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Greetings, It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to celebrate our sixteen Women of Distinction for 2012. The women honored will occupy a special place in the Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle’s history. Since 1998, the council has recognized extraordinary women who have distinguished themselves as outstanding members of their community. This year’s recipients are being recognized during our historic 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts. The Women of Distinction honorees are emblematic of the founder of Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low. She encouraged girls to not only prepare for traditional homemaking, but also for possible future roles as professional women in the arts, sciences and business and for active citizenship outside the home. On May 29, 2012, as Juliette Gordon Low was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama. The Medal of Freedom is the highest honor awarded to a civilian. We are honored to have such excellent role models for the more than 5,400 girls we serve through the programs and services of Girl Scouting. The combined accomplishments of this year’s honorees span the vast array of leadership opportunities available to women. As a community we are fortunate to have women who embody the mission of Girl Scouts and demonstrate courage, confidence and character while making the world a better place. When girls succeed so does society. Together we will get her there. Sincerely, Raslean M. Allen, CEO Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle

Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle Women of Distinction 1998 Ann Bowden Dr. Freddie Groomes Judge Judith Hawkins Pam Laws Fran Mainella Josephine Newton 1999 Sister Blackmon-Milligan Dana “Boots” Bryan Carmen Cummings Peggy Geil Karen Hagan Marsha Hall Sharon Johnson Garnet Laird Gertrude Mapelsden Mary Olla Miller Martha Stubbs Marjorie Turnbull 2000 Carol Atkinson Anne Sessions Syfrett Vesta Conley Sherry Nesbitt Brenda Scott Anne Hallman Lynn Rebello 2001 Linda Alexionok Rhea Chiles Betty Jane Ebel Dot Inman-Johnson Debbie Lightsey Mary Ann Lindley Judge Peggy Quince 2002 - 2003 Nesta Cumbie Betty Jane Free Maureen Haberfield Dr. Brenda Jarmon Dr. Jeanne O’Kon 2004 Candi Aubin Karen Parker-Cooley Anita Favors Dr. Madie Gainous Lenita Joe

2007 Jane Marks, Diamond Award Julia Woodward, Pearl Award Silvia Alderman Chucha Barber Melba Jacobs Sharon Roush Aletta Shutes Kay Stephenson Susan Stratton 2008 Glenda Thornton, Diamond Award Eleanor Lewis, Pearl Award Peggy Brady Dorothy Vodicka Kelly Otte Diana Sawaya-Crane Dr. Elena Reyes Kris Knab Anna Johnson Meredith Clark 2010 Susan Story, Diamond Award Clara Jane Smith, Pearl Award Althemese Barnes Sara Comander Donna Legare Jessica Lhota Elizabeth Ricci, Esq. Gail Stansberry - Ziffer Dr. Alexis Tibbetts, Victoria Vangalis-Zepp Barbara Williams, MD 2011 Josephine Newton, Pearl Award Sandy Beck Dorothy Binger Adrian Fogelin Paula Fortunas Mary Ellen Klas Kelly O’Keefe Allison Tant Richard Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson


Carmen Cummings-Martin Executive Director, Alumni Affairs Florida A & M University

Mike Bridges Vice-President of Marketing and Communications League of Southeastern Credit Unions


Minister Angie Wiggins In His Presence Cathedral of Praise, Tallahassee



Architecture, Real Estate, Construction ♦ Arts ♦ Athletics/Fitness ♦ Business Emily Gildersleeve 2012 Gold Award Recipient, Panama City


Education Environment ♦ Government/Elected Official ♦ Law ♦ Media/Magazine ♦


Maya King Senior Girl Scout Independent, Tallahassee

INTRODUCTION OF HONOREES ♦ Medicine/Health Public Relations/Media ♦ Science, Technology, Engineering, Math ♦ Social Services ♦ Youth Services ♦


Architecture, Real Estate, Construction Kelly Dozier Senior Vice President Mad Dog Construction I am very honored to be among such a distinguished and accomplished group of women chosen for recognition by the Girl Scouts. Being a Girl Scout was a special time in my life which contributed to my confidence in working with others and in my determination to set goals and work hard to achieve those goals.

Arts Melanie Mays Founder The Monticello Acting & Dance Company Imagine my delight and surprise to learn that I was to be honored as one of the 2012 Women of Distinction! The friendships, skills and knowledge that I gained from my years as a Girl Scout helped make me the person I am today. I endeavor, through example, to pass on my knowledge and to inspire young women interested in the Arts. The skills they obtain including creativity, dedication, determination, self-confidence and self-motivation help them make informed decisions for their futures. Through theatre, art, music and dance, we support and nurture culture, enriching all of our lives.

