Mentor Image

Business Mentor Program

Through the Success Center in the College of Business,  we are providing resources for our students to become “Business World Ready” as they launch their careers.  One of those resources is the Business Mentor Program available to sophomore, junior, and senior students. Undergraduates engage in the program for academic credit through BUS2900.

The mentors who make up the Business Mentor Program are experienced professionals who are willing to share their knowledge with upper level students to help develop life skills for success. The mentor acts as a coach and role model to support a student with his/her personal and professional growth. The program provides a great opportunity for professionals to counsel and influence the next generation of business leaders. Being a mentor provides personal satisfaction as well as the ability to increase the workforce readiness of future recruits. Mentors rotate every semester.

The objectives of the mentor/mentee relationship are to help students:

  • Bring career goals into focus
  • Become ready for the workforce
  • Increase business connections  and network strategically
  • Enhance professional development
  • Open doors of opportunity for future internships, jobs  and career success

Business Mentor Bench

Kathy O'Brien

Unum - Vice President, Voluntary Benefits and National Client Group

In Kathy's role at Unum, she is responsible for defining strategy and overall financial growth of Unum’s Voluntary Benefits practice, a $1B dollar block of business.  She is also responsible for the service of Unum’s National client block of business including all clients with more than 2,000 lives.  This includes all service from implementation through policy issue and ongoing billing. Kathy has worked for Unum, previously Provident Life and Accident for more than 20 years and has held roles in Underwriting, Account Management, Benefits, and several leadership and management roles in the home office in Chattanooga as well as the field operational teams across the US. 

With a degree in Accounting from the University of TN at Chattanooga, and her varied experiences at Unum, Kathy was well positioned to assume several leadership roles in the company allowing her to leverage her financial background and management experience.

Kathy lives in Chattanooga with her husband Eddie, also a UTC graduate, and her two adult children. She is an active member of the FACES – The National Craniofacial Association board of directors and the Parish Council at First Centenary United Methodist Church and a huge Mocs athletic supporter.

Work philosophy: Give your best every day at everything you do.  You are constantly building your brand and you never know when someone is looking at you for the next opportunity.

Best Advice for Students: Be willing to take a risk and get outside your comfort zone.  Never stop learning and gaining new experiences that can be applied to your career or your personal life.  Travel as much you possibly can to gain exposure to new cultures which will make you more open to others thoughts and ideas.

Type of student I hope to mentor: I am open to all mentor opportunities and would love to meet students who are interested in a career in sales, account management or other relationship-based career opportunities, or a career in team management or executive management.

Melissa Crane

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) - Senior Service Manager, Transmission Solutions, Information Technology

Melissa Crane is the Senior Service Manager of Transmission Solutions within the Information Technology organization at Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).  In her role, she is responsible for providing Information Technology solutions and support for her business partner, Transmission Power Supply.  Melissa and her team regularly interact with all levels of the business to provide real-time support of applications that allow Transmission Power Supply to provide reliable services to local power providers and directly served customers across the valley. 

Melissa has worked for TVA for over 14 years, starting in their intern program.  Melissa previously served in multiple leadership roles for the agency, leading successful cross organizational teams.  As Senior Manager of Enterprise Services, she was responsible for services supporting the enterprise including enterprise information management and solutions, software architecture and data integration, enterprise content management, and enterprise collaboration solutions.   As Senior Program Manager for the Office of the CIO, she provided expert advice and strategic direction to the CIO and IT senior leadership on a wide variety of business, technical, and organizational effectiveness matters.  Melissa has also served as Manager of Business Analysis in Enterprise Solutions Delivery where she built a team of IT business analysts to support development and documentation of business requirements for IT projects, and established consistent management approaches for the entire TVA business applications portfolio.  Under Melissa’s leadership, increased demand from business partners led to the team growing ten-fold. 

Melissa was raised in Chattanooga and graduated from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga with a BS in Marketing and MBA.  She enjoys spending her free time travelling to Disney with her two children and husband.  Melissa also enjoys ballet and running and is training for her sixth half-marathon.

