The 5th Annual Odyssey Awards Luncheon benefiting Chattanooga Girls Leadership was held Tuesday at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Each year the Young Women’s Leadership Academy Foundation, founding sponsor of the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, presents the Odyssey Awards Luncheon to recognize exemplary CGLA students and celebrate CGLA’s accomplishments. Now in its fifth academic year, CGLA was honored in August for being in the top five percent of schools in the state for academic progress.
The Odyssey event theme this year—Full Steam Ahead—recognizes and celebrates the educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math that CGLA provides underserved girls in the community.
The keynote speaker was Ian Symmonds, president and founder of Ian Symmonds & Associates, an education thought-leader, strategist and author whose Just Cause initiative seeks to increase access to quality education for underserved children.
Mr. Symmonds is an education thought-leader, strategist and author who has served over 160 independent schools, colleges, universities, and non-profit organizations through enrollment, marketing, branding, and strategy counsel over the past decade. His professional practice as a senior officer, executive director, and dean spans nearly two decades including Pacific University, Culver-Stockton College, Saint Mary's Hall, and Trinity University. Mr. Symmonds holds a high opinion of the role of education in transforming people and solving social issues. In 2011, he launched the Just Cause campaign to raise public awareness and to strategically connect with organizations addressing structural poverty through education. Mr. Symmonds selected the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy to participate in the Just Cause campaign and has been leading CGLA through a year-long strategic planning process.