Athletics / Fitness Sue Semrau Head Women’s Basketball Coach Florida State University I am extremely humbled to be recognized for this honor by an organization like the Girl Scouts. Growing up in Washington, I joined the Girl Scouts so I could spend time with my friends and meet some new ones. Looking back now on my experiences, the Girl Scouts taught me important life lessons, like goal setting, teamwork, and servant leadership, which I continue to draw on many years later. Above all, I believe that the Girl Scouts is an organization that empowers young women and challenges them to be the best they can be. I am proud to have been a part of the Girl Scouts and truly appreciate the difference they make in communities throughout the world.

Business Sue Dick President/CEO Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council of Tallahassee-Leon County It is truly an honor to be recognized during the Girl Scouts’ 100th Anniversary Celebration. I am humbled to join the other honorees for the “2012 Women of Distinction.” This recognition in the Business Category is a tribute to the individuals who have prepared and guided me throughout my career, starting with my mother who researched and introduced me to my Brownie Troop in Miami, Florida, over 40 years ago. She had the foresight to understand the value and mission of the Girls Scouts which is to build courage, confidence and character. Upon reflection, I realize the foundation that was instilled in me not only as a Brownie but throughout my Girl Scout and Cadette experience. A heartfelt thank you to Mrs. Juliette Gordon Low who had the vision and passion to provide a strong foundation for all girls who would one day become women. This honor has also reminded me of the Girl Scout Promise…. to serve God and country and to help people at all times.

Education Dr. Lady Dhyana Ziegler Professor of Journalism Florida A & M University It’s a real honor and humbling experience to be among this esteemed group of honorees who have been selected as the 2012 Women of Distinction by the Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle during their 100th Anniversary Celebration. The opportunity to serve as a role model to preserve, promote, and uphold the virtues and values of the Girl Scouts is a real privilege. It reminds me of that old gospel spiritual, “If I can help somebody then my living is not in vain.”

Environment Robin Will Supervisory Refuge Ranger St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge It is an amazing honor to be recognized by the nation’s premier organization to prepare girls to lead and learn! Once upon a time, I was a young Brownie and Junior Girl Scout, excited and proud to complete my badges, go camping with my troop, and learn about protecting the environment. My interest in the outdoors led to a degree in wildlife biology and a 34+ year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As many of the honorees, I have long worked in a field mostly dominated by men. Many women of my generation left the Service, pressured by family and the economy. I am grateful for the support of my husband and family, which has allowed me to stay in a career I love. Also, I think most of us honorees also have to have a bit of “stick to it-ness” to be where we are, surely another great attribute of a Girl Scout!

Government / Elected Official The Honorable Nancy Daniels Public Defender Second Judicial Circuit I am deeply honored to receive the Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle Women of Distinction Award. To be recognized in the company of such accomplished women is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I am very grateful. Receiving this honor has caused me to think back on the happy days I spent at Girl Scout camps during my childhood and to reflect on the strong support I received from my parents when it was time to canvas the neighborhood and sell the cookies. I don’t think I realized until now how my Girl Scout activities helped to shape me into the active, confident person I became. I’ve been a tremendously lucky person throughout my life and have had many positive influences. I see now that participating in Girl Scouts was one of my most significant blessings, one which led to a satisfying career of service.

Law Karen D. Walker Attorney Holland & Knight Being a Woman of Distinction means being part of an incredible group of women who have demonstrated that there are no limits to what girls and women can achieve. These women have demonstrated courage, confidence, and character through their accomplishments in their professional and personal lives. They have lived the Girl Scouts' mission. Through leadership, these women have paved the way for the women and girls who follow. In their commitment to serving others, the Women of Distinction have made the world a better place. Just as it was an honor to earn every merit badge as a Brownie and Junior, it is an honor to receive this recognition and serve as a role model showing today's Girl Scouts that through hard work and dedication anything is possible.

Media / Magazines Rosanne Dunkelberger Editor Tallahassee Magazine Several years ago, I read an article about the “average” American. She was a woman, in her 30s, with two kids …. As I read on, I realized that story was describing me. I am as “average” as any other woman, but my position as editor of Tallahassee Magazine offers visibility and opportunities to serve. But I am well aware there are “average” women working hard daily who are every bit as much a “woman of distinction” as I’ll ever be. And that’s what makes Girl Scouts so special. I see a world full of girls who, with guidance and encouragement, can fulfill their potential to become the women of distinction they were meant to be.

