Janet Byington founded the academy that hosted four women speakers each Tuesday at the Rome Area History Museum over the course of four weeks in March. Byington also serves as Rome’s district director for Congressman Phil Gingrey.
She said she was inspired to start the academy to utilize local women leaders to educate and energize the next generation, passing on what they learned to other women.
“It’s been surprising because originally we thought we’d have a lot of college-age students,” Byington said. “It turns out that women in their 20s, 30s and even 40s showed interest to listen.”
The women featured as speakers varied widely in their job fields. Floyd County’s District Attorney Leigh Patterson and Annie Cowan, director of anesthesiology at Floyd Medical Center, were among the speakers who elaborated on 10 pivotal points they learned to enable their success.
Marti Walstad, Martha Berry’s great niece, presented a talk on how Berry’s life and efforts created the legacy of Berry College and impacted not just Rome but the world at large.
“I don’t care if you’re 15 or 50, you’re going to walk away with things you can do to improve as a person,” Walstad said. “A lot of things that make people successful aren’t just their job, it’s how they treat people and how they’re prepared.”