Become an Ambassador

If you are interested in learning more about the Ambassador group, please contact Amy Lawson at 983-2241.

Ambassador Program Purpose

To increase the retention rate of existing members by conducting an on-going program of goodwill calls and networking opportunities with our members, reinforcing the benefits of making an investment in the Chamber, increasing the member’s knowledge of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, soliciting members’ input on Chamber programs, and opening more channels of communication between Chamber leadership and members.

Ambassador Program Benefits

  • Development of business contacts through relationships established as a Chamber Ambassador
  • Development of relationships with other Ambassadors
  • Recognition for the volunteer at events, in the Chamber’s newsletter and on the Chamber’s website
  • Keeps you informed on what is going on in the Business Community

Ambassador Program Qualities

  • Highly motivated
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Strong marketing and customer service skills
  • Knowledge of Chamber programs and activities, and the willingness to promote them
  • Professional demeanor with a strong positive attitude

Ambassador Program Job Description

Ambassadors are Chamber members in good standing. Ambassadors are the connection between the Chamber Board and staff to Chamber Members. Ambassadors shall be well versed on the Chamber and Blount Partnership by attending at least one How to Maximize session with staff. Ambassadors will regularly contact existing members and share the news of the Chamber and the business community. Ambassadors will provide feedback to staff on the members behalf. Feedback to include needs, challenges, good news, contact information changes etc. Ambassadors are also responsible for welcoming new Chamber members and identify potential new members. Ambassadors are to introduce themselves first as a “Chamber Ambassador” and second “as their business representative”. Each call is a Chamber call only. Follow up calls representing the business only comes after a relationship has been established. Ambassadors are asked to up-lift our members via social media. Ambassadors are asked to attend Chamber functions and serve in a voluntary capacity i.e. grand opening, ribbon cuttings, networking events, Small Business Saturday, Hops in the Hills, Townsend Spring & Fall Festivals, Grains & Grits, Hot Air Balloon Festival, Holiday Open house etc.

Ambassador of the Month

  • February: Aaron Killian, Visual Voice
  • March: Aaron Killian, Visual Voice
  • April: Jessica Hannah, Vienna Coffee
  • May: Jessica Hannah, Vienna Coffee
  • June: Jessica Hannah, Vienna Coffee
  • July: none selected due to Membership Event
  • August: Jeremy Johnson, Farmers Insurance Drew Miles Agency
  • September: Melissa Edmonds, United Services

Ambassador of the Year

  • 2021: Janie Wallace
  • 2020: Tonia Latham
  • 2019: Aaron Killian
  • 2018: Ann Drake
  • 2017: Rick Hudolin
  • 2016: Kevin Ross
  • 2015: Tom Davis
  • 2014: Bill Kilgore
  • 2013: Laura Caves
  • 2012: Chris Mahler
  • 2011: Melissa Gambino

Ambassadors Profiles

Tonia Latham, Chamber Ambassador Chair

Name: Tonia Latham
Company: Epic Nine
Title: Marketing Consultant and Social Media Extraordinaire

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "After 18 years working with local nonprofits, Tonia Latham stepped back into the for-profit business world in 2018. Throughout that year, she also established her own marketing firm to help small businesses and solopreneurs with their marketing journey. In spring 2019, she joined the Epic Nine marketing team, where she empowers businesses of all sizes to tell their stories in ways that set them apart in the digital marketing world."

What's one interesting fact about you? "Tonia was a Navy Baby -- born at Naval Air Station Pensacola! She is very proud of her Veteran father, who faithfully served in the United States Navy."

Shannon Bryant

Name: Shannon Bryant
Company: Sky City Entrepreneur Center
Title: Community Manager

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "I'm a Maryville College alum, and I started my career as a reporter with Shopper-News community newspaper in Halls Crossroads, TN. There, I developed a love of community involvement and small business in particular, working as sales manager and finally general manager. I ran my own freelance writing business for two years before a combination of mayhem and serendipity brought me to a Maryville. I was commuting from Halls to Maryville and back for an job at a marketing agency. I fell in love with this community and moved myself and my son here in 2019. Becoming the Community Manger at Sky City Entrepreneur Center seemed like a great fit for me, with community involvement and engagement with local businesses like I missed from my Shopper-News days. I love coming to work with our amazing and diverse members every day!"

What's one interesting fact about you? "I do medieval and Renaissance re-enactment with the Society for Creative Anachronism as a hobby. My specialty is traditional archery and thrown weapons!"

Sarah Calkin

Name: Sarah Calkin
Company: Express Strategic Services
Title: Business Development Manager

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "Over the past 15 years, I have been in a sales/marketing role for several companies. Almost 6 years ago, 2 partners and I formed Express Strategic Services, a business and marketing consulting company. Our expertise in business and marketing strategies enables us to partner with companies who want to make a big impact. My role as Business Development Manager gives me the opportunity to interact and work with people across all industries. I have been involved with the Blount Chamber for many years in some capacity, and the opportunities they provide people and businesses are endless."

What's one interesting fact about you? "I am a mom of four, including b/g twins!"

