Community College Month Alumna/Trustee Spotlight – Melissa Woody

Community College Month Alumna/Trustee Spotlight – Melissa Woody

Andrea Byerly
Wednesday, April 19, 2023 12:00 AM
All, Press Releases, Alumni, Community


CLEVELAND, TN - Born and raised in Bradley County, Cleveland State alumna Melissa Woody has served on the Foundation Board of Trustees at Cleveland State for six years. “It was a real honor to be invited to serve on the Foundation Board,” said Woody. “Foundation. That word is a huge part of my Cleveland State experience. I loved my years at Cleveland State; it was such a great way to start my college journey. It was the smart choice for me.”

As a student, Woody worked on campus as a requirement for a scholarship. She served as a student host giving campus tours and helping with athletic games. “It was fun to be plugged in. I’ve always lived my life that way. I feel that my parents were a big part of that.” Woody’s father was a Shriner who worked at Bowater. Her mother worked as a public servant in the county clerk’s office where her sister, Donna Simpson, works now. Her husband, Dewey, works in homeland security; his father was also a Shriner. Woody said, “We have come from families of service. We are proud of that heritage.”

After graduating from Cleveland State, Woody earned her bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and a master’s degree in communications from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She worked at Bradley Memorial Hospital for seven years before joining the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce as the Vice President of Tourism Development.

Over her 23 years at the Chamber, Woody has cultivated relationships with community partners. The Chamber’s annual signature events, the Hot Slaw Festival and the Cowpea Festival, are a partnership with organizations such as MainStreet Cleveland, the City of Cleveland and the Charleston/Calhoun Hiwassee Historical Society.

“I am all about partnering with people and regional approaches,” said Woody. “I relate to Cleveland State’s five county service area. I love to work with my neighboring counties. I love that we are right next door to the Cherokee National Forest and the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge where sandhill cranes gather. I love being right next to an urban center like Chattanooga. I think we are the perfect mix of recreation and enjoyment. That is what I promote and what I love to do.”

Mike Griffin, Cleveland State Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman and Cleveland Bradley Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, said, “We are so fortunate to have Melissa on our staff at the Cleveland Bradley Chamber of Commerce. Cleveland State had a huge influence on Melissa’s life and played a big part in preparing her to be a leader for our community. Her giving spirit leads to her volunteer work on two boards at the college and gives her the opportunity to give back to the college that did so much for her and her career.”

When asked what makes her most proud of her affiliation with Cleveland State, Woody replied, “I think that so many people have a journey that starts with Cleveland State. It is such a strong presence in this community. As a college, we have had a positive impact on so many lives. That’s the thought process behind the alumni community. It is not just people who graduated with a two-year degree, but people who got certificates for welding, EMT and law enforcement. These programs can change lives. Cleveland State is a foundation for so many people in our community. It makes me proud that we have a positive impact on people and their journey.”


Partners & Initiatives

  • Cleveland Bradley Business Incubator
  • America's SBDC Tennesseey
  • Your Skills. Your Future.
  • OneSource
  • Cleveland State Sustainability Initiative
  • TBR The College System of Tennessee
  • TN eCampus
  • Tennessee Transfer Pathway