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2019 Program Schedule

IMG_6536_compressed.jpgAFP TN, Southeastern Chapter meets on the third Wednesday of the month from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Mountain City Club (729 Chestnut Street, Chattanooga, TN, 37402).  Members and guests are invited to attend for networking, lunch, and an educational program.  The cost for members to attend is $12; and the price for non-members is $35.  Undergraduate students may attend at the member price. 

Please view our event calendar and announcements to learn more about upcoming programs. 

Emails are sent out each month to inform AFP members and non-members about upcoming events and speakers.  If you are not receiving these emails, please sign up at

JANUARY: "Effective Leadership for Development Teams"
Presented by: Candy Johnson, C. Johnson Consulting

Candy Johnson currently serves as an independent consultant with more than a decade of experience in education, nonprofit and government leadership. A seasoned strategist, Johnson provides practical insights to local, regional and national organizations, aiding in their overall success. Johnson is a native of Clarksville, Tennessee – where she was the youngest member ever elected to public office for the Clarksville City Council, at 25 years old.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in public management with a minor in leadership from Austin Peay State University (2006) and a Master of Public Administration from Murray State University (2009). Johnson is also a graduate of two leadership programs, Leadership Clarksville (2010) and Leadership Middle Tennessee (2013). She is a co-founder of Leadership CMCSS (2011) – a school community leadership program in Clarksville. She is married to Dr. Bryan Johnson and they are blessed with two school-aged children.
Before relocating to Chattanooga, Tennessee, in July 2017, Johnson served as the policy director for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, where she led the organization’s core education policy initiatives.

Since moving to Chattanooga, Johnson has worked with dozens of nonprofits and serves on local boards such as the YMCA – YCAP, Erlanger Foundation and the Tennessee Aquarium.

Industry leaders describe Johnson as an innovator, problem solver, consensus builder and one who exemplifies character above reproach. Johnson strongly believes every organization can be successful with the right servant leadership and organizational culture!

"Community Indicators Project"
Presented by: Joda Thongnopnua, Executive Director, Metro Ideas Project

Metro Ideas Project Executive Director Joda Thongnopnua presented the results of the Community Indicators Project, a study commissioned by the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. The study identifies community trends development professionals can use to help effect the biggest issues facing the Chattanooga community and better inform fundraising strategies.

Thongnopnua has a background in communications and advertising. Prior to founding the Metro Ideas Project in 2016, he worked with major retail brands, international non-governmental organizations, and startups.

Metro Ideas Project helps midsize cities design solutions and policies that are practical, evidence-based and informed by local data to more effectively address tough urban challenges. At the intersection of research institutions, policy shops and creative agencies, Metro Ideas Project is redefining what a think tank can be with a diverse team of thinkers including journalists, academics, coders, writers and policymakers.

MARCH: Generational Approaches to Development
Presented by: Kathy Keeley, Executive Vice President, Programs & Senior Consultant, Georgia Center for Nonprofits

During a program about unique approaches to giving in different generations, Georgia Center for Nonprofits Executive Vice President, Programs & Senior Consultant Kathy Keeley shared helpful insights with development officers on how to make fundraising efforts resonate with diverse age groups. 

Keeley is Executive Vice President, Programs & Senior Consultant, Georgia Center for Nonprofits. Her expertise includes strategic planning and solution-building, project design, performance assessment and management, board and staff retreats, social enterprise, finance and economic development, and executive coaching.

With experience as a social entrepreneur, a consultant, the chief of staff for the mayor of Minneapolis, founder of multiple organizations, and the director of nonprofit and for-profit businesses, Keeley has worked with organizations of all kinds in more than 25 states and 30 countries. Over her 35-plus years as a consultant, she has turned around struggling and underperforming ventures, helped launch new companies and initiatives, and given established successes new pathways toward efficiency and expansion.

Among the many roles she held prior to joining GCN, Keeley led Decatur-based nonprofit All About Developmental Disabilities as executive director; ran her own national consulting firm, serving nonprofits and large cities; founded the Women’s Economic Development Corporation, the nation’s first loan fund for women-owned businesses, and served as its president for 10 years; was a senior fellow and program director at the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a D.C.-based economic development and policy think tank; and helped launch both the Calvert Foundation and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity. Her unique portfolio of expertise has led her to serve cities like the District of Columbia and Nashville, and to be featured in major media outlets, including 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC Evening News, BBC News, and Voice of America Radio.

APRIL: "PRSA Lookout Panel Talks Communications & Public Relations for Fundraisers"
Presented by PRSA Lookout Chapter (see below for panel members)

The Public Relations Society of America Lookout Chapter is the leading Chattanooga-area professional organization for communicators with members across a variety of industries from southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia.

The group has more than 80 local members and includes professions at many nonprofits with specialties in fundraising communication, social media, events, media relations and crisis planning, which was covered at the April meeting.

Panel members:
Lesley R. Berryhill is the director of special projects and events at Chambliss Center for Children, and previously served the organization as the director of communications. Her extensive experience includes nine years at the Chattanooga Downtown Partnership, a former division of RiverCity Company, followed by over three years as Managing Director of the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute. An active community volunteer, she has served as a member of the Mayor’s Council for Women and on the annual fundraiser committee for the Jordan Thomas Foundation. She is a past president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce Downtown Council. Currently, she serves as the membership chair for the PRSA Lookout Chapter.

Amanda Plecas, APR, leads the communications team at Volkswagen of America, Chattanooga Operations. Her nonprofit experience includes serving as the director of public relations at WTCI and many volunteer boards. Her success in strategic communications was recognized by PR News in 2016, where she was a top-five global finalist for Corporate PR Professional of the Year. She holds an Accreditation in Public Relations, is a certified Public Information Officer and in Organizational Compliance/Ethics. She is currently the vice-president of the PRSA Lookout Chapter.

Kevin Lusk is the director of public relations and physician outreach at Vascular Institute of Chattanooga. Previously he served as the director of communication, membership and development at the Chattanooga Medical Society for more than 10 years. His extensive communication experience includes four years at WTCI as the director of public information and community outreach. He is a past president of the PRSA Lookout Chapter.

Kelly Allen, APR, is the director of strategic communications at local PR firm Q Strategies. She has 14 years of experience working in agency, nonprofit and corporate settings. She is president of PRSA Lookout Chapter, a board member at The Women’s Fund of Greater Chattanooga and chair of the Nightingale Committee, a trustee with the UNFoundation and the treasurer for Africa Mission Services. Her areas of expertise include B2B and B2C marketing, media relations, crisis management, health care communication and more. Kelly will facilitate the conversation and take questions from the audience.






While we will not hold a regular meeting, we encourage you to attend the annual conference put on by Venture Forward.