Sondra Eoff received the 2008 Athena Award at the Tuesday afternoon ceremony, but said she wasn't the only deserving nominee.
"I'm overwhelmed. I'm only one among many people who deserve this award," she said.
Eoff didn't come with a prepared speech, but said she doesn't feel like she does anymore than anyone else.
Overcoming life's difficulties, gaining self acceptance and celebrating one's own uniqueness were the themes of the guest speaker's speech Tuesday afternoon at the 2008 Athena Awards given by top plus size model Natalie Laughlin.
"Express your own unique talents to help the healing of the world," Laughlin said.
Laughlin engaged a room of almost 300 attendants including City Manager Richard Morton, ECISD superintendent Hector Mendez, UTPB president David Watts and Odessa College president Gregory Williams.
She offered the audience anecdotes of becoming the first top plus size model in her industry, how she got there and what she had to overcome before she met her goal.
In the hardest times, in the depths of despair, even there one can find peace and happiness, she said.
Laughlin struggled with bulimia and anorexia the majority of her young adult life before she lost her self in the abyss of self-image issues. It took her accepting her curvaceous and full figure before she started to make "the big bucks" landing five consecutive billboards in Times Square.
She said connectedness and reaching out helped her overcome her weight issues, and the bronze ATHENA award image displays that with arms reaching out to others.
"Our world and society is a better place because of what you do, so I appreciate you," Laughlin said to the nominees.
This award celebrates the full leadership potential of all women, master of ceremonies Tatum Hubbard said.
Eoff is the CEO and co-owner of a corporation that sells and services industrial, oilfield and municipal pumps. She is on the Odessa Chamber of Commerce Board, Permian Basin Area Foundation board and the Crystal Ball Foundation board.
And there's more. She was the 1998 American Cancer Society Volunteer of the year.
"Stay focused on the goal," Laughlin concluded. She said obstacles are mere distractions.
Source: OA Online