Role models honored at UnBought and Unbossed Awards

Role models honored at UnBought and Unbossed Awards

March 29th, 2012 by Steve Hardy in News

Beverly Johnson of Chattanooga

HONOREES

Allison Cardwell, Boyd-Buchanan School

Beverly Johnson, City of Chattanooga

Louisa Mesich, Chattanooga School of Arts and Sciences

Valeria Radu, UTC Department of Social Work

Dr. Maricela Rodriguez, D.D.S.

Lorie Street Runge, The Women's Fund

Clare Sawyer, Chattanooga Area Food Bank

Lauren Templeton, Templeton Capital Management

Peggy Thomas, Girls' Preparatory School

Dr. Carolyn Thompson, Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Association, Memorial Health Care

Angelica Vega describes her role model's childhood in Nicaragua, of her coming to America as a teen and auditing classes at East Ridge High School to learn English.

She tells the crowd about the woman who earned a dental degree and prepared to start her own practice, only to be told by business advisers that attaching her name -- Rodriguez -- to the practice would attract the wrong crowd, the Hispanic crowd.

Dr. Maricela Rodriguez would not take her name off the business.

"I highlighted that as soon as I saw it," said Vega.

She was part of a group of Chattanooga teen girls who sorted through dozens of nominations for Girls Inc.'s annual UnBought and Unbossed Awards. The 10 finalists were honored for being, "audacious and determined in their beliefs, who make a difference in the community and serve as a role model to girls," said Girls Inc. President Bea Lurie.

"I've won several awards," said honoree Beverly Johnson, "but this one is special because it came from a girl, and they're tough. They have high standards."

The 10 in Girls Inc.'s Women's History Program, themselves identified as academic, athletic and volunteer standouts, read the anonymous resumes of women in business, government, education and not-for-profits and each chose a finalist, though each had her own reasons.

Emily Eichenthal admired Lauren Templeton's business success in investing -- a historically male field in which she hopes to work someday. She said that they connected when they found out that both started playing the stocks with their parents before they were 10.

"This has given me such an amazing opportunity to meet someone in the field who could maybe be a mentor," Eichenthal said.

Lurie hoped that the pairs would form long-term relationships, as several previous winners have done.

There was a tearful moment at the ceremony when the girls honored Carolyn Thompson, who died recently. Her husband, UTC Chancellor Roger Brown, accepted on her behalf, announcing amongst a standing ovation, "I'm proud today to be an honorary woman."