The 36th annual Girl Scouts of Central Maryland Distinguished Women’s Award Celebration was held on April 21, 2016 at the Baltimore Country Club located in Roland Park. Jody Berg, owner and CEO of Media Works, LTD; Sheela Murthy, Esq., president
and founder of Murthy Law Firm; Michele Moore, regional area president, senior vice president of Wells Fargo; Dr. Helene Rodriguez McConnell, president of SMC Business Group; and Del. Adrienne A. Jones, Speaker pro tem (D-Baltimore County) were the 2016 Distinguished Women Honorees.
Violet M. Apple, CEO of Girl Scouts for Central Maryland, explained that during the annual fundraising event, amazing women in the community are honored.
“What this helps us to do is to raise dollars to do some of the programs that we’re doing for girls, whether it’s serving our program, Girl Scouts Beyond Bars, whether it is helping us to run programs that are in the schools through our community programs, or helping us to support Girl Scout troops throughout Central Maryland,” Apple said. “We have almost 24,000 girl members just in Central Maryland. It’s a vibrant program.”
Apple also explained awardees are selected by a distinguished women’s committee based on what women are doing in the community, how active they are and their accomplishments in their chosen profession. Each year, five distinguished women are matched with five Girl Scout shadow mentees who aspire to embody the qualities of each honoree. Apple says that the competitive process to be chosen as a shadow mentee requires each Girl Scout to be interviewed by a six panel group who determines which girls will spend a day at work with honorees who will share their insights, knowledge and experiences.
In addition to many honorees leading their own companies, Del. Jones’ inclusion allowed girls to observe a woman who works in a political field.
“They [the honorees] serve as incredible role models to these girls and almost all of the awardees help us to raise dollars for the organization, and they also allow girls to shadow them and find out what it really is to be a professional woman,” Apple said.
The five Girl Scout shadow mentees described their unique shadow day experiences.
Michaela Hope Creel from Baltimore County shadowed Berg. Grace Fieni from Anne Arundel County had an opportunity to shadow Murthy. Sarah Lohrfink from Baltimore County shadowed McConnell. Luna Danielle Thomas from Harford County was selected to shadow Moore. Jinia Sarkar from Howard County had an opportunity to shadow Jones in Annapolis, to observe a day in the life of a legislator.
Del. Jones, who represents the 10th Legislative District of Baltimore County, has been selected as speaker pro tem of the Maryland House of Delegates twelve times. Additionally, the legislator serves as a member of several business and civic organizations. The service-focused individual said that being selected as an honoree sends a message to girls about their ability to accomplish their goals.
“I think that it sends a message that you can do anything that you put your mind to. Don’t let anyone ever say you can’t. Go with your dreams. Be in contact with people who have those areas which are important to you and learn from them,” Del. Jones said, also mentioning the importance of networking.
Apple says that Del. Jones has many amazing accomplishments, such as being an African-American woman who serves as a speaker pro tem. Her position requires leadership capabilities and confidence, which aligns with the main mission of the Girl Scouts. Apple added that the Girl Scouts strive to build girls of courage, confidence and character who will make the world a better place. The all girls environment allows girls from kindergarten through the twelfth grade to have a safe and comfortable place to grow.
“Sometimes it’s a program that helps to give them a voice, and sometimes in a time when they feel voiceless,” Apple said. “This is not about girls versus boys. It’s really about empowering girls so they feel comfortable to take the lead, and I think that’s what we do in Girl Scouts and I think that is absolutely so important. We want girls to be comfortable. We want them to be comfortable being go-getters [and not to] apologize for being a go-getter.”