The University of Georgia Athletic Association (UGAAA) and Piedmont Bank are continuing to honor former student athletes who have achieved exemplary business success after their post collegiate and, in some cases, professional sports careers.

In its second year, Piedmont Bank’s Arch Award showcases the honoree’s unique stories while at the University and how their experiences prepared them for success in the business world.

“It takes an extraordinary amount of patience, dedication, and hard work to become a world-class athlete. With the athletes being honored today, we again see how they can apply those strong attributes to outstanding success in business,” said Monty Watson, Chairman and CEO, Piedmont Bank. “The Arch Award in partnership with the UGAAA is our way of showcasing how leadership in sports can ultimately translate to being leaders after they leave campus and the field of play.”

The 2022 Arch Award winners were recognized on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium during the Georgia football game against the University of Tennessee on Nov. 5th. This year’s honorees include:

  • Dr. Leah Brown was a four-time NCAA All-American gymnast and two-time NCAA National Champion, securing a place into the Circle of Honor in 2016. After completing her Doctor of Medicine at Ohio State University, she completed her general surgery internship from the Naval Medical School in San Diego. Her military career included posts as battalion surgeon with the Marine Corps and Medical Aid Station Director while deployed in Iraq. After completing her four-year residency in Orthopedic Surgery, she deployed to Afghanistan as the Orthopedic Surgery Department Head in 2012. Since leaving active duty, she held roles in sports medicine with the Carolina Panthers, UNC Charlotte, and Davidson College. Dr. Brown received nine military awards including a Bronze Star and Navy Commendation Medal and continues to serve the military as a Navy Reservist in addition to her private practice.
  • Katie Jacobs is a former Equestrian standout and a 2005 graduate of the Grady School of Journalism. She founded Cheeky Peach, a retail store focused on ‘styling your story’ that has grown from an 850 square foot storefront to more than 6,000 square feet today. She was recognized by the University as a “40 Under 40” honoree in 2017. Cheeky Peach was also a Bulldog 100 top business in 2016-2020 and she supports the University’s focus on innovation by joining UGA’s entrepreneurship board in addition to mentoring the many students who work in her retail store during their time at Georgia.
  • Mohamed Massaquoi was a football team captain in 2008 and was selected as first-team All-SEC and Academic All-SEC recipient. A second-round pick in the NFL by the Cleveland Browns, he played professionally for five seasons. A near-death ATV accident five years ago that led to the amputation of his left hand resulted in Massaquoi turning to business and founding VESSOL, a company that advises organizations on leadership changes, M&As, disruption, and low employee engagement. Massaquoi is a graduate of the Harvard Business School after completing the Program for Leadership Development – their alternative Executive MBA. In addition to his UGA Psychology degree, he is currently pursuing a Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology with a planned 2022 completion date. He is a member of the 2018 UGA “40 Under 40” class and served on the UGA alumni board from 2017-2020.

The Arch Award is a partnership between the UGAAA and Piedmont Bank that also includes collaborative events with student-athletes featuring the honorees and bank executives who share their personal experiences and expertise for their future business success.

“So many of our Georgia student-athletes have made significant impacts in their professional careers, and we are thrilled to recognize Dr. Leah Brown, Katie Jacobs and Mohamed Massaquoi for carrying on this great tradition,” J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Josh Brooks said. “These three individuals exemplify the traits of service and leadership that make our university and athletic association so special. I want to thank Piedmont Bank for their tremendous partnership in recognizing these successful student-athletes with The Arch Award.”

As UGA athletes graduate and begin their next stage of life and career, they often take the lessons learned, including preparation and team dynamics, to build a successful career in any number of pursuits. The Arch Award enables their stories to be shared with the UGA community and bring attention to their exemplary post athletic success.

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