Urban League of Greater Chattanooga has expanded its team with three promotions and three new staff, including Greg Funderburg, a well-known community advocate and local journalist.
Since taking the helm of ULGC in 2021, President and CEO Candy Johnson prioritized reframing the organization. Her vision is to "distinguish ULGC as a minority-serving landmark institution in the heart of downtown along the M.L. King corridor, and ultimately as a driver of equitable and inclusive community-based economic growth."
Johnson established ULGC’s first physical headquarters last year and restructured services and programs under three empowerment centers:
• Center for Economic and Black Business Success;
• Center for Education and Family Empowerment; and
• Center for Equity and Inclusive Leadership.
Next, Ms. Johnson said she focused on sourcing the "best and brightest talent to move the mission forward."
“After my first two years of working with the board and team to reframe our next five years, I knew finding the right talent and helping them become better leaders for the future of our community would be a heavy lift in light of talent shortages and being a nonprofit,” said Ms. Johnson. “Now, with the support of more investors over the past two years who believe in what we are trying to accomplish, we have been able to set a new culture of excellence, source new talent, make promotions and work toward stabilizing operations.”
Mr. Funderburg will serve as director of marketing and stakeholder relations, a role ULGC has not had in more than 10 years. He’s a committed ULGC volunteer and a recipient of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award. During his almost decade long tenure as a morning and noon anchor for WTVC NewsChannel 9, Mr. Funderburg was named Best of the Best TV Personality and Best TV Personality in Chattanooga Business Elite’s Black Excellence Awards. He holds a bachelor's degree in mass communications from the University of Montevallo.
During the past two months, two other team members joined ULGC, and three moved into new roles:
Lya Kimbrough, a Chattanooga native, is the new senior director of operations and client engagement for the Center for Economic and Black Business Success, which supports minority-owned businesses by accelerating growth and expanding access to networks and knowledge. "Ms. Kimbrough’s wealth of experience in small businesses has prepared her to lead several ULGC entrepreneurship programs, including the Next Level Business Accelerator and BIPOC Restaurant Accelerator," officials said. "She will also implement several new initiatives." Previously, Ms. Kimbrough worked for The Company Lab (CO.LAB) and The Enterprise Center, where she assisted local small businesses. She holds a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in marketing from MTSU and is completing an MBA.
Anthony M. Wiley, Jr. is the new senior manager of workforce and family empowerment for the Center for Education and Family Empowerment, which provides integrated services to address family prosperity and to foster educational attainment, personal well-being and increased economic power. Previously, he worked for Dynamo Studios, mentoring young men and women to discover their strengths, to learn how to be emotionally and physically whole and to begin the process of self-actualization. A U.S. Navy veteran, Mr. Wiley participated in two deployments overseas, receiving two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
Sarah Concepcion, who has served ULGC for nearly two years, has been promoted to senior director of policy and administration. She holds a bachelor’s degree in cognitive and behavioral science from Washington and Lee University and has been instrumental in the acceleration of ULGC’s program and policy work in the Center for Equity and Inclusive Leadership. "The center aims to engage and empower diverse community members to promote a shared understanding of racial, social and economic equity and foster inclusive leadership opportunities," officials said.
Terisha Grant, a former part-time ULGC LEAP after school teacher and 2022 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, will now serve in a full-time role as youth and education program coordinator. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a concentration in child and youth development. Ms. Grant has been instrumental in implementing the new social and emotional learning program throughout ULGC after school sites and will lead the Project Ready/National Achievers Society high school program.
Estephanie Acheson, former executive assistant to Ms. Johnson, is the interim regional VITA coordinator and has been with the organization for nearly three years. She holds a bachelors’ degree in English from the University of Tennessee Knoxville.