CEO Connection

Candy Johnson

President & Chief Executive Officer

Johnson’s professional experience includes nearly two decades of leadership in nonprofit, government, education and various civic roles. Her most recent role started in 2021, when Johnson was named the first female President and CEO for the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga (ULGC).

In less than two years, working strategically alongside the ULGC’s Board of Directors, she led the effort to raise the necessary capital for the successful acquisition of a $3.8 million Urban League headquarters, after nearly 40 years of the organization’s existence as renters. Also, while under her leadership the team has doubled in size, received the largest single philanthropic gift in its history from the Mackenzie Scott foundation, launched its first State of Black Chattanooga research report and the first ULGC individual giving circle, The President’s Circle.

Before joining the Urban League, she served as a senior advisor to Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, where she acted as a member of the mayor’s senior leadership team. Johnson headed up the community-focused initiatives to create sustainable partnerships and external investments to advance the economic, racial and social equity agenda of the administration, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life for more residents. During her tenure with the Berke administration, she also led the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Alliance in partnership with Bloomberg Associates, co-created the Styles L. Hutchins Black College Student Fellowship and led other public engagement efforts.

Prior to joining the City of Chattanooga in 2019, Johnson worked as an independent consultant offering services to nonprofit organizations in strategic planning, diversity and inclusion initiatives, resource
development, and educational equity advocacy. She also served as the policy director for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce before relocating to Chattanooga in July 2017 with her husband and two children. Before embarking on her career in policy, Johnson served as executive director of a nonprofit organization, the Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation for seven years. A native of Clarksville, Tennessee, she was also the youngest member ever elected to public office for the Clarksville City Council, at 25 years of age.

Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in public management from Austin Peay State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Murray State University. She is also a graduate of various community leadership programs to include: Leadership Tennessee, Leadership Middle Tennessee, Leadership Clarksville, Hunt Institute; Score Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Citizen Academy and the Harvard Young American Leaders Program.

She has served as an adjunct professor in the University of Tennessee System and currently serves on several local and state boards such as, the Tennessee Aquarium, Truist Bank Advisory Board, TVA RERC Advisory Board, CHI Memorial Hospital Board, Southeast Tennessee Workforce Development Board, among others.

CEO Related Articles & Publications

ICYMI: From WUTC's Scenic Roots

From WUTC‘s Scenic Roots, as we near the end of this Black History Month, listen to our conversation with Candy Johnson, President and CEO of Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, here.

ULGC President/CEO Candy Johnson was featured in Costa Media Advisors Podcast

In this episode, Candy Johnson shares how she learned to deal with rejection, how moving to Chattanooga from the Nashville area opened her eyes to the work Chattanooga needs to do with inclusion of all citizens, and what the Urban League’s focus is for the future.