published Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Former astronaut to speak at women's leadership event

IF YOU GO

What: Chattanooga Women's Leadership Institute's annual address to the community

Featuring: Dr. Mae Jemison

Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1150 Carter St.

When: Registration and a cash bar begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, followed at 6:30 by dinner and Jemison's speech.

Tickets: $65 a person, or $1,200 for a VIP/corporate table of eight.

Reservations: Go to www.cwli.org or call 423-394-8173.

Dr. Mae Jemison, an author, innovator and the first African-American woman in space, will be the keynote speaker Thursday at the Chattanooga Women's Leadership Institute's Annual Address to the Community.

"The goal of this dinner is to inspire women and young girls with the different leadership opportunities that are available to them," said Betsy McCright, a CWLI board member and chairwoman of the event.

CWLI's mission is to increase women's leadership in Chattanooga. The dinner is not only a fundraiser, but also an opportunity to bring influential women to Chattanooga.

Leslie Berryhill, managing director at CWLI, said Jemison is famous for being the first African-American woman in space, but she has many other accomplishments as well that qualify her to speak and appeal to women in a broad range of professions.

Jemison was an astronaut for six years, culminating in her 1992 voyage in space. Upon leaving NASA, she started two medical technology companies, The Jemison Group Inc. and the BioSentient Corp.

She has been a professor at Dartmouth College and Cornell University, and she wrote the book "Find Where the Wind Goes," about growing up on the south side of Chicago and her aspirations of becoming a scientist.

"Every year a different woman has been featured at this dinner, and we intentionally bring in women from a variety of careers in attempts to reach the broad range of women in Chattanooga," McCright said.

Former speakers have included Stacy Allison, the first woman to summit Mount Everest, and Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.

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