EMERGE Leadership Shoals Inaugural Class

CONTACT: Olivia Bradford, Shoals Chamber, obradford@shoalschamber.com, 256-764-4661
March 25, 2022
EMERGE: Leadership Shoals Inaugural Class
THE SHOALS, ALA. – The Shoals Chamber is thrilled to announce its inaugural class for their newest leadership development opportunity, EMERGE: Leadership Shoals.
EMERGE was created to develop tenacious, capable young professionals who will continue cultivating a region that supports entrepreneurship, business, and education. This will be accomplished by creating opportunities to increase exposure of The Shoals culture by constructing programming that demonstrates the region's commitment to its rich heritage, quality of life, economic development, entrepreneurship, and growth!

The Shoals Chamber is grateful for the generosity of the University of North Alabama, Bank Independent, and Adventech, LLC, that made this program free to Chamber members. This was an important step in generating the interest of employers across The Shoals to allow for the continued investment in the development of the young professionals and emerging leaders in The Shoals.
“EMERGE is filling a gap in the development of our young professionals and emerging leaders in The Shoals; it was an answer to a question workforce development organizations have been asking for years and the Chamber is honored to be the ones responsible for it. The response and interest from employers and young professionals was overwhelming, but incredibly exciting. We could not be more excited about the class that was selected by an external selection committee comprised of representatives from chambers across the state of Alabama, and we are anxious to watch this program take off and grow!” – Olivia Bradford, Director of Communications & Events, Shoals Chamber
Read about the inaugural class:
JOEL BALENTINE – First Metro: Joel Balentine, a native of Tuscumbia, serves as Assistant Vice President and Commercial Lending Officer for First Metro Bank. After earning his Associate Degree in Business Administration at Northwest-Shoals Community College and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Alabama, Joel began his professional career in North Alabama and remains committed to serving his bank customers while staying involved in the development and growth of The Shoals.
JORI CHATMAN – Tennessee Valley Authority: Jori Chatman was born and raised in Florence, Alabama. She graduated from the University of North Alabama with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration. She currently works at the Tennessee Valley Authority as a Watershed Representative and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Kappa Phi Omega Chapter; American Association of Blacks in Energy; Shoals Young Professionals; and a board member for Shoals Nonprofit Center.
MACKENZIE COTTLES – Shoals Economic Development Authority: Mackenzie Cottles is the Marketing & Communications Specialist at the Shoals Economic Development Authority, where she oversees the Remote Shoals program in addition to other marketing responsibilities. As a lifelong Shoals resident, she is excited for the future of this community, especially the growth surrounding its young professional community.
AARON CORNELIUS – Bank Independent: Aaron was born and raised in The Shoals and is currently a Sales Specialist for Bank Independent in Rogersville. He is looking forward to the opportunity to learn and grow with other young professionals in The Shoals.
ALYSSA DARBY CROW – The Shoppes at Coldwater: Aspiring entrepreneur and recent UNA alum, Alyssa Darby Crow, just married her high school sweetheart and is a mom to two furry felines. She has her eyes set on two goals, community development and a spud themed restaurant.
ANNA EUBANKS – The Baker Daniel Company: Anna, an alumna of UNA, is the Director of Public Relations and Project Manager for The Baker Daniel Company in Muscle Shoals. Currently pursuing her MBA in Project Management, Anna is an ambitious young professional who is thrilled to continue cultivating her love for The Shoals through EMERGE.
INDIGO FORT – Northwest Shoals Community College / EXIT Realty Shoals: Indigo Fort is a native of Muscle Shoals, Alabama serving as a Success Coach at Northwest Shoals Community College and licensed realtor with EXIT Realty Shoals. I am so excited to be among driven leaders towards elevating and evolving the Shoals community.
GRANT HARPER – CB&S Bank: Grant is the Senior Universal Banker at CB&S Bank and has worked there for more than three years. He loves to travel, be outdoors, and hang out with his friends and wife. He is very excited to be a part of this incredible program and looks forward to meeting many new people and learning all he can along the way.
HANNAH HAYES – Crunch Fitness / Owner of Hayes Creative: Hannah is a Lexington, AL native and graduate of the University of North Alabama in 2016. She is currently the Marketing Manager at Crunch Fitness and the owner of Hayes Creative, a marketing and social media management agency. Her all-time favorite job though is being a wife and mom to two.
RYAN HAYSE – Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments: Ryan is the Transportation Planner for The Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments. He graduated from the University of North Alabama in 2018 with a degree in Geographic Information Science.
JALEN JOHNSON – City of Muscle Shoals: Jalen is a graduate of the University of Alabama, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Commerce with a specialization in Human Resource Management. He recently became the HR Director for the City of Muscle Shoals.
ALEXANDRA KASSELS – Essity: Alexandra is the Converting Department Manager at Essity paper mill in Cherokee, AL and exudes a passion for leadership and continuous improvement. She grew up in the Shoals and is excited for the opportunity to learn even more about her hometown.
JANAE LYDE – University of North Alabama: Janae Lyde, Assistant Athletic Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Ticket Office Manager at the University of North Alabama. She is a former UNA Women's Basketball Player and 3-time graduate of the university.
JOSHUA MEZA – Florence Police Department: Joshua moved to Florence to attend the University of North Alabama nine years ago and never looked back. He looks forward to the opportunity to learn more in depth all that The Shoals has to offer and apply that knowledge to his career.
ANNA MILWEE – University of North Alabama: Anna Milwee is originally from Boaz, AL, and is a 2014 and 2021 graduate of the University of North Alabama. She is currently the Assistant Director of Compliance and Student-Athlete Welfare in the Department of Athletics at UNA.
KAITLYN MIXON – Bank Independent: Kaitlyn is a Learning and Development Specialist at Bank Independent. Her mission in life is to provide others with the tools they need to succeed both personally and professionally.
RAYSHA RHEA – University of North Alabama: Raysha Rhea is a Muscle Shoals native and the Communication and Event Coordinator for the College of Business and Technology at the University of North Alabama. Raysha has an extensive background in sales and marketing, and graduated with a BBA in Marketing and an MBA in Sales and New Business Development from the University of North Alabama.
BROOKE ROSE – Mitchell-Hollingsworth / Helen Keller Hospital / The Counseling Circle: Brooke Rose is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) who works full time at Mitchell- Hollingsworth as their clinical liaison and part-time at Helen Keller as a medical social worker. She owns "The Counseling Circle," a private practice where she offers psychotherapy services. She enjoys hiking, yoga, and traveling.
DREW STAFFORD – Constellium: Drew is a Production Analyst at Constellium and has called The Shoals home for about three years. He enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors, and cheering for Detroit sports teams.
CALEB WADDELL – American Wholesale Book Company: Caleb is the Inventory Control Manager at American Wholesale Book Company, the distribution center for Books-A-Million. He has worked at AWBC for six years in several roles including audit, order fulfilment management, and shipping management.
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About The Shoals Chamber of Commerce
The Shoals Chamber of Commerce is member-driven, united, and committed to providing leadership and vision to promote positive economic growth and to enhance the quality of life for all Shoals citizens. Serving two counties, four cities, and nine townships, the Shoals Chamber of Commerce observes all local, state and federal laws which apply to a non-profit organization as defined in Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code. The mission of the Shoals Chamber of Commerce is to enhance the economic vitality of the Shoals through advocacy, connectivity, and education by acting as a bridge to an educated, productive workforce; an innovative, pro-business climate; and a connected diverse community. For more information, visit www.shoalschamber.com.