Medicine / Health Charlotte E. Maguire, M.D. Retired Pediatrician I am honored and humbled to have been selected as the Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle’s 2012 Woman of Distinction in Health. It is indeed a privilege to be among this elite group of talented, dynamic women who have been recognized by the Girl Scouts this year and in the previous years. Each and every one of the recipients, both past and present, personifies the “courage, confidence and character” of Girl Scouting at its best. I am 95 years old so the Girl Scouts had only been in existence for five years when I was born. It was my privilege to have practiced medicine for 50 years and to have been “the Mother” of two medical schools – one at the University of Florida and the other at Florida State University and, presently, I am actively serving as a Trustee of the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Foundation and on the TMH Advisory Committee.

Public Relations / Media Marjorie Menzel Reporter News Service of Florida I was a Girl Scout for ten years, starting in the Brownies. I owe the Girl Scouts a great deal. Tremendous fun and great role models. Speaking of which, it’s really flattering to be included among the Women of Distinction tapped this year and in previous ones.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Math Lt. Colonel Donna Pilson Commander, United States Air Force Tyndall Research Site I am extremely honored to receive this recognition, and to be among such a distinguished group of women. For me, this award recognizes that women can contribute in the fields of science and engineering through their service in the military. I hope it will help to inform girls and the community as a whole that the Air Force offers a wide variety of opportunities outside of flying, and that girls will be inspired to include the armed forces as an option when making career decisions, particularly in highly technical careers.

Social Services Patty Mitchell Program Director Tallahassee Chapter Reading Education Assistance Dogs Program I am blessed to be able to blend my love of animals, reading, art, community, and travel every time Rikki and I get to read with students. It is an honor just to be nominated. I recall my experiences as a Brownie and a Girl Scout fondly, and attribute my confidence and character, as well as sense of community and camaraderie, as important life lessons learned while wearing the Girl Scout uniforms. I humbly appreciate being recognized as one of the 2012 Girl Scouts Women of Distinction.

Youth Services Debbie Moroney Chief Operations Officer PACE Center for Girls I am very honored and humbled to be selected as a "Woman of Distinction" by the Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle. As a former Girl Scout and Girl Scout Leader, it has provided me an opportunity to reflect on my roots and the women who have influenced my life. It has certainly brought back some great memories! It has also helped me appreciate the saying, "Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout," something we also say about the family we provide to the girls at PACE Center for Girls. "Once a PACE girl, always a PACE girl. I feel fortunate that I have been able to devote my life's work to something I absolutely love, advocating for women and girls. This award truly represents the core of my beliefs.

Girl Scout Gold Award The Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. It recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable take-action projects that have sustainable impact in their communities and beyond. The Gold Award is awarded to fewer than 6% of Girl Scouts annually. Each Gold Awardee spends 1—2 years on her project. Approximately one million Girl Scouts have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent since 1916. In 2010, the average age of recipients was 17 years old. Additionally, in recognition of their achievements, Gold Awardees who join the armed services enter at one rank higher than other recruits.

2012 Gold Award Recipients Mae Brown, Troop 175

Emily Gildersleeve, Troop 175

Rachel Snyder, Troop 1352

Jennifer Dolfie, Troop 181

Emily Phelan, Independent

Sarah Stogsdill, Troop 579

Celia Garthwait, Trop 598

Kerrianne Smith, Troop 175

DIAMOND AWARD Cynthia O’Connell

Cindy O’Connell was named Secretary of the Florida Lottery by Governor Rick Scott on February 9, 2011. She has an extensive background in the public and private sector including significant brand development at universities and financial institutions. Secretary O’Connell presently serves as Chairwoman of The Florida House on Capitol Hill, the first and only State Embassy in Washington D.C. She is a graduate of Florida State University, holds a Certificate in post-graduate financial services marketing from the School of Banking at Louisiana State University, and is an Honorary Alumnus of the University of Florida. Prior to taking her current position as Secretary of the Florida Lottery, Secretary O’Connell was a ten-year member of the University of Florida’s Board of Trustees. While in that role, she was a catalyst in helping modernize the university’s overall public image. Secretary O’Connell has a solid belief and understanding of the importance of education, long-established through her late husband, Stephen C. O’Connell, who was a former chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court and sixth President of the University of Florida. This focus, and her sound business principles, has resulted in the Florida Lottery breaking several sales records; which is so important in providing additional funds for the benefit of Florida’s education system. Under Secretary O’Connell’s present service as agency head, the sales for FY 2011-2012 were the highest to date in the Lottery’s history. Secretary O’Connell was a member of Brownie Troop #66 and Girl Scout Troop #200 in Lake City, Florida. She believes that many of the lessons learned as a Girl Scout, greatly benefited not only her professional life, but her personal life as well. Cindy is a firm believer in the Girl Scout Promise: “On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country, To help people at all times, And to live by the Girl Scout Law.”