Work Philosophy:  Don’t spend all your time worrying about that next step in your career, that next big opportunity, and lose focus on your current role.  Of course have thought around your future plans, but do your best in your current role.  Give your current role focus, time, and energy and the opportunities will come.

Advice for Students:  Don’t allow your degree to confine you.  You’re not limited to a specific profession just because you may have a major in a certain business area.  Think creatively and be open to new opportunities as you start your career.

Jeff Olingy

Atlantic Capital Bank - Senior Vice President for Community Development

In his present capacity, Jeff is responsible for coordinating corporate efforts toward serving the financial needs of all the citizens of the communities the bank operates within; from Atlanta to Chattanooga to Knoxville. Before assuming this role, Jeff was the Chief Marketing Officer for FSG Bank (prior to its purchase by ACB), from 2013 to 2015.

Jeff’s professional career spans over 40 years, and includes employment in banking, insurance, politics, nonprofits, and higher education, from South Carolina, to Washington, D.C., to Boston, and finally to Chattanooga 20 years ago.

While living in Chattanooga with his wife, Julie, Jeff has held leadership positions in the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, The Bethlehem Center, Volunteers in Medicine, United Way, Launch, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Work Philosophy: Live a balanced life, you’re a better professional when you have a rewarding personal life, and you’re a more successful spouse, parent, or citizen when your professional life is prospering.

Best Advice for Students: Work hard to develop your transferable skills; communication, leadership, strategic thinking, and organizational, among many. You’ll find that they’re in demand in all industries, at all levels.

The type of student I hope to mentor: Confused, uncertain, but confident and willing to work hard and smart to achieve both personal and professional goals.

Larissa Huskey

Blue Cross Blue Shield Tennessee - Director Market Strategy

Larissa was born and raised in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and she moved to the U.S. after earning a scholarship to attend college. Larissa studied Marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (yes, it was her first winter ever!) 

After graduating, Larissa went back to Honduras and worked at BBDO Honduras. She quickly became passionate about research, marketing and advertising and has stayed in those areas ever since. Larissa later managed a research team for a Honduran consumer product company (later acquired by Unilever) and worked independently as a marketing consultant for many years. She also earned her MBA and taught Marketing classes in Honduras.

Larissa came back to the U.S. to earn a Master in Arts, focusing on Spanish and Hispanic culture. She worked as a T.A., taught Spanish in Atlanta, and continued consulting independently. Her intention was to go back to Honduras, but then met her current husband before it could happen. 

Larissa and her husband moved to Chattanooga in 2010 so she could launch her career at BlueCross, where she currently leads the Strategy Division (media, research, consumer experience and planning).

Larissa's  background is very diverse, which has allowed her to see the big pictures and the day-to-day details to succeed.

Work Philosophy:My work philosophy is simple - Do the right thing and do it the best you can.

Best Advice for Students: Life is all about balance, whatever you decide to do will impact something else. So keep this in mind as you prioritize everything in life.

The type of student I hope to mentor:  I'm open, but would love someone in marketing, advertising or analytics. It’d be great to mentor someone with Hispanic background or at the very least someone who is interested in different cultures.

Cheryl Millsaps

Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce - Vice President of Finance & Administration

Cheryl is responsible for managing the financial, human, information, and property assets of the Chamber, as well as providing ancillary strategic direction to collaborative initiatives such as Chatt 2.0, the Principal Leadership Academy and Thrive 2055.  Her team includes accounting, HR, IT and the management of the downtown office building the Chamber owns. She has been in her current role since 2005, and was previously the Director of Accounting for the Chamber.

Prior to the Chamber, Cheryl worked more than 20 years in a public utility, with positions ranging from commercial operations to financial analysis, and served as a functional expert in database operations, shepherding the migration of financial services to a shared services center.  She served as a bargaining unit shop steward and elected union official, participating in negotiating two contracts between the bargaining unit and company management.

