Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 14, 2020

Leadership Chattanooga alumni spotlight: Judge Christie Sell


Leadership Chattanooga is a 10-month leadership development program that allows local professionals opportunities to learn more about and engage with the community where they live and work.

Nominations are open at www.chattanoogachamber.com/leadership/nominate_apply.

Leadership Chattanooga has been a launch pad for the careers and civic impact of some of Chattanooga’s most prominent professionals. Christie Sell, a judge for Hamilton County General Sessions Court and 2002 graduate of Leadership Chattanooga, shares her insights.

Tell us about yourself.

“I’m a mother of a 21-year-old daughter and 19-year-old son, which has been both work and fun, but is mostly fun. I’ve been a judge for over 14 years and a lifelong volunteer in Chattanooga. My husband and I enjoy boating, biking, traveling and anything outdoors.’’

Name one way you believe you have impacted the community.

“I don’t know that the things I’ve done are measurable in a specific way. I hope I’ve been a mentor to young people, especially women. Although you can’t be all things at once, I hope I’ve demonstrated you can be a mother, wife, friend, volunteer, have a career and enjoy life. I strive to impact our community every day as a judge by helping people so they don’t reoffend and can make a better life for themselves.

“One thing I accomplished a long time ago when I was a student at Notre Dame High School was petitioning the city to put a traffic light at the intersection of Glenwood and Third Streets because there had been so many wrecks of students coming and going from school. It taught me that you’re never too young to see a problem and figure out how to fix it.’’

What drew you to apply to Leadership Chattanooga?

“I had known many graduates whom I respected and looked to for guidance in my career.’’

How has the program impacted your career?

“The program encourages us to be a part of and support local government and elections. Had I not participated in the program, I don’t believe I would have run for office. When a friend and mentor told me I should run for judge, I had the program lessons in mind, especially “If not me, then who?” The program gave me confidence to run, and I had made a lot of friends both from my class and other graduation classes who were there to support me.’’

What practices do you follow that help you achieve success?

“I try to be present wherever I am. If I’m with family or friends, I try not to be distracted and I try to reach out if it feels like it’s been a while since we’ve visited. Every day on my way to work and as I go through the day, I remind myself that what we do in court impacts people’s lives now and in the future. This helps me to focus on each person individually and, again, to be present. Finally, I make sure I have time to exercise and ‘just be.’ “

What advice would you give someone who’s looking for ways to become more connected to the community?

“Get out of the office and get out of the house. There are many opportunities to volunteer. Go to Chamber meetings, for example. Everyone is friendly and welcoming. Also, Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute is awesome if you’re a woman. Unlike a lot of networking groups, both the Chamber and CWLI are people of different ages and professions. One of my best everyday ways of staying connected is the Sportsbarn. It’s a community of its own, not just a workout facility.’’

Source: Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce; Business Trends