Entrepreneur and health coach Cindy Hodo said her master’s degree from the United States Sports Academy has been beneficial to her career along every step of the way.

Hodo is the owner and founding partner of Quest Group, a boutique advertising agency and health and wellness coaching business based in Birmingham, Ala. She earned her Master of Sports Science degree in sports management in 1989 while she worked in marketing for the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

“The people at the Senior Bowl encouraged me to pursue a master’s degree at the Academy and I was able to do that while still working full time,” Hodo said. “Getting my master’s degree from the Academy was hugely beneficial to my career then, and it still resonates today.”

After earning her master’s degree and working as the marketing director for the Senior Bowl, Hodo went to work as the director for the Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournament at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss.

“What I learned from the Academy and the great teachers and sports minded people I met there, really helped me direct the golf tournament,” Hodo said. “It gave me the tools I needed to succeed. Having that master’s degree helped me to basically create my own job there. The Academy also taught me how to work with others who have strengths in areas where I might have a weakness.”

She and a partner created Quest Group in Mississippi in 1995 as a boutique advertising agency specializing in marketing, branding, and special events. When she moved to Birmingham several years later, Hodo took the business with her.

Armed with her Academy master’s degree, Hodo applied for and was accepted to Duke University’s Integrated Medicine Professional Integrative Health Coaching Program. She also earned her National Board Certification as a Health & Wellness Coach in the same year, when Quest Group began to offer health and wellness services.

“I could not have gotten into the Duke University program without my Academy master’s degree,” Hodo said.

Hodo has also worked as a member of the Heart of the House Gala committee, Marketing committee and as a member of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama.