City of Chattanooga

Mayor's Council for Women

Statewide Women's Policy Conference

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Session Hosts

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Brenda Freeman-Short
Community & Political Leader

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 a 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 degree from the University of Tennessee.

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Deborah A. Flagg
National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Chattanooga Chapter, Inc.

Deborah A. Flagg, a native of Detroit, Michigan, has resided in Chattanooga, Tennessee for the past eleven years. Recently retired, she worked for Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union in various financial services capacities.

Deborah has an extensive background in sales and accounting. She was employed as Accounts Payable/Receivable Manager for Cadillac Plastic & Chemical Company in Madison Heights, Michigan for seven years and was the first African American female to work with their management team. After employment with Cadillac, she became an Accounts Payable Supervisor with the National Bank of Detroit. She was promoted to Bank Officer after a short period of time and later as Assistant Vice President working in Cash Management; however, after several mergers the company was acquired by JPMorgan Chase.

In conjunction with her bank tenure, Deborah was an entrepreneur. She was a District Sales Manager for Personal Preference Inc., an art distribution company, headquartered in Bolingbrook, Illinois. Through her strong determination and motivation, her team excelled and received numerous sales and recruiting awards and rose to become the “Number One Sales Team” in 2005.

Deborah was educated in Michigan and attended both private and public schools. She received her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Oakland Community College in Royal Oak, Michigan, and also attended Wayne State University in Detroit. She uses her eclectic background inspiring others to attain their goals.

She has been a member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Chattanooga Chapter, Inc. since 2009 and is currently serving a second term as Chapter President. Deborah is an active member of Orchard Knob Missionary Baptist Church.

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Donna Hobgood
MD, Specializes in OB-GYN
Erlanger Women's Health- East

Dr. Donna 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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JoAnne Favors
Former Democratic Member of the TN House of Representatives

JoAnne Favors is a former Democratic member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, representing District 28 from 2004 to 2018.  JoAnne served as minority whip from 2014 to 2018. She previously served as minority caucus vice chair. Additionally, JoAnne served as Secretary of the House Health and Human Resources Committee and 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.

JoAnne earned Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing.  She received a Master of Science degree in nursing administration/adult health. She has served as Executive Director of the Southside and Dodson Avenue Community Health Centers, an Associate Professor of Nursing at Chattanooga State Community College, a Nurse Manger at Erlanger Medical Center, and more throughout her professional career.

Subsequent to ending her tenure in the State Legislature in 2018, JoAnne has been enjoying her time back in Chattanooga.  She plans to continue working in the Chattanooga community, but more importantly, she is spending lots of time with family and grandchildren.

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Kristie Wilder
Dean of School of Social Work,
Southern Adventist University

Prior to coming to Southern, Dean Wilder worked with children, adolescents, and families in community facilities, non-profits, and government agencies. Wilder’s experiences include program development for children in state’s custody; training child welfare workers and foster parents; and developing juvenile justice and child welfare policy with the comptroller’s office of research and education accountability in Nashville. She has studied the tensions and divisions in social work between conservative Christian religious beliefs and lesbian, gay, and bisexual students, practitioners, faculty members and clients. Currently, Wilder is the lead investigator for a grant that is researching law enforcement’s response to victims of crimes. Wilder’s work on this grant has resulted in several presentations of findings related to the study. A growing area of interest for Dr. Wilder is political social work and the role Christian social workers can play in this. She believes we will have more equitable policies for all people when we elect more women and social workers into office. Wilder is interested in the notion of university-community partnerships and how the university can work with community agencies to facilitate their needs in a way that makes it real. Social work is very practice driven and she believes that we need to get our ideas and research out into the community. So that is really her passion; how to make that happen, how to translate what’s going on in the world of academics and social policies to the world of the community.

When she is not at work Wilder enjoys spending time with the three men in her life: Tron, her husband and psychology professor at Southern, and sons Ace and Jude. Together they enjoy fixing up historic homes, hikes, travel, foodie adventures, civic/neighborhood events, service and social activities with their church and frequent visits to all of Chattanooga’s major family attractions.

