Girl Scouts honor service, accomplishments of local women


The Girl Scouts of Gateway Council recently presented the 27th annual Women of Distinction awards, recognizing the professional accomplishments and services of women of Northeast Florida.

Six Jacksonville women were honored at the fundraising event, which generated proceeds to support the Girl Scout Leadership Program for area girls. This year’s honorees included retired educator Cheryl Bryan, BB& T market President Debbie Buckland, Jacksonville University First Lady Stephanie Cost, JEA Director of Strategy Development and Execution Vickie Cavey, AT& T Florida Regional Director of External Affairs Heather Duncan, and Florida Blue Foundation Director of Grants and Programs Velma Monteiro-Tribble. The honorees were chosen by event volunteers, staff of the council and a representative of the council’s board of directors.

Mary Anne Jacobs, CEO of Girl Scouts of Gateway Council, said the celebration creates an opportunity to see the impact of the Girl Scouts’ leadership program and to see women in business reconnect with their roots as scouts.

“Women across Northeast Florida connect with their girl scout experience during the annual Women of Distinction event,” Jacobs said. “It is rewarding to hear how participation in Girl Scouts helped prepare the honorees for leadership roles in our community.

“The research indicates Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development program for girls,” she continued, “Yet, the Women of Distinction event provides to the opportunity to see it firsthand.”

As part of the program, Jacobs said, the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council partnered ambassador girl scouts with the Women of Distinction award recipients to create an opportunity for the honorees to discuss career options and leadership paths with one another, continuing a cycle of growth started with the leadership programs the organization is known for. Her ultimate hope in recognizing the Women of Distinction honorees is for the community to acknowledge the success of women and continue to invest in the future of girls.

“At Girl Scouts, we have always known that girls are the key to our collective future,” Jacobs said. “One of the best things we can do as a community to ensure the long-term strength of Northeast Florida is to invest in girls.”