Hazen Carleton

Name: Hazen Carleton
Company: Forty-Second Street, Inc.
Title: Account Manager/Brand Ambassador

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "Growing up, I have always been around Forty-Second Street (Family Company). When it came time to go to college about a year in, I was given an excellent opportunity to learn the business, and I jumped on it."

What's one interesting fact about you? "I have always loved contact sports! I used to play football and now rugby."

Misty Castiglia

Name: Misty Castiglia
Company: Misty Castiglia State Farm
Title: Agent

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "I have a background in marketing and joined the State Farm family as a owner/agent in 2018. We love the Maryville/Blount County area and knew I wanted to be a part of the business community. I waited for over two years for the State Farm agency opening in Maryville."

What's one interesting fact about you? "I went to college for nursing and never worked a day in the medical field."

Charlotte Chance

Name: Charlotte Chance
Company: Charlotte Chance Agency, Farmers Insurance
Title: Owner

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position.
"I have been in the Insurance and Financial Service industry since 1997, and started the agency in 2011 I have been a resident of Blount County since 1990 and enjoy all that East TN has to offer. Everyone has a unique need, so understanding that and finding options for them is what I enjoy most." 

What's one interesting fact about you? 
"I am a Beginner Knitter!"

Vickie Coleman

Name: Vickie L Coleman, IIDA, NCIDQ
Company: WorkSpace Interiors
Title: Director of New Business Development

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "After getting my BS in Interior Design from UTK, I worked in residential design at Law's Interiors and then moved into commercial interior design and furniture for 14 years. Steelcase offered me a position in 1999 and I spent the next 21 years promoting Steelcase products in the East TN, Alabama and Mississippi markets until retiring in September 2020. WorkSpace Interiors recruited me to join their team as Director of New Business Development in March 2021 so have been with WSI for almost 1 year. My how time flies!"

What's one interesting fact about you? "Although I'm an East TN girl, I was born in Havre, Montana"

Donnelle Curran

Name: Donnelle Curran
Company: Simmons Bank
Title: Business Development Officer

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "Donnelle Curran has been in banking since May 2011 starting as a teller and working her way to Branch Manager. She began with Simmons Bank in January 2015 as Assistant Branch Manager. Donnelle has been in retail banking her whole career and recently decided to switch to the commercial team to learn another side to banking. Donnelle became the Business Development Officer for East TN in June 2021."

Melissa Edmonds

Name: Melissa Edmonds
Company: United Services, Inc.
Title: Corporate Secretary/Office Manager

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "I began my career in the restaurant business. I have a passion for hospitality and being a waitress for several years then transitioning into a management roll helped grow my customer service skills. After many years I was given the opportunity to use my skills on the administrative side of the food and beverage industry. During that time I received training in Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Payroll, and several administrative duties that go into a business office and make the day to day operations run smoothly. I met Shane, who is the business owner of United Services and now my amazing husband, who just so happen to be looking for administrative help. I came to work at United Services in 2007 and set the tone for a successful office atmosphere and have not looked back. I am now the Corporate Secretary and Office Manager at United Services, Inc. During my tenure the company has almost doubled in size from 50 team members to now 125. I am forever grateful for where I once was and where I am now, and will never forget those who have poured into me along the way!"

What's one interesting fact about you? "My dad's career path led us all over the United States, the longest I lived anywhere growing up was 4 years."

Maelea Galyon

Name: Maelea Galyon
Company: Turn It Up Consulting
Title: Mastermind Guru

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "During her 25-year career in Tennessee public education, Maelea Galyon found herself in the role of change agent over and over again. Leading change, building consensus, managing & resolving conflict, and creating buy-in all require finely tuned facilitation and collaboration skills. Since 2019, Maelea has brought those skills into the business space, helping business leaders and entrepreneurs collaboration to grow their businesses and amplify their impact."

What's one interesting fact about you? "I sing with a cover band here in Blount County. We are The Backseat Delilahs, and we have been singing together for about 30 years!"

Jessica Hannah

Name: Jessica Hannah
Company: Vienna Coffee Company
Title: Sales Manager

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "In 2018 I transitioned from being the Operations Manager at Wild Laurel Golf Course to returning to college to complete my degree. I saw an open part time position at Vienna Coffee Company as a delivery driver and decided to take the opportunity as it would allow for my school schedule. I met with John Clark and we decided I would take the Sales Manager Position once our current Sales Manager moved to Greece. I strongly believe stepping into the delivery position helped me to better know my customers and their needs. I have a passion for our community and for non-profits. I am big on promoting local businesses and believe we have one of the best chambers in the nation. I desire to be a professional public speaker one day! I absolutely love meeting new people and helping others become successful. I feel the chamber has helped me to excel in my mission to love others and help promote them in their business and life endeavors."

What's one interesting fact about you? "Scuba Certified AASI Level 1 Certified Snowboard Instructor Leadership Blount Alumni Class of 2020 I love culture, adventure, exploring and trying new things."

