Business leaders provide mentorship for Protégé Chattanooga participants. (Screenshot: Staff)

The Young Professionals of Chattanooga has announced the list of locals picked for the Protégé Chattanooga 2017–2018 class.

Protégé Chattanooga is a nine-month, team-based mentorship program.

The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and Young Professionals of Chattanooga (formerly Young Professionals Association of Chattanooga) collaborate to offer the program, which connects local talent with key community and business leaders.


This year’s class is:

  • Marissa Bell, interim communication director, city of Chattanooga, mayor’s office
  • Crystal Bishop, water quality program manager, Hamilton County
  • Lexi Bozarth, Realtor, Keller Williams
  • Stephanie Hays, community manager/marketing director, Tomorrow Building/Lamp Post Properties
  • Kelly Marlow, associate producer, Leo Events
  • Karen Jolley, judicial law clerk, U.S. District Court
  • Zach LeQuire, senior treasury analyst, U.S. Xpress
  • Tripp Noojin III, major crimes detective, Red Bank Police Department
  • Erwin Ovalle, president, MCS Inc./Ovalle’s One Plate at a Time
  • Christina Oyler, digital planner, The Johnson Group
  • Anne Schwenke, member services coordinator, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Sean Slaughter, area manager, Enterprise Holdings Inc.
  • Joey Thomas, firefighter engineer/EMT, Chattanooga Fire Department
  • Kate Trundle, senior tax accountant, Elliott Davis Decosimo
  • Cindy West, director of transportation, Bellhops
  • Hannah Wike, HR generalist, Skuid

Over the next nine months, these young professionals will learn about the challenges of leadership and development in a series of meetings with civic and business leaders.

As part of the program, the group will also design and complete a service project aimed at addressing a particular community need of their choosing.

“We are excited to welcome these young professionals to a mentorship program that will advance their professional strengths by enabling them to connect with and learn from some of Chattanooga’s top leaders,” YPC President Graham Harrell said in a prepared statement.

This year’s Protégés will be mentored by:

  • Marco Perez, vice president of operations, LAUNCH Chattanooga
  • Tiffanie Robinson, CEO/president, Lamp Post Properties/Second Story Real Estate Management
  • Zac Brown, assistant superintendent for school operations, Hamilton County Department of Education
  • Mickey Cloud, senior vice president/head of Chattanooga office, VaynerMedia
  • Valoria Armstrong, president, Tennessee American Water
  • Mike Sarvis, Chattanooga market executive, Synovus
  • Julie Baumgardner, CEO/president, First Things First
  • Matt Busby, director, The Camp House; pastor of cultural engagement, Mission Chattanooga