Cheryl is a native of East Tennessee, who originally moved to Chattanooga to attend UTC. After spending time as a trailing spouse in Texas and Mississippi, she returned to her adopted home, where she completed her BS in Business Administration at Bryan College. She’s earned a Six Sigma credential in statistical process control, is a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), a Senior Certified Professional with the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM-SCP), a graduate of the Institute of Organization Management (IOM) from Southeast Institute at UGA, and was recently recognized as a Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, a credential held by fewer than 300 executives nationwide. 

Work Philosophy:  Work hard, play hard.  Pursue excellence, not perfection. Wherever you go, whatever you do, it’s always about people. People do business with people they know and trust.  

Best Advice for Students: You’ll never again be as free to experience the world as you are right now.  Take courses outside your major. Work in unconventional jobs. Travel. Experience other cultures. There is a high likelihood life after college won’t go exactly as planned. Prepare for life, not a career.

The type of student I hope to mentor:  I hope to mentor a student who has overcome some challenges and shows the grit and determination to succeed in life.

Kamber Parker

Unum - Professional Development Associate - Long Term Disability Benefits (Current Rotation)

Kamber Parker is an Associate in the Professional Development Program at Unum. The program is set up in three individual 12-18 month rotations where Kamber will gain exposure to different organizations within the company before moving on to a management-level role. She is currently on her first rotation as a Disability Benefit Specialist, an organization that has challenged her in many ways. Kamber is getting a first-hand look at what her company does down to its core, and she is excited to learn how other roles she will have in the future support the specific role she is in right now.

Kamber seeks out opportunities to meet new people, which is why it is no surprise she became involved with the Women In Leadership Organization so quickly upon arriving at Unum. She recently helped coordinate a networking event that brought female senior leaders to engage with all employees at each level. With over 50 employees in attendance, it was the first of many events that Kamber hopes to imitate and create an inclusive culture with moving forward.

Kamber is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, where she graduated with a BA in Communication Studies and Political Science. She was an active member on the board of the Greenville Area Parkinson Society. She devoted much of her time to GAPS and enjoyed connecting with people across the greater area of Greenville, in addition to planning a $50,000 fundraiser, to which all funds went to families in need of support and guidance. Her favorite part about being involved with an organization like this was having the chance to connect with people from so many different backgrounds and demographics to achieve a common goal.

In her spare time, Kamber loves trail running, eating good food (Tremont Tavern is her favorite), and participating in Chattanooga Sports League. She is currently playing indoor soccer with work friends.

Work Philosophy: Be humble, always. Learning humility is one of the hardest and most important qualities we should all know and practice.

Advice for Students: After school, all your job is really based on is how you deal with other people. There are a few other things in there as well, but how you work, communicate and live with other people will impact your work life, not to mention your personal life too. Remember that, because you will always have people in your life. It’s all about how you will tackle that concept that will move you forward in your career.

Type of Student I hope to mentor: I hope to mentor a business student that is not afraid to go out of their comfort zone and try something new. Whether that is asking a businessman or businesswoman to coffee as a means to network, or just making business cards, I want someone who will do things to push themselves and grow – even if that makes them a little uncomfortable. And hopefully I’ll grow along with you.

Erin Creal

Chattanooga Room in the Inn - Executive Director

Erin was born in Chattanooga and moved with her family to Michigan and Kansas City.  In 1986, she returned to Signal Mountain with her parents. Erin spent one year at the University of Kansas prior to transferring to UTC in 1986.  Her major was Criminal Justice with hopes of joining the FBI.  During college, Erin worked part time at Chattanooga’s Better Business Bureau.

Unfortunately, Erin didn’t meet the physical requirements to join the FBI and became a probation officer with Southeast Tennessee Human Resource Agency (SETHRA) where she worked with adult and juvenile offenders.  Erin became the Program Manager of Youth Services at SETHRA in 1991 and remained in that position until 1998 when she began work at what is now known as the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults.  Meanwhile, Erin returned to UTC and received her MBA in 1999.