Jeremy Johnson

Name: Jeremy Johnson
Company: Farmers Insurance
Title: Insurance producer

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. I have always been in a customer oriented business as I did restaurant for 20 years. I have now been with the Drew Miles Agency for 7 years. Drew and I crossed paths many years ago during our restaurant days. Our paths crossed again in 2014 as I joined him in the insurance industry. I work with families and business owners to give them advice and guidance on their insurance needs. I always enjoy meeting new people within our community.

What's one interesting fact about you? "In 2010, I was able to visit Ketchikan Alaska and had the opportunity to ride on the Aleutian Ballad crab boat from the TV series the Deadliest Catch. They toured us around the Bering Sea and hauled in several crab pots and see many different types of marine life."

Aaron Killian

Name: Aaron Killian
Company: Visual Voice
Title: Client Relations Manager

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "I love helping people, specifically small business owners. Over the course of my career, I have helped well over 100 clients grow their businesses through marketing and advertising strategies. As the Client Relations Manager of Visual Voice, I am blessed to be working with the oldest and most awarded marketing and graphic design firm in Blount County, and I continue to help clients focus on their business while we focus on the marketing and advertising. At Visual Voice, we know you well; we make you well known"

What's one interesting fact about you? "I am a walking recessive trait. I'm a redhead with attached earlobes and can wiggle my nose and my ears."

Dawn Millican

Name: Dawn Millican
Company: ORNL FCU Maryville
Title: Branch Manager

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "I started as a head teller at the original Maryville Branch of ORNLFCU on April 15, 2002. I have promoted to Loan Officer, Assistant Manager, and now Branch manager. I have served at our locations at Maryville (Head teller) West Knox ( LO & ABM), South Knoxville (ABM), Alcoa (ABM & Manager), Lenoir City (BM), Oak Ridge (BM) and full circle BACK to Maryville where I currently serve at the Branch manager."

What's one interesting fact about you? "When I was a child I had the awesome opportunity to live in Europe in Mons, Belgium for 4 years. My father was in the USAF. It was one of the most magical times of my life!"

Lindsey Plyler

Name: Lindsey Plyler
Company: Lindsey Plyler State Farm Insurance
Title: Owner/Agent

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "I knew early on that I was passionate about helping others, and working in insurance has allowed me to bring that passion to life every day. My insurance career started shortly after high school when I worked for a State Farm agent in SC. My dream was to grow with the company and one day open my own office. That dream became a reality when we found Maryville, TN and I opened my own State Farm Agency. I'm now over 14 years into my insurance career and look forward to continuing my passion of helping others and our community for years to come."

What's one interesting fact about you? "I earned a degree in Graphic Design before I changed my career path and also earned my Business degree."

Andrea Pope

Name: Andrea Pope
Company: SERVPRO of Blount County
Title: Co-Owner

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "This is really what I consider my third act. I graduated from college, worked in marketing and insurance and then went part-time while my kids were young. I had recently made the decision to go back to school for esthetics and get my license. I then landed a great job in that field, the kids were grown and my husband, who had worked in my family's restoration business for 25+ years, came home and said, let's buy this business and start all over! So here we are, loving life and truly living a dream in Blount County."

What's one interesting fact about you? "I'm a licensed esthetician and a skin care junkie!"

CJ Stevens

Name: CJ Stevens
Company: Insurance Office of America
Title: Risk Solutions Advocate

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "I have been in the insurance industry for over 24 years. I started as a secretary and moved up the ladder. I have worked for 3 major corporations and each one went through numerous mergers/acquisitions and restructures. Due to these events, employees were made to work longer, take on more accounts, audit more files, retention rate increased and yet the tools and resources were taken away. Didn't make sense. Currently, IOA is employee-owned, full of resources, Christian company that strives to help our clients businesses. If you help do what is right, you can never can do wrong."

What's one interesting fact about you? "I am 1 out of 250 agents nationwide that is certified in maritime insurance."

Theresa Trentham-Hutton

Name: Theresa Trentham-Hutton
Company: Comcast Spotlight
Title: Account Executive

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position.
"I began my career in the cable industry in 1988 before transitioning over to the advertising side in 2000. I have enjoyed building lasting relationships with my clients and helping them reach their business goals through successful Advertising and Marketing." 

What's one interesting fact about you? 
"We vacationed in TN as a family when I was very young - I always told my parents when I was old enough I was moving here. The day after I turned 19, I put my clothes and my dog in my car and drove to TN!"

Crystal Wicker

Name: Crystal Wicker
Company: CertaPro Painters
Title: Commercial Business Developer

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to your current position. "I have a unique career path. When I first started my career, I worked for a site plan development company illustrating commercial site plans. I worked there for 10 years before moving to East Tennessee with my family. Once established in Tennessee, I started working in property management and managed the company's maintenance department. That is where my relationship with CertaPro started, they were my painting vendor. After working for the property management company for a year, I found that my long-term goals didn't align with theirs. I applied for an open position with CertaPro and was offered a position very quickly. I just celebrated 3 years in May 2022."

What's one interesting fact about you? "I am a mom with three boys! On the weekends, my husband, children, and I, when my children aren't in some organized sport we enjoy hiking thru the smokies, finding new waterfalls to explore, and spending quality time at home."

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