Contraceptive education and access program A Step Ahead Chattanooga (ASAC) announced that Mandy Cowley has been named executive director effective June 1.
Ms. Cowley was selected following a national search for a new leader to replace Susan Vandergriff, who announced earlier this year that she would be leaving the non-profit sector to pursue professional entrepreneurial goals.
"I fundamentally believe that every person should be able to decide if and when it's the right time for them to become pregnant,” said Ms. Cowley. “I am so honored to come alongside the staff, board, volunteers, and supporters of A Step Ahead Chattanooga who are doing incredible work to ensure that everyone in our region has access to resources like education, information, and birth control that make that possible."
Cowley is taking over the leadership of A Step Ahead Chattanooga as the organization continues to grow, now providing education, information, and access to free birth control to a total of 18 counties in southeast Tennessee, north Georgia, and north Alabama. This summer, ASAC will reach the milestone of connecting 5,000 area women with birth control since its founding in 2014. The organization will celebrate with a community event in October.
“Mandy’s passion for organizations that serve women, coupled with her strong leadership experience and communication skills wowed us during the interview process,” said Stephanie Hays, board president. “We’re thrilled for her to join the team and know that she’ll be able to hit the ground running to continue growing ASAC’s reach and impact.”
Ms. Cowley is experienced in the non-profit sector, having served as an associate executive director with the IRIS Domestic Violence Center in Baton Rouge, La., overseeing operations of one of the oldest and largest domestic violence agencies in the state of Louisiana that served a seven-parish region.
Most recently, she has worked as an administrator for the Unitarian Universalist church in Chattanooga. Cowley earned an M.A. in sociology from Louisiana State University, and a B.A. in psychology at Centenary College of Louisiana.
A Step Ahead is funded by donations from individuals, churches, businesses, and local and national foundations. Local foundations and business supporters include Lyndhurst, Benwood, Community Foundation, Hamico, Women’s Fund of Greater Chattanooga, Weldon F. Osborne, George R. Johnson, and Lillian L. Colby.