At the Partnership, Erin was the Coordinator of Casework Services in the Youth Services Division.  She was responsible for the Caseworkers who worked with children in group and foster homes.  It was during her tenure there that the Partnership had a management contract with Chattanooga Room in the Inn (CRITI).  In 2004, Erin joined CRITI as their Executive Director where she remains today.

Erin has been active with many organizations such as Southeast TN Council on Children and Youth, Red Bank Neighborhood Pride Association, Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition and the Chattanooga Jaycees.  She currently serves on the Mayor’s Council for Women and is a member of Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute (CWLI).  She completed Leadership Chattanooga, class of 2017.  She also volunteers with the Humane Society in Chattanooga.

Work Philospohy: Money can be a powerful motivator but it won’t give you the same satisfaction as finding your true niche in life.  Life is about serving others, not yourself.

Best Advice for Students: The learning isn’t over in college.  Keep striving to learn new things whether it be for personal or professional reasons.  It helps with seeing the whole picture.  Also, keep a sense of humor.  Sometimes that is what you need to just get through certain days.

Type of student I hope to mentor: Someone who is open minded and willing to try new things.   And possibly teach me a few things, too.

Joel Barnett

Independent Healthcare Properties/Morning Pointe - Data Analyst

Joel Barnett graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2014 with a BS - Accounting degree. Upon graduation he was hired on full time with Independent Healthcare Properties where he had been participating in an internship for six months. Over the last three years with Independent Healthcare Properties, Joel has implemented new software systems to assist in operations of Morning Pointe Senior Living. These programs consist of a new accounting system, marketing CRM program, resident electronic health records, and a payroll/HR system. Implementing and training on these programs has given Joel a well-rounded view of different aspects of their organization. Currently, he focuses on certain areas that ownership and management would like to reevaluate in order to identify efficiency opportunities or uncover unknown trends using the data provided by the systems they’ve implemented.

Work/life balance is very important to Joel and believes it helps him to perform better when he’s in the workplace. Golf, hiking, sports events, and travel are some of his favorite ways to spend time outside of the office. He also enjoys politics, and since moving to Chattanooga in 2010 has created a healthy relationship with several City, County, and State leaders. Thanks to his extraverted personality creating new relationships, connecting others, and engaging in conversation energizes him.

Joel is a native to Wayne County in Middle Tennessee. Although he didn’t know anyone in Chattanooga he moved there in 2010 to attend UTC. One of his favorite stories of his first day at UTC was seeing a banner with a map of all the counties of Tennessee and the number of UTC students from each county. Across the top it read “10,526 students! Where do they all come from?” Wayne County showed with just one. That was his motivation to meet as many new people as possible. While so many people have played a positive role in Joel’s life he hopes to return that favor to others.

Work Philosophy: Work smarter, not harder. There’s no need to put in 60 hour work weeks all the time; if you’re consistently spending that much time doing a job something isn’t working correctly. Find ways to innovate what you do. Empower others around you so that they can do their job more effectively and enjoy it.

Best Advice for Students: Prioritize your responsibilities and create relationships. Create a schedule and stick to it! Study time is very important and needs to be at a set time that you commit to. Don’t procrastinate and throw in multiple all-nighters before an exam. Be proactive so you have time to spend with friends and create memories during this pivotal time of your life.

Type of student I hope to mentor: I hope to mentor a business student that values relationships and the quality of life for everyone. With a strong heart and the will to see the positive in everyone, they can make a difference.

Bryce Thomas

Northwestern Mutual -  Managing Director (Chattanooga)

Bryce joined Northwestern Mutual as a financial advisor in 2006. He played baseball and graduated magna cum laude from Carson Newman college with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Political Science. As a financial advisor, he helps clients accomplish their short, mid, and long term financial goals. In 2011, he was appointed Managing Director. The managing director role is designed to be a “player-coach”. He continues to help his clients achieve their goals and also attracts and mentors new advisors in Chattanooga and surrounding cities. He owes his success to God, parents that had high expectations of him, an amazing wife, and a great team.

