The Bessie Smith Cultural Center board of directors announced its selection for president of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. “After a thorough selection process the Board determined the best candidate for the position was already working for the organization and we are pleased to announce Paula Wilkes as the new President of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center” said Yusuf Hakeem, board chairman.
“The Bessie Smith Cultural Center plays a pivotal role in diversity and inclusion in the community and this appointment is reflective of that. We look forward to Paula and her team continuing to move the Bessie forward to becoming a world-class African American Museum and Cultural Center,” said Mr.
Ms. Wilkes has been serving as interim president since Nov. 1. Prior to that, she was director of operations for three years handling day to day operations, marketing and special events. She has an extensive background in the non-profit sector including marketing, public relations, event planning, organization management, fundraising and development. She has been an independent consultant for area non-profits for over nine years.
Ms. Wilkes has lived in the Chattanooga area most of her life and currently lives with her husband, Randy and daughter, Savanna, a senior at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences.