Author: Katie Kellogg


A University of Georgia student project created by five Leonard Leadership Scholars in the Terry College of Business was chosen as the Southeast regional winner of the Ernst & Young "Your World, Your Vision" competition.

The competition invited students "to develop and submit proposals for programs designed to make a difference in their communities in one of three areas — education, entrepreneurship or the environment — the same areas of focus for Ernst & Young LLP’s corporate responsibility efforts."

Called "Thrive," the service project was developed by Terry College juniors Janelle Christian, Chris Dammeyer, Megan Gaither, Austin Hodge and Katie Kellogg.

Thrive was created to assist local adults with disabilities and address a lack of stimulation, involvement and developmental opportunities for disabled adults after high school graduation. It does so through skills development, employment education and socialization.

Thrive competed against five community service initiatives started by other Leonard Scholar teams and won the UGA competition. Thrive received a $500 grant and became one of 64 nationwide finalists in the "Your World, Your Vision" competition.

Each year three winning projects are chosen from those 64 finalists to receive a $10,000 grant from Ernst & Young. Project Thrive was chosen as the "Top Proposal" for the Southeast region.

"Our team is very honored to receive recognition from such a highly esteemed company and very appreciative of the financial support that Ernst & Young has awarded to help us continue pursuing our vision for addressing the dire needs that face adults with disabilities in their daily lives," said Austin Hodge, a finance and marketing major from Forsyth County.

The Leonard Leadership Scholars Program is part of the Institute for Leadership Advancement, a leadership development unit housed in the Terry College of Business. Its programs stress the importance of principled leadership based on core values and emphasize leadership as a collaborative process and not as a position. The institute’s ultimate aim is to create a new class of leaders who are well trained and ready for responsibility, committed to stewardship and pursuers of excellence, characterized by integrity and defined by purpose.