Andrews Institute launches girls leadership academy as NCAA® Women’s Final Four® legacy program

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Nashville area high school girls will have a unique opportunity this fall to develop as leaders through a new leadership academy launched by Lipscomb University’s Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership in cooperation with the Champions4Women Committee of the Nashville Local Organizing Committee (NLOC), host of the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Nashville.

Girls Learning“I believe this program will be one of the highlights of the Women’s Final Four,” said Pat Pierce, Champions4Women chair and member of the Nashville Sports Council and CABLE boards of directors. “This event provides an opportunity to launch initiatives that will leave lasting legacies in the Nashville community long after the final score of the Women’s Final Four. We wanted the Andrews Institute to be our partner in developing a leadership program for girls because of its leadership in the community especially in offering programs to develop leadership skills among women. Music City Girls Lead! will have a lasting impact on our city as these girls become leaders in their schools and communities and beyond.”

The Champions4Women Committee of the Nashville Local Organizing Committee is partnering with the Andrews Institute to offer this program.

“We are delighted to have Lipscomb University’s leadership academy play such an integral role in Nashville’s 2014 Women’s Final Four Legacy Program for the positive impact this leadership training will have on those who participate,” said Elizabeth DeBauche, commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference, chair of the NLOC, along with co-chairs Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors and Margaret Behm, of Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella P.C. “The lessons learned will have a lasting impact not only on the lives of these girls but also on our community.”

Music City Girls Lead! is a leadership academy designed specifically for high school girls in grades nine through 11 in the Nashville area. It is being held as part of the activities leading up to the Women’s Final Four that will take place in Nashville April 6-8, 2014, as a way to raise awareness of and to promote women as leaders.

“The goal of this new leadership academy is to strengthen girls in their pursuit of excellence through classroom and online learning, community experience and direct mentoring,” said Linda Schacht, Andrews Institute executive director. “This initiative gives us a unique opportunity to showcase and leverage the talents and wisdom provided by the phenomenal pool of Middle Tennessee women who will share their leadership lessons and experiences with the girls. We are committed to do our part in building the next generation of women leaders in the community.”

Schacht said that a number of local leaders and mentors as well as experts on leadership development will lead academy classes and will focus on the topics of developing as a leader, becoming an ethical leader in a multicultural society, developing vision and voice, learning to use technology in leadership roles, promoting wellness and health, and transforming vision into results. A number of local women’s groups and organizations including the Girls Scouts of Middle Tennessee, Girls Inc. and the YWCA will provide mentors and instructors for the sessions.

Music City Girls Lead! is a three-session program and will be offered two times in the months leading up to the Women’s Final Four. Each academy will culminate with a graduation ceremony and will serve as a lasting legacy of the Women’s Final Four, said Schacht. The first academy class is set to begin Oct. 26.

Each academy will be open to 30 girls. Participants must be nominated by high school officials at Nashville-area public and private schools or by a community organization. Oct. 8 is the deadline to nominate a student for the academy. Applications are available at Schacht said participant selection will be based on a student’s high school academic achievement, leadership in school activities and participation in community activities in addition to references from educators and others in the community, a written essay and the individual’s educational goals.

Music City Girls Lead! is the latest leadership academy offered by Lipscomb University’s Andrews Institute. Last year, the institute launched the CABLE Leadership Academy in conjunction with CABLE, a professional networking organization for women. The program is designed for women who are just beginning their careers, transitioning into a new career or anyone wanting to strengthen their leadership skills. Also in 2012, the Andrews Institute partnered with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to raise awareness of media images of women and girls. As a result, the Andrews Institute collaborated with actor Geena Davis and Nashville Public Television to offer a leadership academy for women and girls based on NPT’s “Women and Girls Lead” series.

For more information, visit or call 615.966.6155.

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About the Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership: Founded in October 2010 to build on the legacy of Nashville leader Nelson Andrews, the Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership engages current and emerging leaders in academic and community programs to create thriving communities. These include a Master’s in Civic Leadership, one of only two in the nation; Citizen Leadership Academies and customized leadership classes serving counties and cities statewide. The institute’s newest initiative is Leadership Tennessee, the only statewide leadership education program in Tennessee created to cultivate a network of business, nonprofit, education and government leaders committed to addressing the state’s challenges and opportunities.

About the Nashville Local Organizing Committee: The Nashville Local Organizing Committee is the official host entity for the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four, a week long series of special events culminating with the tournament at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena in April 2014. It is an organization launched by the Nashville Sports Council and the Ohio Valley Conference. Elizabeth DeBauche, commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference, is chair of the board along with co-chairs Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors and Margaret Behm, of Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella P.C. Other board members include Marty Dickens, Metropolitan Convention Center Authority; Christine Karbowiak, Bridgestone Americas Inc.; Michelle Kennedy, Nashville Predators; Rita Mitchell, First Tennessee; Teresa Phillips, Tennessee State University; Tom Rakes, University of Tennessee at Martin; Scott Ramsey, Nashville Sports Council; Butch Spyridon, Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau; Claire Tucker, CapStar Bank; Brenda Wynn, Office of Congressman Jim Cooper; Gary Alexander, Nashville Sports Council; and Tracy Kane, Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella, P.C.

About the Nashville Sports Council: The Nashville Sports Council is a private, nonprofit, membership-based organization of Nashville-area corporations and individual sports enthusiasts. Created in 1992, the Nashville Sports Council's mission is to positively impact the economy and quality of life of the greater Nashville area by attracting and promoting professional and amateur sporting events. The Nashville Sports Council has hosted more than 160 major sporting events that have produced more than $432 million in direct economic impact for the region.

About the NCAA and Division I Women’s Basketball: The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 450,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities.  Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit and for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes.

NCAA women’s basketball is characterized by strong fundamentals, high quality of play, sportsmanship, role model student-athletes and family oriented entertainment.  The latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate figures show 84 percent of NCAA Division I women’s basketball players graduate.  In terms of the NCAA Academic Progress Rate, which measures term-by-term academic success, the overall score is 972, well above the NCAA benchmark of 930.

For the latest news in regard to the Women’s Final Four, visit, and stay connected with NCAA Women's Basketball on Twitter and Facebook.  Ticket information is available at