc. Her experience lies in years of problem solving which stems from her engineering education. She also possesses a results-oriented customer caring background. Mary offers management consulting services and training sessions and events free of charge for women to not only learn about business but to make those vital connections through networking.
If you would like to contact Mary, call 423-648-9253 or email msedrick@BrightBridgeInc.org
Jacqueline Merritt // U.S. Small Business Administration
Jacqueline Merritt is an Economic Development Specialist in the U.S. Small Business Administration. Jacqueline runs workshops, such as the WE (Women Entrepreneurs) symposium, offers formal certification application information and help, provides loans, and even personal counseling with clients at times. She promotes that “the best marketing is quality service and quality products.”
If you would like to contact Jacqueline, call 615-736-7465 or email Jacqueline.firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristina Montague // The JumpFund
Kristina Montague is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of the JumpFund, a Chattanooga based angel fund whose mission is to invest women’s capital in female-led companies with growth potential in order to generate a strong financial return and elevate the role of women in business. Most recently, Kristina served as Assistant Dean of External Affairs at the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga’s College of Business, where she developed her passion for supporting and encouraging women as business leaders. There, she worked closely with students and faculty to develop “business world ready” graduates and connect UTC with the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Chattanooga. Kristina has also held leadership roles with two successful “start-up” public schools, Normal Park Museum Magnet and the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, the city’s first charter school, and served as a program associate at the Public Education Foundation.
A native of Seattle, Kristina received her B.A. from Vassar College and served as a Teach for America corps member in rural Louisiana before pursuing her Masters in Public Administration (MPA) at the University of Washington. Her long-time engagement in philanthropic and non-profit ventures underscores her commitment to encourage women to invest in women for both the economic and social benefit. Kristina is the current board chair of the Creative Discovery Museum, vice chair of the Young Women’s Leadership Foundation and serves on the board of the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, Normal Park Education Fund, Launch Chattanooga, and Footprint Foundation. She is also an active member of the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute and Chattanooga Downtown Rotary and was recognized as a 2013 Woman of Distinction by the American Lung Association.
Amanda Jelks// Jelks Law
Amanda Jelks is a Chattanooga native who attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for undergrad and the University of Memphis for law school, both on academic scholarships. She has experience working with the corporate legal department of Pinnacle Airlines (now known as Endeavor Air) during her last year of law school and then spent five years at one of the largest regional firms in the area (Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, PC) where she handled complex business matters.
Amanda launched Jelks Law in the summer of 2015. Her law practice focuses primarily on providing a peace of mind to entrepreneurs through her business legal services and estate/succession planning. As an entrepreneur herself, Amanda “understands not only the legal concerns entrepreneurs have but also has a real world view of what it takes to operate a successful business.”
Kelli Munczenski // Sawdust + Sod
Kelli Munczenski is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sawdust + Sod, hooking you up with over 500 local home contractors in ONE online marketplace and on ONE easy to use app. Instead of wasting hours (or days) finding, vetting, and waiting for contractors, Sawdust + Sod automates word of mouth and lets you do all of that (and more) in about 60 seconds. Search. Book. Pay. Review! Home Maintenance Services, installations, handyman services, landscaping, lawn care, property restoration, remodeling, you name it! With Sawdust + Sod, there is never an out of pocket expense for Contractor participation.
They are honored to have been selected as one of the ALPHA startups at Collision Conference this year. In late April, Sawdust + Sod got the chance to demo their concept with the best of the best tech startups in the world…at the largest tech conference in the country…with only 10% of applicants selected! They are now working on adding additional locations in Knoxville and Nashville in the fall of 2016.
Chanda Maldonado // Chambers Welding & Fabrication, Corp.
Chanda Maldonado is Owner and President of Chambers Welding & Fabrication, Corp. Chanda handles many buckets and wears lots of hats. Chambers Welding & Fabrication, Corp. is a full service welding company offering custom fabrication, welding and metal repair. They have over 15 years of experience and their professional welding fabricators provide superior service in our welding shop and field service.
Judy Herman // Judy’s Counseling Services
As a licensed professional counselor and mental health service provider (LPC-MHSP) Judy Herman writes, counsels, and speaks from a holistic Christian view that empowers authentic living. She specializes in helping couples create emotional safety and connection in their relationships – guiding them to be heard, understood, and valued so they can gain confidence and skills to be connected and cared for.
Beth Wright// MomSource Network
Ms. Wright is responsible for recruiting and interviewing qualified candidates for the MomSource Network and representing the MomSource Network at various events. She is currently responsible for creating the monthly newsletter and all social media management for the organization. Beth has been a stay at home mom for 3 years and wouldn’t trade it for anything. She is very passionate about the Momforce mission and looks forward to being an advocate for professional moms and connecting them with flexible employment opportunities!
The MomSource Network, with operations in Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga, is the only organization dedicated to be the advocate for flexible employment.
Jennifer Harper// Bridge Financial Planning
Jennifer is the Founder and Director of Bridge Financial Planning, LLC, providing fee-only financial planning & investing for todays professionals. She began her career in financial services in 2000, in 2001 she graduated from the MBA program at UTC, and in 2006 earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ® designation. Throughout her career she has delivered advisory services to clients and their families & businesses.
Ms. Harper is also the Founding Director of Common Cents Financial Literacy, Inc., a nonprofit organization founded in 2005. The mission of Common Cents is to promote and encourage financial education, focusing on ages 16-22. Through this organization, she has had the opportunity to work with several community organizations and schools to teach personal financial principles that are applicable to everyone.
In 2010, Ms. Harper was the recipient of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce Lightkeeper award for her work with Common Cents and is also an adjunct instructor for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga College of Business, teaching Small Business Finance.
Larry Vinyard and Scottie Neil// Pinnacle Bank
Mr. Vinyard brings 13 years of banking experience to Pinnacle as Office Leader and most recently served at FSGBank as a business banker. Prior to FSG, he worked at Regions and Wells Fargo.
Ms. Neil has 16 years of banking experience she brings to Pinnacle as Financial Advisor and most recently worked at Bank of America as a senior small business banker.
Ken Hays // The Enterprise Center
Ken Hays’ professional career is a unique mix of real estate development and public affairs, beginning with four years as Assistant Chief of Protocol for the White House and the U. S. State Department, and leading most recently to his position as president and CEO of The Enterprise Center in Chattanooga.
In 2000, Mr. Hays was named President of the RiverCity Company, Chattanooga’s downtown development company. During his four-year tenure, Mr. Hays helped revive the downtown residential market, and he was instrumental in the design and development of Chattanooga’s $120 million 21st Century Waterfront Plan. He now serves on the boards of the Chattanooga Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise and the Fannie Mae Tennessee Advisory Council.
Ashley McAdoo // Shine Beauty and Wellness
Ashley McAdoo of Shine Beauty and Wellness joins our Women in Business program to discuss her journey to health, balancing work and home life as a mother, and her business.
Ashley is a Holistic Health coach, raw foods chef, yoga teacher, avid runner, mother of two and wife to her best friend. Ashley believes that food is the best medicine and that we are in control of our health and happiness. She wants you to fall in love with your body, mind and soul all over again. Ashley will work with you to meet your individual needs as a client. She believes in bio-individuality and that each client needs a custom plan that works for their body and lifestyle.