New Members of the Chattanooga Chapter 


Shewanee Howard-Baptiste, PhD

Shewanee is currently an Associate Professor at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the Department of Health and Human Performance. She teaches courses related to Health Behavior Change, Sociology of Sport, and Public Health. Dr. Howard-Baptiste has been teaching at the secondary and collegiate level for almost 20 years. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Science, Master's Degree in Health Promotion and Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership from Miami University in Ohio.  She was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the American Association for Blacks in Higher Education, a national organization serving Black scholars and educators.

She’s been an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and working with others to have a positive impact on her community in the areas of health and education.

Celeste is a labor and employment attorney for Impark (formerly known as Republic Parking) in Chattanooga.  Her practice consists of negotiating with unions, counseling senior executives on employment matters and drafting various employment contracts for one of the largest parking management companies in the U.S.  She graduated from the University of Memphis, magna cum laude, with a Bachelor’s in English followed by a Juris Doctorate from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Celeste has practiced law for 16 years, between private practice and most recently Associate General Counsel for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.  She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and has served on many community non-profit boards including Orange Grove, and Partnership for Families, Children and Adults.  She attends Olivet Baptist Church here in Chattanooga.  Celeste is married to Drew Bradley and they have two boys, Austin and Spencer. Celeste enjoys reading, watching movies and spending quality time with her family.


Celeste Bradley

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Michelle P. Cochran

Michelle is an Assistant Principal at Central High School. She has worked 23 years with the Hamilton County Department of Education. Her work experience includes numeracy coach, chair of the academic success program, team leader, department chair, certified mentor, transition program coordinator, and numeracy network representative.

She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She also received her Instructional Leadership License through Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee.  Michelle is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Pi Omega Chapter.  She is also a member of Olivet Missionary Baptist Church.  Michelle is married to Stanley D. Cochran, Sr., and she is the mother of two adult sons, Stanley D. Cochran, Jr. and Collin James Cochran.

Melanie is responsible for the Generation and Strategic Sourcing Team at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). She sets the strategic direction for the procurement of materials and services for Generation (Nuclear, Coal, and Gas). Melanie is skilled in organizational agility, by ensuring processes are streamlined and key skills of her staff are fully utilized.  In her previous role as Sr. Manager of Corporate and Enterprise contracts she managed $1.3 billion in spending and provided support to HR, IT, Facilities, and fleetwide services for TVA.

Melanie received her B.S. degree from Austin Peay State University, MBA emphasis Finance from MTSU, and is a certified PMP.  She is a member and previous president of American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE), East TN Chapter.  She is a Board Member of the Utility Purchasing Management Group (UPMG).  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Toney Cross, her parents, and brother.  


Melanie J. Cross

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Angela Hayes

Angela attended the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and in Correctional Psychology. She currently serves in the role of Business Navigator with the City of Chattanooga Office of Early Learning.  As the OEL Business Navigator, Angela is responsible for developing and executing a blueprint to build the capacity of high-quality early learning seats in the Chattanooga community and, achieving a strategy that grows the community's awareness of the benefits of high-quality early education.

A sample of Angela’s community involvement includes First Things First Board Member, Big Brother Big Sister of Greater Chattanooga Board Member, Retired Senior Volunteer Program Advisory Council Member, United Way Peer Panel Volunteer, Chattanooga 2.0 Early Matters Working Group, and New City Fellowship GLAD Ministry Tutor.  Angela is married to Michael Hayes. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.

Aleetra serves as the Director of Finance for the Erlanger Community Health Centers.  In this role, she oversees all financial aspects of Erlanger’s three Federally Qualified Health Center locations which provide care through 12 service lines in an ambulatory multi-disciplinary comprehensive care setting. She is a dynamic, results-oriented finance leader with a strong track record of performance in turnaround, high-paced organizations.  Under her leadership the program has experienced record performance and expansion and produced positive data-driven outcomes.

She earned a Dual Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Finance from Tuskegee University.  Throughout her career, Mrs. Rice has served in many service and volunteer capacities to include Treasurer of the Chattanooga Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Auxiliary Probation Officer, Hamilton County, Juvenile Court and Financial Officer for the African American Cultural Center.  She is a member of the National Association of Health Service Executives and actively participates in the American College of Healthcare Executives. 

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Aleetra Rice


Kisha Rucker

Kisha is the principal attorney at the Cheeks Rucker Firm, PLLC. She is a civil attorney with expertise in trial strategy, corporate law and intellectual property. Her work is mostly with corporations, entrepreneurs, and individuals handling a variety of legal needs from business formations and contracts to growth initiatives and disputes. As a third generation entrepreneur, she has a passion for entrepreneurship and enjoys working with new start-up companies in support of their dreams and business goals.

Kisha pursued her Chemical Engineering degree at Vanderbilt University. After working for engineering companies and operating a successful family business, she attended Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.  Ms. Rucker is a member of several legal organizations, community boards and civic organizations such as the NAACP and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Kisha enjoys spending time with her family - husband, Leyland, and two daughters, Moiya and Ava.

Vernisha is a Senior Technical Adviser at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with more than 16 years of regulatory compliance working in the federal health care sector. She develops and implements national policies, strategies and protocols to support the agency’s audit and regulatory enforcement operations to improve health care delivery systems. Ms. Savoy is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University where she received her B.S. in Health Information Management. She received her M.S. in Management and Organizational Leadership & Effectiveness from Troy University in Troy, Alabama. She also earned her MBA in Finance from New York University-Leonard Stern School of Business.

She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated. Devoted to community service, she currently serves as member of the Chattanooga Public Art Commission and the African American Advisory Committee at Hunter Museum of American Art.  She is the wife of Ernest A. Savoy, Esq. and mother to Quinn Alexiss.


Vernisha Savoy

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Angela Sims

Angela is currently employed at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as a Senior Manager leading the Corporate Contracts and Contingent Labor Group in the Supply Chain Organization. She has been employed with TVA for 24 years and has held various positions.  She obtained her B.A. in Economics from Spelman College and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, College of Law.

She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Pi Omega chapter, the American Bar Association and the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE). She serves on the board of Second Missionary Services, Inc. (SMS) and is a member of the church.   She is married to Ronald Sims. They have two children Jonathan and Lindsey.

LaTrice is the noon anchor and 5:30 co-anchor at the NBC affiliate WRCB-TV.  She is the Eye on Health reporter where she features weekly award winning medical segments with the latest trends and developments in health care. She also hosts Trends on Three - a weekly public affairs show taking a closer look at issues facing the community.  Before moving to the afternoon and evening shows, LaTrice was the morning co-anchor for Eyewitness News Today.  She received her B.A. from Hampton University and an M.A from Regent University.

She serves on the Advisory Board of Volunteers in Medicine, she is chapter president of the Greater Chattanooga Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Big Brothers- Big Sisters and Partnership for Families Children and Adults.  She is the proud mother of one son Alfie L. Tucker, II.

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Latrice Tucker