published Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Girls Inc. hosts UnBought, UnBossed honorees at the Chattanooga Convention Center

Markesha Dunham, 22, a five-year alumna of Girls Inc., reviews her speech before Wednesday's Unbought and Unbossed 10th Annual Awards luncheon fundraiser at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Markesha Dunham, 22, a five-year alumna of Girls Inc., reviews her speech before Wednesday's Unbought and Unbossed 10th Annual Awards luncheon fundraiser at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Photo by Tim Barber.

Students presenting the awards include the following:

Shawndrail Fields, 11th grade, East Ridge High School

Macy Hammon, 9th grade, Hixson High School

Roma Laemmle Lucero, 12th grade, Signal Mountain Middle/High School

Jasmine Pulliam, 11th grade, Chattanooga High School, Center for Creative Arts

Diamond Jones, 9th grade, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy

Jestiny Desmond, 9th grade, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy

Maria Francisco, 12th grade, East Ridge High School

Terri Wright, 10th grade, Chattanooga High School, Center for Creative Arts

DeCaira Hubbard, 10th grade, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy

A’Keia Colley, 10th grade, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy

Shawndrail Fields locked herself behind a shell, avoiding self-expression and public speaking, until Girls Inc. showed her what she could do. Participating in Girls Inc. boosted her self-confidence and gave her the motivation she needed to explore her strengths and goals.

“It let me show what I’m capable of,” said the 16-year-old who likes to dance and plans to be an attorney.

Shawndrail was one of 10 teens who selected and introduced the 2014 Girls Inc. UnBought and UnBossed Award honorees to a sold-out crowd of more than 500 people at the Chattanooga Convention Center on Wednesday. The event was the 10th UnBought and UnBossed awards program.

The award recognizes Hamilton County women who, through their career achievements and community leadership, have had a significant impact on improving the lives of girls and women.

Shawndrail introduced Circuit Court Judge Marie Williams, a woman who has inspired the East Ridge High School student to set high expectations.

The honorees got recognition and plenty of applause. But their higher purpose is to be role models to the young women who selected them.

“It’s not really about us who are being honored. It’s about the girls and what they are going to do,” said honoree Lacey Furr, Regions Bank vice president of business banking.

The girls and their mentors are participants in Girls Inc., a youth development program headed by Bea Lurie.

Markesha Dunham, a Girls Inc. alumna, told the audience about how she gained a college scholarship through the program.

Mayor Andy Berke spoke at the event. Local author and television host Alison Lebovitz served as mistress of ceremonies. Both of them commended Girls Inc. for its impact on young women.

“This is the most amazing thing about what Girls Inc. does,” Lebovitz said. “It tells women that they can be whatever they want to be.”

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6431.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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