Work philosophy: Most people determine their success by how they are doing compared to their past and compared to their peers. What if we approached life based on our potential?

Best advice for Students: Every class you have, every relationship you have, all experiences you have, good or bad, are preparing you for your future.

Type of student I hope to mentor: Motivated, committed, and eager to grow.

Danielle Rhodes

EPB (Electric Power Board) - Supervisor of Human Resources & Talent Management

Danielle is responsible for all functions as it relates to Talent Management at EPB in downtown Chattanooga. Her primary focus is designing the overall recruiting strategy, developing partnerships, and managing projects. She leads all student programs, compensation programs and numerous other projects throughout the year working directly with a team of recruiters providing training, process improvements and oversight to both recruiting and day-to-day operations.

Danielle is a Native of California and moved to Tennessee in 2008 to pursue her education in Pre-Med. She graduated from San Joaquin Delta College with an A.A.S. in Biochemistry and Criminal Justice. She then received a B.S. in Business Administration from Lee University and went on to receive an MBA in both Human Resources and Business Management. She currently holds a PHR and SHRM-CP certification and is a proud graduate of the 2013 Inaugural class of Protégé Chattanooga.

Her career began as an intern at the Forensic Anthropology Center as she pursued a degree in Pre-Med and saw a future in Forensic Pathology. After landing a job at a top staffing firm she quickly changed her major and pursued a career in Human Resources. Throughout her career she specialized in Recruiting, Benefits, Compensation, Project Management and Performance Management.

Danielle is actively engaged in the community and involved in several groups, currently serving as an Ambassador for the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation. In her free time she also serves as a Volunteer for Ronald McDonald House, United Way, Blood Assurance and Junior Achievement. She enjoys hiking, rafting and hanging out with her friends and family. She lives in Cleveland, TN. with her husband and their three kids. 

Work Philosophy: Love the work you do or find something else. Listen then respond. Don’t be afraid to try something new and take a risk but in trying something new don’t be afraid to ask for help. Speak up when necessary and don’t do things just because they have always been done that way. Challenge the status quo and always look to innovate the work you do.

Best Advice for Students: Fake it until you make it (my Boss once told me this). Get experience doing something you love. Qualifications will get you an interview but experience coupled with passion will get you much further. And most important, spend time building and maintaining meaningful relationships.

Type of student I hope to mentor: Someone who is self-motivated and takes initiative for their own success.

Jeremy Boudinet, JD

Ambition - Director of Marketing 

Jeremy Boudinet is the Director of Marketing at Ambition, a software startup based out of Chattanooga that’s seeking to change how businesses manage and drive employee performance. Jeremy was Ambition’s first business team hire, coming on right after the company completed its stint at the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator program in Silicon Valley. With no marketing background, no tech experience and no clue what was expected of him, Jeremy leapt into the world of startup marketing in May 2014 and has spent the last 2+ years running all aspects of Ambition’s marketing operations while becoming intimately familiar with the cutthroat, hyper-competitive world of SaaS, startups and digital marketing. Since joining Ambition, Jeremy has been published in Time, Inc., Entrepreneur, the Daily Muse and the American Marketing Association. He’s helped Ambition land feature articles in USA Today, Business Insider, Inc. and dozens of other publications. He’s also helped the company grow its monthly site traffic by 800% while driving thousands of inbound leads to Ambition’s sales team. His ultimate goal is to build a scalable marketing machine that drives Ambition’s conquest to take over the world.

A 2009 graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Jeremy obtained his Juris Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2012, where he distinguished himself with his raw lack of enthusiasm for his coursework, his peers and the suffocating, soul-crushing nature of the legal profession. His attitude towards marketing - especially in a startup environment - couldn’t be more opposite.

Work Philosophy: The best way to approach work is with the following 5 traits: 1) Unshakeable confidence. 2) Goal-driven mentality. 3) Gritty resourcefulness. 4) Awareness that your competitors are trying to kill you. 5) Belief that nothing is owed to you.

