City of Chattanooga

Mayor's Council for Women

Statewide Women's Policy Conference

Session Hosts

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JoAnne Favors
Joanne Favors is a former Democratic member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, representing District 28 from 2004 to 2018. Favors served as minority whip from 2014 to 2018. She previously served as minority caucus vice chair. Additionally, Representative Favors served as the Secretary of the House Health and Human Resources Committee and a member of the Children and Family Affairs Committee, the Commerce Committee, the Domestic Relations Subcommittee, the Small Business Subcommittee, the Professional Occupations Subcommittee, and the Public Health and Family Assistance Subcommittee.

Favors earned her A.S. and a B.S. in nursing. She received her M.S. in nursing administration/adult health. She has served as the Executive Director of Southside and Dodson Avenue Community Health Centers, an Associate Professor of Nursing at Chattanooga State Community College, a Nurse Manager at Erlanger Medical Center, and more throughout her professional career.
Since her time in the State Legislature ended in 2018, Joanne has been enjoying her time back in Chattanooga. She has plans to continue working in the Chattanooga community and is exploring her opportunities while most importantly- spending a lot of time with her family and grandchildren.

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Brenda Freeman-Short
Brenda is a community and political leader. She ran for the office of U.S. House of Representatives for the Third District of Tennessee in 2010. She was elected as a Charter Commissioner of her city and served a two-year term. She has served as East Tennessee Vice President for the Tennessee Federation of Democratic Women. Brenda was appointed by former Congresswoman Marilyn Lloyd as coordinator of a Child Care Task Force.
She is a member of the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute, Tennessee Bar Association, and serves as Vice President of Community Bridgebuilders, Inc. She presently serves as co-chair of the Justice Committee of the Mayor’s Council For Women.

Brenda is an advocate for women and children, working tirelessly to help develop and introduce policy that will improve the lives of women. She has worked with abused children through the Chambliss Center for Children. She is an advocate for former women inmates, in court as well as teaching in the prison system. Brenda received her law degree from the Nashville School of Law and Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee.

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Katherlyn Geter
Katherlyn Geter currently serves as the District 5 Commissioner for Hamilton County. Commissioner Geter serves on four committees: The Diversity and Equity Committee (on which she serves as the chairperson), The Legal and Legislative Committee, The Health, Human Services, Personnel, Arts, Recreation, and Public Relations Committee, and The Roads, Waste, Energy, Transportation, and Zoning Committee.

She holds a degree in human service management from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and has more than 17 years of experience overseeing programs that help people understand health insurance, including Medicare, Medicaid and the federal insurance marketplace.

The mother of two sons, Geter is a member and health and wellness leader at Mount Canaan Baptist Church and also was named a faith-based health ambassador through the Tennessee Office of Minority Health.

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April Goebeler
April Goebeler is a native of East Tennessee. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia and New York University Law School. She practiced civil litigation in Atlanta for five years prior to moving to Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2013.
She is currently actively involved in the Mayor’s Council for Women, League of Women Voters of Chattanooga, and is a founding member of Empower Women PAC. She is married to Nick Goebeler, owner of Chik-fil-A at Brainerd, and a mother to two girls- Rose and Vera.

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Virginia W. Harris
National President, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc.

Dynamic, highly respected, public servant and community leader. All these words and more describe Virginia W. Harris. She
retired from the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners in July 2006, as County Auditor after 20 years of service. Other professional positions included Accounting Director & Financial Management Analyst, Gwinnett County, Audit Manager, State of Georgia, Comptroller, Governor’s Office – Women’s Services, State of Louisiana, Accountant, Sears Roebuck and Company, South Eastern Regional Office and Accountant with Arthur Young and Company.

Virginia W. Harris was elected President of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. at the 18th Biennial Conference, September 23, 2017 in Baltimore, MD. Having served as a member of the Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter for 27 years, President Harris has consistently demonstrated her leadership abilities through successfully serving at both the national and local chapter levels. For the past 15 years she has served as First Vice President of Programs, Vice President of Finance and Fund Development, National Treasurer and chaired several national committees. At the chapter level, President Harris held the offices of President, Vice President of Programs, Treasurer, and Assistant Treasurer. She was chair of the Public Policy, Nominations and Scholarship Committees. She is also a member of her chapter’s Presidents Advisory Board, an advisory group consisting of past chapter presidents created to provide ongoing guidance to the chapter.

