Monday, October 13, 2014

Meet Famous Formers Honoree Jeanne Zeidler

Earlier this month, we introduced you to Dr. Wanda Barnard-Bailey, who is one of the six women we are honoring at this year's Girl Scout Famous Formers Luncheon. Now, we would like to introduce another honoree, Jeanne Zeidler, president and chief executive officer of the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation. The Girl Scout Famous Formers Luncheon is an annual event hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast to honor local women who continue to exemplify the values of Girl Scouting through their leadership roles in the community.

Jeanne Zeidler
For Zeidler, joining Girl Scouts was a family affair. When she joined the organization as an elementary school student while growing up in Milwaukee, her older sisters were already Girl Scouts and her mother was the leader of her Girl Scout troop. Zeidler has fond memories of her Girl Scout years, from cooking over a fire while camping with her troop to earning badges for her sash, including sewing, childcare and swimming.

“Girl Scouts taught me about the power of working together as part of a team,” Zeidler said. “I was also really influenced by interacting with strong and dynamic leaders, who were both my peers and the adult volunteers in my troop.”

Another thing that Zeidler learned from Girl Scouts is about the importance of serving others in the community. This is a lesson that Zeidler has carried with her throughout her professional life. For 20 years, Zeidler served as the director of the Hampton University Museum, where she helped to develop the collection and move the museum into its current location in the Huntington Building, which allowed the collection to be open for public viewing. Later, during her time at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Zeidler helped open Kimball Theatre, which has since become a center of community activities in Williamsburg. In her current role at the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation, she oversees grants that are made to improve the health of people living in Williamsburg and the surrounding counties.

In addition to making a difference through her careers, Zeidler has also made a positive impact on the community through public service. She was the mayor of Williamsburg for 14 years and was the first woman in the history of the city to hold this position. Prior to this role, she served on both the school board and city council in Williamsburg. Over the years, Zeidler regularly spoke with Girl Scout groups visiting the municipal building to learn more about local government.

“It’s so important for girls to be involved in an organization like Girl Scouts because it teaches girls to be self-confident and gives them the chance to learn about interacting with others,” Zeidler said. “It also gives girls insight into how they can be helpful and make a difference in their community, as well as gives them their own little community to be a part of and gain support from.”

In addition to Zeidler, five other local Girl Scout alumnae will be honored as Girl Scout Famous Formers this year: Wanda Barnard Bailey, deputy city manager for City of Chesapeake; Dr. Lucy Gibney, founder and chairman of Lucy’s, an allergy-friendly food manufacturing company; Susan Mayo, president of Susan T. Mayo Consulting; Regina Mobley, news anchor for WVEC-TV 13; and Janis King Robinson, vice president of operations for Sentara Albemarle Medical Center.

This year’s Girl Scout Famous Formers Luncheon will be held on Thursday, October 30 at 11:30 a.m. at the Norfolk Yacht Club. Tickets for the luncheon are $40 each and can be purchased online or by calling 757-548-9438.