Best Advice for Students and Pending Graduates: Take ownership over your career and do what you truly want to do, or at least think you want to do, right off the bat. Make your decision using only your gut and intuition about what you’re passionate about, what you’re good at and what your ideal day-to-day professional life would look like. Don’t let family pressure, the current economic climate/job market, arbitrary social obligations or your peers influence your direction. Do what you love and are passionate about. Don’t choose a career because it’s the rational, safe choice. That’s not practical, that’s foolish. If you love your profession and are passionate about your work, you’ll take personal stock in your performance. You’ll be naturally motivated. Eventually, you will excel. You’ll become a commodity to someone, somewhere who will pay you good money to do what you love. When you follow your passion, you give yourself the highest ceiling in terms of potential career growth. Don’t make the same initial mistake I did when I chose law school (because it was the rational, safe choice). Go where your passion and talent is. The rewards will follow.

Student Mentee Preference: I can offer the most value to students interested in entrepreneurship, startups, marketing, sales, and the technology industry. The more your interests align with those topics, the better our conversations will be. I’m also a great resource for those who are considering attending law school.

Morgen Rose

EPB - Corporate Accountant

Morgen Rose is originally from Chattanooga and has both her Bachelors and Masters in Accounting from UTC.  She has worked in Financial Accounting and Internal Audit for 10 years, first at Life Care Centers of America in Cleveland, followed by Covenant Transport in Lookout Valley, and now at EPB. Currently she works mainly with the purchased power and billed revenue for the Electric side of EPB, dealing with TVA as well as internal customers on a daily basis. 

Morgen is a Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Utility Accountant designation through TVPPA.  She has recently been appointed as Vice President of the Chattanooga chapter of the Accounting and Finance Women’s Association (AFWA) and looks forward to getting more students involved through job shadow opportunities and social events.

She enjoys the “people” part of accounting and internal audit, translating numbers into useful information for management and improving processes.  Accounting has always felt like organization more than math, and new office supplies are a constant source of excitement.

In her spare time, Morgen does crossfit, goes hiking with friends, and participates with the Chattahooligans for the Chattanooga Football Club every summer.

Work Philosophy:  You spend more time at your job than you do during the rest of your day anywhere else, so make sure you enjoy what you’re doing, the people you work with, and the company you represent. If you don’t, decide what needs to change, and take the steps to make those changes.

Advice for Students:  Take every opportunity you can – participate in clubs, go on job shadows, apply for internships, work a part time job, go to speakers and ask questions. Any information you can piece together about the world you’re about to enter with your degree will help you to decide what will and will not work for you. Sometimes you learn the most about yourself when you figure out what you do NOT want to do.

Type of Student Sought: Proactive student who takes ownership and makes an effort to get involved

Nicole Flowers

Prosperity Home Mortgage - Mortgage Consultant

Nicole learned the values of hard work and giving back from an early age.  Nicole grew up working in her parent’s BBQ restaurant beginning at the age of 10. She watched first hand as they turned a struggling restaurant into an award winning establishment.  Through this, Nicole learned that with drive and hard work anything is possible.

Nicole began her career in banking in 2003.  She started as a part-time teller at the First Bank of Dalton.  For the next 14 years, Nicole grew her career, holding every position inside the retail banking branch including teller, personal banker, and branch manager.  She moved on to SunTrust, where Nicole found success as a branch manager by taking underperforming branches and turning them into successful ones. In the fall of 2015, Nicole left an eight-year employment with SunTrust to pursue another aspect of banking in the private wealth sector and joined First Tennessee Bank in 2015 as a Private Client Relationship Manager. A few short years later, a client recognized her potential and offered her a new position.  Nicole recently joined Prosperity Mortgage in the Berkshire Hathaway real estate office downtown as a Mortgage Consultant, and continues to enjoy exploring the multi-faceted finance field.

