The following was written by UGA Gymnastics senior student-athlete, Gracie Cherrey. Gracie graduates in May from the Terry College of Business with a degree in Marketing.
Stepping on campus 4 years ago, I had no idea what my life entailed. Other than, of course, gymnastics.
Fast forward a few years, a few surgeries, and a few heart breaks, and what do you find? New doors of opportunity opening left and right, helping me to find peace and affirmation in my identity and decision to attend The University of Georgia.
With the help of The Georgia Way, UGA Athletics, and Terry College of Business I have made the most of my college experience, taking advantage of the numerous resources and opportunities students and student-athletes alike, have at their disposal.
Between helping with sport marketing and promotions, being involved in UGA Athletics’ LEAD and SAAC programs, participating in a study abroad to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, and attending several of Terry’s prestigious networking events, I didn’t think there was anything else that could more adequately prepare me for the businesswoman I am soon to become upon graduation: fortunately for me, I was wrong.
It wasn’t until recently that I became familiar with the Terry Women’s Initiative (TWI), and I am so thankful I did. This is something all businesswomen, students, and student-athletes need to become involved in. From events, to mentoring, to retreats, the opportunities provided are truly endless, and will bode you well for the future.
One of the most remarkable opportunities provided by TWI is the Sea Island Scholar program, which I was blessed to be nominated and inducted into. With my involvement came a weekend at Georgia’s very own 5 star resort and hotel in Sea Island. It was here that I was able to, among 10 other amazing young woman who have now become friends, create personal relationships with 7 highly accomplished businesswomen. These individuals spent the weekend selflessly pouring into us both personally and professionally. Throughout the duration of the weekend, these women were transparent and genuine, sharing their professional journeys with us, what they’ve learned, and how they’ve grown. It was reassuring to hear that, they too, as highly-achieved individuals, started at the bottom and encountered obstacles in their careers. This being said, they managed to not only thrive as women in the workforce, but also help other women to thrive, too.
While their accomplishments and accolades make them remarkable, their personalities, in my opinion, were even more impressive. These women uplift and encouraged us and every person they encountered, leaving an impact on each person they came across, and making them feel valued. It was neat to observe how they make a difference in this world, even in the most minute ways.
I left the retreat with a new network, a new group of friends, and a new outlook on life. I was rejuvenated, inspired, and empowered. And, not to mention, pampered with the weekend they spoiled us with at Sea Island. Thank you to the founders (Debbie Storey, Betsy Camp, and Laura Brightwell) and mentors of TWI for an amazing weekend, and for paying it forward. I, too, hope to be able to return the favor someday.