Each year, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee celebrates the employees and clients who have achieved success through perseverance and the power of work as well as community partners who help advance Goodwill’s mission of changing lives through education, training and employment. This year, we hosted an awards presentation event on Thursday, October 26, 2023 at Nashville’s Music City Center.
The 2023 Impact Awards were presented by Pinnacle and Amazon, hosted by Robin Andrews and Ryan McLaughlin Wood, and emceed by NewsChannel 5 Anchor Rhori Johnston.
Presented by Enchiridion Foundation
Amber Grant was born a go-getter. From childhood, she did well at everything she tried. Piano: check. Ballet: check. Art: check. By the time she was a young adult, she knew she had the drive, passion and work ethic to launch a long and successful career.
In school she studied social work, speech pathology, child development and more. She volunteered with a boys and girls club, at a homeless shelter and also worked with children and teens living with disabilities. Her interests were wide-ranging, but they all followed a common thread: helping others.
When the time came to translate her knowledge and experience into employment, however, amber could not get employers to see her potential, instead, she found herself stuck in a cycle of “no’s.” Employer after employer passed on her after learning about her disability.
Then she discovered Goodwill, and doors began to open.
Presented by CoreCivic Foundation
As a young father, Jose Ortega Senior often worked two or three jobs end-to-end. He would come home dog tired, grab a quick meal and a short nap and start all over again. Jose Senior led his family out of poverty in Mexico and gave them a better life in the united states.
There’s little wonder the son of a hard-working immigrant grew to admire people with the will and grit to overcome adversity.
Like his father, Jose Ortega Jr. Was determined to build a successful future for himself and his family. He excelled at soccer and had hopes of going pro. He also wanted to be a doctor. To help Jose Jr. Escape the mean streets of south central l-a and focus on these goals, his family moved to mount pleasant, Tennessee, in 2004.
Jose was weeks away from earning a medical assistant degree when he faced his own moment of extreme adversity: a violent act that shattered his world and ultimately led him to Goodwill.
Presented by Neal Brad Thomason
The winner of this year’s David B. Lifsey Scholarship, Jessica Lentz, grew up in Shelbyville. As a little girl, Jessica idolized her father, who worked as a surveyor. She would follow him around, carrying his hammer, stakes, pins and other tools, and dreaming of growing up to have a job like his. Jessica had an artistic streak, which was nurtured by her grandmother, whom she called “ninny.” In many ways, it was an idyllic childhood in the country. But in her teen years, Jessica’s life began to get complicated. There was a traumatic event. Marriages. Divorces. Problems with drugs and multiple run-ins with the law. Jessica’s relationships — even those with her loving family — were strained over the next two decades. At last a time came when Jessica, now a 40-year-old mother of two, was ready to commit to making a change. And that’s when she found Goodwill.
Acuff & Associates, Inc.
Bank of Tennessee
CapStar Wealth Management
CAPTRUST Wealth Management
Ernst & Young
The Goddard School
H.G. Hill Realty Company LLC
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Nashville Electric Service
Tom Black Center for Excellence
The Wilson Group