Nicole was born 30 miles south of Chattanooga in Varnell, Georgia and moved to Chattanooga in 2013, but was engaged in the Chattanooga community long before that. Nicole believes it is critical to give back to the community that has given her so much.  She currently serves on the “Making Strides” committee and sits on the board of the American Cancer Society. She is also active in the United Way Young Professionals and also serves as the Chair for Young Professionals Curing Cancer. Nicole is the past chair of the Corporate Relations committee for the Junior League of Chattanooga and remains active in the League.  Nicole has participated with other community projects such as Dragon Boat and Habitat for Humanity.  In 2015, Nicole received the President’s Volunteer Service Award.  Nicole also serves as a mentor to girls struggling with self-esteem issues, and as a youth leader at Silverdale Baptist. In 2017 NICOLE was privileged to graduate from the Leadership Chattanooga program and is active in their alumni association. 

Work Philosophy: Don’t expect others to do something that you are not willing to do yourself. You should be willing to participate in any position to do a good job, from janitor to CEO. You can be a leader, no matter what title you hold. 

Best Advice for Students: Look to BE the blessing, not to be the one being blessed. There is a sign in my office that I read multiple times daily, “Good things happen to those that go for it.” I truly believe this! 

Type of student I hope to mentor: I am looking for a mentee who is motivated, but perhaps lacks the self-confidence needed to push for success.  I need someone who wants to be around a motivator. I have a bubbly personality and I am a morning person, so I would need a mentee who doesn’t mind a cheerful “Good Morning, Sunshine!” when we meet for coffee!

David Scharff

Unum - Director, Core Market Underwriting

In David's current role at Unum, he is responsible for managing the sales and risk strategies for 4 of Unum’s national sales offices.  His team of Underwriters help identify and validate the appropriate risk and pricing for hundreds of millions of dollars in Group and VB premium coming out of our Nashville, Memphis, Charlotte, and Florida sales offices.  During David’s 7 years at Unum he has managed in multiple organizations, including leading a newly created tech partner focused Service Administration team.  That experience, as well as his exposure to Unum’s sales team have allowed him broad exposure across the company both in assigned roles and projects. David has also held positions in Service Operations, Enrollment, and Global Services. 

Prior to joining the Unum team, David was the director of Creative Services at The National Print Group, where he led a team charged with creating ad campaigns for some of the most recognized retailers in the world.   There he pushed his team to better understand the consumer behavior and needs of a given target audience, and then identify the most effective voice to connect their clients to the those needs.   Some of his team’s projects included work for Lowe’s and Starbucks. 

David has a degree in Business, specializing in Marketing from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, where he continued to work full time as the Assistant Director of Admissions.  David also received his MBA from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2012. 

David lives in Chattanooga with his wife Anna and their three kids.  Anna has a degree in Mathematics from Harding University, where she also received her master’s in School Counseling.   Anna is also currently serving as a board member at Big Ridge Elementary School where their two oldest children attend.  Their three kids, Callie (9), Luke (7), and Evan (3) are each uniquely creative and active in their own ways, most likely a direct correlation to their two parents.  David’s family are all highly engaged in serving in their children’s ministry at Clear Creek Church in Hixson.   

Work philosophy:  Always be aware of how your boss/organization defines, and measures success.   Achieving outstanding results in all other areas is futile, if you fail to achieve results at the things that matter most.    

Best Advice for Students:  You will never encounter a better time in your life to take a risk.  This is the time to think big, but with purpose.  Don’t act irrationally, and do your homework.  Where you may lack in experience, overcompensate with mentors and guidance of those who have taken the journey before you.    

Type of student I hope to mentor: I would love to mentor anyone who recognizes that NO ONE is more impacted or should be more engaged in their own success than themselves.  I am open to working with anyone who I can help navigate, guide, or coach along the path, but not someone who would look to me to determine the destination.   

Aricia Gallaher

Chambliss Law - Marketing and Business Development Director

Aricia Gallaher is responsible for all aspects and functions of marketing and business development for the law firm of Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C. She has nearly 20 years of professional experience in marketing services and operations, business development, event management, and client relationship management.

