Leadership Chattanooga is a 10-month leadership development program that allows local professionals opportunities to learn more about and engage with the community where they live and work. Leadership Chattanooga has been a launching pad for the careers and civic impact of some of Chattanooga’s most prominent professionals. We’re here to share their stories and catch up on what’s happened since they completed the program.

This month Cory Howard, Chief Strategy Officer & Co-Chief Operating Officer, Cempa Community Care shares his insights into the program and its effect on our community.

Cory Howard, Cempa Community Care

Trend: When did you graduate from Leadership Chattanooga? 

Howard: I graduated from Leadership Chattanooga Class 2019- Best Class Ever!

Trend: Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do for fun?

Howard: I love staying active by doing CrossFit, running on the riverwalk, taking my dogs for a walk in my downtime, having game nights with friends, and eating at one of Chattanooga’s local restaurants.

Trend: Name one way you have impacted the community in your space.

Howard: Rebranding our organization from Chattanooga CARES to Cempa Community Care to expand our services to offer primary care to anyone in our community regardless of the ability to pay. We have grown from serving 750 patients to 3,000 annually in the last three years. 

Trend: What drew you to the Leadership Chattanooga program when you applied?

Howard: It is easy in non-profit or healthcare to see only one side of Chattanooga. The ability to meet peers in different industries and the curriculum offered by Leadership Chattanooga to experience diverse spaces drew me to the program.

Trend: How has your career been impacted by the program?

Howard: The connections and friendships I made through the program have provided more resources I could apply to my organization. It also provided a stepping stone to experience other leadership programs like Leadership Tennessee and Leadership Hamilton County Schools. 

Trend: You’re a highly successful contributor to the Chattanooga community. What practices do you follow that help you achieve success?

Howard: Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is a big part of my identity and has taught me many leadership lessons. Be Kind. Be Humble. Be Open. People will follow you if you treat them with respect and show that you care about them. Know that you got where you are today because of other people. You don’t have all the answers, so be willing to change your mind when the evidence presents itself.

Trend: What advice would you give someone who is looking for ways to become more connected to the community?

Howard: Chattanooga has so many networking opportunities and community events. There is an opportunity to get connected if you know where to look. Stay informed about what’s going on by getting involved or following the Chattanooga Chamber, The Chattery, NOOGAtoday, or the Times Free Press.