Run the World Luncheon

UTC media
Dwayna A. Haley

Dwayne A. Haley

Founder and CEO
Keynote Speaker

For 20 years, Dwayna has led strategy and senior counsel for marketing communications campaigns for Fortune 500 brands. Currently, she serves as Fractional Chief Marketing Officer and senior consultant for a diverse set of corporate brands and nonprofit organizations including Delta Air Lines, Gilead Sciences, PepsiCo, BET Networks and The Same House. Prior to consulting, Dwayna served as Chief Brand and Communications Officer at the Metro Atlanta Chamber where she spearheaded the reimagining of its flagship millennial and Gen Z brand, ChooseATL, leveraging the impact of DEI, CSR, community and culture to create stronger consideration of the metro Atlanta region for today’s culturally conscious talent.

Run the World Arielle Hayes

Arielle Hayes

University High

Arielle Garcia Hayes is a wife, mother, and current school Principal at University High on the University of Tennessee campus at Chattanooga. Arielle has over ten years of administrative and leadership experience at local schools such as the Center for Creative Arts, Normal Park Museum Magnet, Orchard Knob Middle, Dalewood Middle School, East Hamilton Middle, and Central Office as School Choice Charter Coordinator. 

Mrs. Hayes holds a B.S. and M.ED. from Tennessee Technological University and is a graduate of Chattanooga’s Public Education Foundation’s Principal Leadership Academy and PEF Leadership Fellow. Mrs. Hayes was chosen to be in the 40th class of the Chattanooga Area Chamber’s signature program: Leadership Chattanooga; and featured in the July 2023 edition of Chatter Magazine’s Twenty under Forty.  

Dionne Jenkins

Dionne Jenkins

Vice President, Corporate Engagement
Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union

Dionne Jenkins served as the vice president of diversity and inclusion at Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union for the last five and a half years. With the growth and expansion happening within the Credit Union, Dionne was recently promoted to vice president of corporate engagement. In this role, Jenkins will inform and guide TVFCU’s engagement strategies, ensuring that they are inclusive, thoughtful, and impactful and will remain an advocate for DEI related matters within the Credit Union and the community. 

Mrs. Jenkins is an avid community volunteer who serves on numerous nonprofit boards, councils, and committees. She is a graduate of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga Inclusion by Design Executive Leadership Development Program and Leadership Chattanooga. Jenkins completed a certificate program for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace from University of South Florida. She was most recently recognized by Chattanooga Business Elite as the 2023 Best Business Executive during the Black Excellence Chattanooga Awards event. Jenkins has published several articles in CUES Credit Union Magazine on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. 

Tiffany Mitchell

Tiffany Mitchell

Senior Lecturer
UTC English Department

Tiffany Mitchell is a native of Memphis, TN, who has resided in Chattanooga for nearly two decades. As a Senior Lecturer in UTC's English Dept., she teaches mostly First Year Writing (FYW) courses and occasionally Professional Writing and Special Topics courses when she can. She’s also taught courses for both the ESL Program and Honors College and has taught online and hybrid courses since 2012. She is an aspiring polyglot, a proud Blerd, intersectional feminist, and social justice advocate who always seeks to wake folks up and implore them to make a difference in their spheres of influence. She has a keen interest in history, politics, cultures, languages, and simply being a good human and encouraging others to do so. While working on all these things, her three kids and husband balance her life, keeping her occupied, grounded, and making sure life is never dull. 

Layra Navarro-Flores

Layra Navarro-Flores

Senior Manager of Population and Programs
Erlanger’s Community Health Centers

Layra Navarro-Flores is a passionate advocate for public health and healthcare administration, born in Clarksville, Tennessee. As a first-generation latina college student, she attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) twice, earning her Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science in 2016 and her Master's in Public Health in 2020. 

During her undergraduate years at UTC, Layra made history as the inaugural president of the Hispanic Outreach Leadership Association. In 2015, she was honored with La Paz Chattanooga’s Emerging Leadership Award. She also demonstrated exceptional leadership president of the Lambda Delta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated. 

Upon graduation, Layra embarked on a gap year where she discovered her passion for nutrition, public health and healthcare administration. Returning to UTC, she not only pursued her Master's degree but also launched a meal prep business, "Little Woman in the Kitchen," and founded the nonprofit organization, "Protect Yo Mental," which empowered individuals to prioritize mental wellness through self-care and self-reflection. 