Throughout her career, Aricia has worked with a diverse background of clientele, including some of the nation’s largest health systems. She has been responsible for developing and implementing sound marketing strategies along with managing marketing teams, projects, and processes to help ensure a strong return on investment. She takes great pride in uncovering and identifying business opportunities, properly executing strategy, and providing customer service excellence.

Aricia was raised in Kingston, TN, a small town located about 30 miles southwest of Knoxville. She graduated from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga with a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. When Aricia is away from the office, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing the occasional round of golf, and traveling. She also has her eye set on completing a mini-triathlon this spring.

Work Philosophy: Where you begin does not have to dictate your future. Consider every day a job interview. With hard work and initiative, opportunities will present themselves. And, once you find yourself in a position where you have the chance to give back and help others, do so.

Best Advice for Students: You have the ability to chart your own career path. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone and try new things. Take the initiative to find mentors and internships that will connect you with opportunities and decision makers—you never know where they may lead you.

Type of student I hope to mentor: A business student who not only takes initiative and is eager to learn, but who is also willing to share perspective and offer refreshing insight. I have had some great mentors throughout my career. Because of their willingness to help me grow and mature professionally, I have achieved much success (personally and professionally). In honor of my wonderful mentors, I would like to share what I have learned with an open-minded and motivated young professional.

Sean Slaughter

Enterprise Holdings, Inc. - Area Manager

Sean Slaughter is the Area Manager for Enterprise Holdings, Inc, the parent company for Enterprise, National, and Alamo Rent-a-Car.  Hired in 2010 into the Management Trainee program, Sean quickly moved up the corporate ladder due to his goal-driven mentality and passion to be successful.  Since 2014, he has been tasked with running the Chattanooga and North Georgia rental car markets.  With monthly revenue numbers regularly eclipsing $1 million, Sean personally manages eight independent stores with a combined fleet of over 1100 rental cars and a staff of over 70 employees.   The best way to define his current role would be as a coach.  On a daily basis, he is tasked with increasing all business-necessary KPIs, but his most important responsibility is developing his leadership team to be the best in the industry.  Most recently, his team has been ranked as the most balanced Area in the Region when measuring customer service, sales, growth, and employee retention (Dec 2017).

In addition to his role at EHI, Sean recently co-founded a start-up company called Watcep, LLC.  Watcep’s business model focuses on helping international college students find seasonal employment in the US through the Work and Travel Program.  Sean co-founded this company in order to help make the current program more cost effective and easier for students while assisting companies in the US with finding hard-working, capable employees for their seasonal hiring needs. 

Sean was one of 16 professionals selected as a Young Protégé of Chattanooga for  2017-2018 through YPC.  He is a member of the Emerging Leaders of Chattanooga through the United Way.  Additionally, he is a committee member  for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Chattanooga.

Sean is a graduate from UTC where he majored in Sport and Leisure Service Administration and Entrepreneurship while also playing football for the Mocs.  He and his wife Leisl are non-Chattanooga natives, but now call the city their home.  They are expecting their first child this July. 

Work Philosophy:  You have to enjoy what you do.  If you don’t, go do something else.  Life is too short to be stuck in a job that you hate.  When you find your passion, excel in your role.  Learn the intricacies that truly operate the business.  Did I go to school to rent cars for a living?  No.  I went to school to run a business.   Renting cars is a small piece of the giant business that I operate. 

Best Advice for Students:  Get involved in anything and everything when first starting your career.  Think of your post-graduate professional career as a funnel:  start very broad and work your way down.  Chattanooga is an awesome place to get connected both personally and professionally.  Join kickball leagues.  Become a member of YPC.  Attend social happy hours.  I have made some fantastic business connections through recreational activities.  Most importantly, put yourself out there and get noticed. 

Type of student I hope to mentor:  Someone who is lost, confused, or timid about embarking on the adventure of life.  I am a great connector, networker, and all around positive guy, and would love to help!