At Publix Charities we believe that helping people in our community can make a world of difference. That's why we're proud to support those whose actions improve the quality of life in our community! Congratulations to the Pearl Award honoree

Mrs. Gayle Avant ...a lifetime member of Girl Scouts, past president of the Girl Scout Council of the Apalachee Bend Legacy Council and the council’s first Endowment Fund Chair! Congratulations to Girl Scouts on your 100th Anniversary Celebration.


A woman with a passion for service best describes Gayle Elizabeth Christensen Avant. “Making a home, rearing a family and being involved in activities in my church and community have been my good fortune,” she stated. A life member of Girl Scouts, she has served the organization for many years as a troop leader, board member and president of the legacy council, Girl Scout Council of the Apalachee Bend. Mrs. Avant also served the organization as the first Endowment Fund Chair. She graduated from Georgia State College for Women and is a member at Faith Presbyterian Church. Her love of music has sustained her throughout her life and she continues to share her gift as a member of her church choir. She is also active in the Presbyterian Women Circles in Tallahassee and the Presbytery Presbyterian Women Coordinating Team, and was awarded a Life Membership by both groups. Mrs. Avant was part of the first Mission Team from Florida Presbytery to visit South Africa in 1996 to establish a partnership with several of the churches in Capetown. Her service in the community has been recognized by many organizations. She is a sustaining member of the Junior League, was initiated as an Alumna member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and has served as President of both the Tallahassee Alumnae Chapter and House Corporation Board for the Beta Mu Chapter. Mrs. Avant enjoys gardening, flower arranging, playing tennis and bridge, traveling and reading. Her greatest joy: serving God and loving her family and friends.

Committee Raslean M. Allen, CEO Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle Brooke Collins, Chair Women of Distinction Awards Gala Kelly O’Keefe, Chair Board of Directors Fund Development Dorothy Binger Lisa Felder Paula Fortunas Brittany Gibbs Wendy Grant Lorestine McFarland Carmen Murray Danielle Owens Rosemary Prince Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson Dena Sokolow Katina Williams

Entertainment Tori Merchant, Girl Scout Troop 450, Concert Pianist Lost Sheep of Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Tallahassee

THANK YOU Pearl Sponsor

Diamond Sponsor

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors Avant Financial Services Direct Mail Systems Tallahassee Magazine Julia Munroe Woodward

Berger Singerman Bill and Peggy Geil-Beem The Gem Collection

Bronze Sponsors George and Saundra Drumming Charlotte E. Maguire, M.D.

Florida State University College of Medicine Tallahassee Diamond Center

Friend of Girl Scouts Dwight and Raslean M. Allen Awards4U Harvest Printing Prince Ventures Webster Surgical Center WCTV

ARCADIS Bumpy Road Farm Hope Keating Talquin Electric Drs. Dennis & Barbara Williams WTXL ABC

The programs and services of the Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle, Inc., teach girls to discover, connect and take action, while building courage, confidence and character, to make the world a better place. A United Way agency, the Council currently serves 5,400 girls across 19 counties of the Florida Panhandle with the assistance of 2,202 dedicated volunteers.

2013 Girl Scouts of the USA Centennial Silver Dollar  

This design was inspired by both the historical and contemporary aspects of Girl Scouting and by its mission statement: "Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place." It depicts three girls who represent the different ages and diversity of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Inscriptions include COURAGE, CONFIDENCE and CHARACTER, key elements of the Girl Scouts mission statement. The 100th anniversary Trefoil symbol signifies the centennial anniversary. Additional inscriptions are 2013, LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST.

The design depicts the iconic Trefoil/profiles symbol of the Girl Scouts of the USA with the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, $1 and GIRL SCOUTS.

2012 Women of Distinction Awards Gala  

View the official program from the 2012 Women of Distinction Awards Gala.

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