Nikolasa Tejero

Dr. Nikolasa Tejero

Associate Dean
UTC College of Arts and Sciences

Nikolasa Tejero is an associate dean in UTC’s College of Arts and Sciences, where she oversees curriculum and assessment, liaises with the CAS Access and Inclusive Excellence Committee, and coordinates CAS scholarships. Dr. Tejero also directs the Arts & Sciences Residential College. This campus residential student success program uses community building, special resources, and co-curricular, social, and service activities to cultivate a sense of belonging and agency to help its participants achieve academic success. Before joining the Dean’s Office, Dr. Tejero was the Frances Hall Hill Professor of Clarinet and Woodwind area coordinator in UTC’s Music Department. As an artist-faculty, she presented over a hundred programs at concert venues, festivals, and professional conferences across four continents. Dr. Tejero’s research focuses on how elements of musical folklore are used to create Latin-American-sounding concert music. Driven by her conviction of the arts’ ability to effect positive change in society, Tejero has created dozens of projects, programs, and partnerships with regional organizations to promote music, literacy, and cultural awareness in our community.

Kimberly Thomas

Kimberly Thomas

Joseph F. Decosimo Success Center
UTC Gary W. Rollins College of Business

Kimberly Thomas is the Director of the Joseph F. Decosimo Success Center in the UTC Gary W. Rollins College of Business. She has oversight for a team of full-time staff who provide services that support student persistence, retention, and skills development to help them succeed personally, academically, and professionally. She supervises academic advisors, career coaches, an administrative assistant, and a coordinator who recruits new students and implements programming for students enrolled in the College of Business. Ms. Thomas served as Dean of Students at the University of Nevada, Reno, before joining UTC in August of 2020. During her tenure as the Dean of Students, she supervised the Office of Student Conduct, Fraternity and Sorority Life, New Student Initiatives, the Career Studio, and the Office of Student Persistence Research. As Dean of Students, she worked to improve the student experience and increase a sense of belongingness for students by launching new programs and initiatives like a campus-wide welcome week event for new students, a successful social media campaign called “You Got This! Empowering the Pack,” and a program to educate first-year residential life students on alcohol and other drugs. Ms. Thomas also created a team research opportunity for historically underrepresented students and first-generation students called “The Living Lab.” She also helped draft policies and institute practices that served to increase a sense of belongingness for students and increase the sense of equity in processes on campus. She led the Student Intervention Team and served on the Title IX Coalition, the Dismissal Committee, the First-Generation Student Success Coalition, the Academic Standards Policy Committee, and the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct Committee

Le Andrea Ware

Dr. Le Andrea Ware

The Howard School

Dr. Le Andrea Ware is a ferocious educator and champion for children who has served over 28 years teaching and leading at the elementary, secondary and district levels. She has diligently spearheaded several school-wide transformation projects in public education. Born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Dr. Ware is a distinguished graduate of the historic Howard School. She went on to achieve her bachelor’s degree in multi-disciplinary education, and a master’s degree in school leadership from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Additionally, she earned a master’s degree in strategic leadership and an education specialist degree in instructional leadership from Tennessee Tech University. Dr. Ware proudly completed her doctoral studies in education and leadership at Trevecca Nazarene University and accepted the privilege to return to her high school alma mater as a school turnaround specialist. Some of Dr. Ware’s recognitions and awards include the 2019-2020 Tennessee Principal of the Year. She was also awarded the Hamilton County Schools’ Principal of the Year, the Times Free Press Excellent Administrator Award, the Hamilton County Education Association Distinguished Principal of the Year Award, the 2020 Ruby Hurley Educator of the Year, and the 2022- 2023 Community Champion of Education Award.

Dr. Artanya Wesley

Dr. Artanya Wesley

Vice Chancellor
UTC Enrollment Management and Student Affairs

Dr. Artanya Wesley has devoted her professional career to higher education and currently

serves as the Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management & Student Affairs at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She previously served as the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and UW-Rock County campus. Dr. Wesley is a two-time graduate of University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where she earned a BS in Psychology and a MS in Counselor Education, and a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology from Capella University.

Dr. Wesley has nearly 20 years of combined experience as an administrator at public four-year and two-year institutions, at the University of Wisconsin System Administration level, and as an adjunct instructor at a private institution in Wisconsin. working at public and private two- year, and four-year institution as well as working at the UW System Administration level. Her experience and expertise include higher education leadership, financial management, compliance, policy development, student support services and student engagement, enrollment management as well as curriculum development at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Multicultural Affairs

Multicultural Affairs