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Kristina Maurer Montague
Managing Partner,
The JumpFund

Kristina Montague is managing partner of the JumpFund, an angel investment fund comprised of majority women investors focused on providing start-up and growth capital to women entrepreneurs.  With over $7 million under management, the JumpFund is building a portfolio of scalable, high growth, women-led companies across the Southeast. Kristina is also a partner in Next Wave Impact Fund, a national effort to engage more women investors interested in impact-focused ventures.  Previously, 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. A native of Seattle, WA, 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 passion for education reform led her to serve as program associate at the Public Education Foundation and later in leadership roles at Normal Park Museum Magnet School in Chattanooga, TN.  Kristina focuses her philanthropic and nonprofit work in the arenas of education, entrepreneurship, and social equity.  Kristina serves on the board of directors of LaunchTN, the Company Lab, the Enterprise Center, and the Tennessee Aquarium and is a trustee of the Footprint Foundation.  She is also a member of the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute, Mayor’s Council on Women, and was recognized as a 2013 Woman of Distinction by the American Lung Association. Kristina lives in downtown Chattanooga with her two children and husband, Tom.

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Marian Ott
State President,
League of Women Voters- Nashville, TN

Marian Ott is the President of the League of Women Voters of Tennessee. Marian believes that citizens should actively participate in their government; for over 30 years as a member of the League of Women Voters she has advocated for increased civic participation. She is a past president of LWV of Nashville, past state League treasurer, and past Nashville Treasurer. Since 2015 Marian has been the President of the League of Women Voters of Tennessee.  During her tenure as President, LWVTN has re-energized its voter registration/voter education efforts, gained membership statewide and reinvigorated League advocacy on state issues especially around voting. As President, Marian has been the main spokesperson in the League’s opposition to the penalization of voter registration drives and coordinated the League’s efforts as plaintiff in a lawsuit against the state of Tennessee.

She also serves on the executive committee and as Treasurer of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government. In addition, she served as the League’s representative on the Tennessee Legislative Special Study Committee on Open Government. Marian was a gubernatorial appointee to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance.

Marian’s professional career has been in public transportation.  In 1982 she moved to Nashville to join the Metropolitan Transit Authority as Assistant General Manager after positions with the US Department of Transportation and the NJ DOT, all built on her education in transportation engineering at Princeton (BSE) and MIT (MS).  She later became the first Executive Director of the Regional Transportation Authority and a founding member of Cumberland Region Tomorrow. After becoming a full-time volunteer, in 1999, she was appointed to the Board of the MTA (now WeGo) where she served until June of 2016.  She served as Chairman for several of her years.

Marian has been a longtime member of the Board of St Luke's Community House where she has served as Board President and currently is on the Executive Committee member. Her direct volunteer service has been primarily with adults as a Literacy and English as a Learned Language tutor and a Preparer/Trainer for the United Way's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

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Robin Derryberry
Derryberry Public Relations

Robin Derryberry is the owner of Derryberry Public Relations. She is a native Chattanoogan, tenth generation Tennesseean and proud alumna of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Robin’s success in strategy is used daily at the firm to assist clients who face challenges in everything from crisis communications to branding and political strategy.  

Robin was honored as one of Chatttanooga’s “Women of  Distinction”, and served as a member of UTC Chancellor’s Roundtable as well as chair  of the PR Committee for the Chattanooga Rotary Club. Robin is a past co-chair of the Leadership Committee for the Mayor’s Women’s Council as well as past member of the executive committee for the board of the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, Chattanooga’s oldest social service agency. She is a founding member of the board of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Children’s Advocacy Center and founded the CASA Program at the Hamilton County Juvenile Court.  

She currently serves as Chair of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. 

The Partnership for Families, Children and Adults honored her as “Outstanding Partner”, an honor that traditionally has been given to businesses and corporations. 

Each year, Derryberry PR commits significant time to Chattanooga’s non-profits as a way of giving back to help others.  She is married to Andy Derryberry who is also a partner at the firm that bears their name.

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Stacy Richardson
Chief of Staff,
Office of Mayor Andy Berke, City of Chattanooga

Stacy Richardson 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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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 Service as a Program Specialist. Her prior experiences have been with the State of Alabama, the national Job Corps program where she spearheaded three departments in Washington, D.C. and Program Director of both girls’ and boys’ wilderness programs.   She has over 45 years of experience working with children from newborns to young adults.

Rosalyn was a military “brat” who was born in Alabama but has lived in or been to 41 of 50 states and Washington, D.C. as well as five foreign countries.  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, Pueblo, CO (University of Southern Colorado.

She as one daughter and three grandchildren (the 3 Js:  Jayden, a freshman in college, Judoree 11 and Jerrin 10).

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