AIA Tennessee Staff

Meet our Staff

Ashley Cates, Executive Vice President

Ashley Cates is the Executive Vice-President of AIA Tennessee where she is responsible for the management, external and internal communications activities as well as government relations of the association. Ashley has over 12 years of experience in association management, government/public relations and client communications. Prior to Ms. Cates joining AIA Tennessee, she was the marketing director at the Tennessee Medical Association and was responsible for development/implementation of marketing campaigns as well as communications. To date, the majority of her career has focused in government relations, she was the government & member relations director at the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association for over six years, where she executed special events, planned board meetings and lobbied public officials. Before employment at the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association, Ashley was a legislative assistant/office manager at Farris Mathews Bobango Public Strategies in Nashville, and was responsible for monitoring legislation, producing legislative reports and filing regulatory reports. She began her career in public relations as an intern at a boutique firm, May & Associates, in Knoxville, and was eventually hired as a public relation specialist to manage client accounts. A native of Pulaski, Tennessee, Ashley is a 2001 graduate of the College of Communications at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is an active member of the Tennessee Society of Association Executives and the Tennessee Lobbyists Association. Her passions include Tennessee football, outdoor recreation and family.

Sheila Leggett, Vice President, Operations

Sheila brings a wealth of experience as a legal assistant and telecommunications specialist to her position as VP of Operations.  She has been a member of the Tennessee Society of Association Executives since 1997, serving on various committees including the 1998 Trade Show committee.  She is a member of Rebuild Tennessee.  As a volunteer leader, she represented Tennessee when the American Society of Association Executives held their convention in Nashville.  Sheila shares her time and talent in community projects, including the Tennessee State Museum and CANstruction, and periodically exhibits her photography. Sheila specializes in the areas of special events planning, i.e., legislative fairs; media and newsletter communications and member services.  She completed AIA’s component resource training, as well as continuing education in other association management areas.  Her responsibilities include communications, design award program management, member services and office operations.

Lisa L. Bowler, Vice President, Meetings and Conventions

Lisa has 12 years’ experience in Hotel Sales and Convention Management, and eight years’ experience in association management.  Prior work experience includes seven years as a sales manager at Opryland Hotel Convention Center, with the last two years spent exclusively with Tennessee associations; and five years as a Sales and Catering Manager with Hyatt Hotels Corporation in Nashville and Atlanta. Lisa is a Senior Account Executive managing professional associations.  She also specializes in contract negotiations, convention planning, cost control, catering and community relations. Lisa has extensive education and training in meeting management, and continues to attend numerous seminars on all aspects of association management.  She is a member of the Tennessee Society of Association Executives and has spent time fund-raising for various causes in Tennessee including MS and Cystic Fibrosis.

P.A.  Bowler, Director of Finance Administration

P.A. has 10 years’ experience in project management.  His prior work experience includes: Planning Director and City Engineer for the City of Gallatin; Project Manager for Tribble and Richardson; and Gresham, Smith, and Partners. P.A. specializes in association financing and efficiency studies.  He is actively involved with high school wrestling as a coach and referee. He also coaches his children’s baseball and soccer teams, and he is Soccer Coach for Beech High School, Hendersonville.