Virginia served on the Board of Directors for the following organizations: Past President, Albany State University Foundation Board of Trustee; Past Chair, Georgia DOL-Statewide Youth Motivation Task Force Program; Vice President of the Gwinnett-Rockdale-Newton Community Service Board, National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA), Gwinnett Chapter, American Red Cross Advisory Board , Southern Education Foundation, Board Member, member of Women Ministry Council, and President of the Ladies Usher Board at The Historical Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Virginia is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., The Links Inc. and the Continental Societies Inc. Virginia regularly participates in the National Urban League’s BEEP-Program, lecturing at Historical Black Colleges and Universities. Her stellar work and staunch commitment have earned her numerous national, regional, state and local awards.

Educationally, President Harris holds a Masters of Public Administration degree, Bachelor of Business Administration degree, is a Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Government Financial Manager. She is also a graduate of Georgia’s Regional Leadership Institute, Leadership Atlanta, Leadership Gwinnett and Graduate of Harvard Non-Profit Leadership Program.

Virginia resides in Stone Mountain. She is the widow of Keith Harris, a native Atlantan, and they have two adult children, Mark and Veketa, three grandsons; Joshua, Andrew and Ethan, and two granddaughters, Hannah and Ava. She is a member of the Historical Ebenezer Baptist Church. Virginia enjoys traveling, reading, tennis and is learning to play golf.

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Donna Hobgood
Dr. Hobgood is a graduate of the Medical College of Georgia. Following a rotating internship, she completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Erlanger Health System. She has been in private practice in Chattanooga since 1988. Dr. Hobgood is board-certified by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. Hobgood practices both obstetrics and gynecology. She is active in family, community and professional leadership.

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Rachel Schulson
Founding President of A Step Ahead Chattanooga 

Rachel Schulson is the founding President of A Step Ahead Chattanooga (ASAC). Modeled after A Step Ahead Foundation in Memphis, ASAC provides information about and free access to long-term, reversible birth control. In just under five years, her organization has connected more than 2,000 women with free birth control and educated more than 20,000 people about contraception and its impacts on women, families, and communities.

Rachel served on the board of the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga for six years and is still a member of its Scholarship Committee. She is on the board of the Regional Health Council and the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department’s Family Planning Advisory Council. She was the founding chair of the Healthcare Committee of the Mayor’s Council for Women. Rachel was a 2017 Woman of Distinction and a 2019 recipient of the Girls Inc. UnBought and UnBossed Award.

Rachel and her husband, Henry, both New York City natives, met at a softball game in Central Park. They and their children, Michael and Leah, moved to Chattanooga from Dallas 21 years ago when Henry was named director of the Creative Discovery Museum.

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Rosalyn Leavell-Rice
Regional Program Administrator, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth

Rosalyn Leavell-Rice serves Southeast Tennessee, as the Regional Program Administrator, for the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth.  She formerly was employed by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services as a Program Specialist.   Her prior experiences have been with the State of Alabama, the national Job Corps program where spearheaded three departments in Washington, D.C. and Program Director of both girls’ and boys’ wilderness programs.  She has over 45 years experiencing working with children from newborns to young adults.  

She has a Master’s in Public Administration from Jacksonville State University in Alabama and a B.S. in Sociology/Criminology from Colorado State University in Pueblo, Colorado (University of Southern Colorado)

She has one daughter and three grandchildren (the 3 Js:  Jayden, a freshman in college, Judoree 11 and Jerrin 10).  She is  a military “brat,” who was born Alabama but has been Blessed to have lived in or been to 41 out 50 states and Washington, D.C., as well as five foreign countries.

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Stacy Richardson
Stacy began serving as Chief of Staff to Mayor Andy Berke in 2015. Prior to that, she served as the Chief Policy Officer and Senior Advisor to the mayor. Her background is in both politics and policy, serving as the campaign manager for the Berke for Mayor Campaign and as a research fellow at the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies.

Over the years, Stacy has worked alongside numerous public and private partners to help implement several key mayoral initiatives, including growing Chattanooga’s innovation and technology economy through the Innovation District, ensuring families have the opportunity to succeed through Baby University, and coordinating the work and policy directives of the Mayor’s Council for Women.

A native to Chattanooga, Stacy graduated with both departmental and university honors from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Most recently, Stacy obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy.

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EST 2015 - City of Chattanooga - Mayor's Council for Women
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