Ms. Hughes has 35+ years’ experience in non-profit administration, management, and advancement as well as community/social services program development and community services. She became interested in the non-profit profession via her volunteer work with behaviorally and mentally challenged adolescent males. Then employed in the banking industry, her commitment to advocacy and service for children, families, organizations and communities led to a change in long-term career goals.
Ms. Hughes currently works and serves as Chief Executive Officer of Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. In this role, she provides leadership with an amazing team and board for this nationally-recognized arts and crafts educational institution. Previously Ms. Hughes served the 25-county East Tennessee region via her role as Vice President for Regional Advancement with East Tennessee Foundation. She worked with donors to create and deploy their philanthropic legacy as well as with community leaders to assist in addressing their needs, challenges, and opportunities.
Ms. Hughes holds degrees in Finance (B.S.) & Human Services (B.A.) from University of Tennessee-Knoxville & Community Counseling (M.Ed.) from University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
Service to the community is a life-long commitment of Ms. Hughes’, evidenced by her work with numerous advocacy and civic organizations. She currently serves on the boards of University of Tennessee Federal Credit Union, Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic, Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce/Convention Visitors Bureau, and Sequoyah Birthplace Museum. She is a Past-President of the Tennessee Chapter of Child Advocacy Centers. She is a former commissioner with the Tennessee Commission of Children & Youth and a former commissioner with the Tennessee Community Services Development Commission (both appointments to multiple terms by Governors Bredesen and Haslam). Other prior board services include Appalachian Funders Network, Blount County Chamber of Commerce, East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association, Kingdom Design Ministries, and ProNet as well as volunteer leadership opportunities with Knoxville Opera, Maryville City Schools Foundation, Tennessee Junior League, Junior League of Chattanooga, and Southeast Tennessee Council on Children and Youth. Ms. Hughes is an honorary member of the National Exchange Club.
Working in the “Count Me in Census 2000 campaign” is yet another example of Ms. Hughes work on behalf of her community. Ms. Hughes is a proud alumnus of 2022 Leadership Sevier, 2014 East Tennessee Regional Leadership, 2004 Leadership Blount, and 1998 Leadership Chattanooga. She received the 2006 Blue Ribbon Prevention Advocate Award from Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee and was previously awarded the Jim Pryor Advocacy Award from the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth in 2000. Advocacy efforts also led to “Advocate of the Year” and Outstanding Advocacy Awards from the Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare and the Southeast Tennessee Council on Children and Youth as well as the “Cherish the Child” recognition from Exchange Club National. Ms. Hughes was honored for her diverse community service with the 2012 YWCA Tribute to Women Award as well as a Tennessee Senate Joint Resolution in 2013.
Sharing with others in their growth and development is also important to Ms. Hughes. A frequent guest speaker at conferences and seminars, she has served as seminar facilitator for the Alliance for Better Nonprofits. She presented in 2008 at the International Forum on Social Welfare in Cardiff Wales. Ms. Hughes has served as adjunct faculty with the following education institutions: Maryville College, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga State Technical Community College, and Cleveland State Community College.
She is a native of Monroe County and is the proud parent of Hughes Utt (fiancee’ Devon) and Matt Utt (spouse Sheena) and grandmother to Josiah Paul Utt. Reading, golfing, biking, and time at Edisto Island are activities she enjoys whenever possible.