Thursday, September 23, 2021

2020/2021 Famous Formers Luncheon

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast held their annual Famous Formers Luncheon on September 23 at Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club in Virginia Beach. Seven change-making, women leaders, along with a Corporate G.I.R.L (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, and Leader) Champion, were honored. Although there was rain throughout most of the day, the luncheon went on as planned and was held in the outdoors under an event tent and attended by 200 guests.

Before the start of the luncheon, honorees were invited to a celebration reception hosted by Strategic Solutions by Tricia. There, past honorees welcomed and congratulated the new class of Famous Formers. The luncheon followed and officially began with a presentation of colors and the reciting of the Girl Scout Promise and Law by Girl Scout Seniors Anna, Elizabeth, Erika, and Rachel. The luncheon was sponsored by Towne Bank, the presenting sponsor, and Newport News Shipbuilding. 

Council Board Chair Barbara Tierney, a past Vice President with Towne Bank, welcomed guests and addressed the honorees stating, “Each one of our awardees has a unique and inspirational story. The seeds of those successes were planted by their experiences as Girl Scouts and the promises our Famous Formers made and the laws they abided by made them the strong women they are now.”

Bonita Billingsley Harris, regional policy director for Dominion Energy and 2019 Famous Former awardee, emceed the event. She introduced each honoree, sharing how Girl Scouting impacted each and spoke about their accomplishments as leaders. Amazingly, the honorees had something in common, they continue to use the life skills they learned in Girl Scouts today! 

“The women leaders recognized, along with the almost eighty women honored before them, have distinguished themselves as leaders in business, marketing, academia, media relations and entrepreneurship,” Billingsley-Harris said. “Leading from the front and empowering others are these incredible Famous Former Girl Scouts. 

The keynote speaker for the event, Dr. Barbara Blake Gonzalez, Chief Administrative Officer of The Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy who was the contributing author of the annual State of the Region and State of the Commonwealth in 2019, gave an inspirational message. She applauded all guests who made a commitment to support girls and women by being at the luncheon. She encouraged all to take action in their workplace or in other ways to extend leadership and opportunities to girls and women.  

Blake reported that gaps continue to exist when it comes to pay parity among the genders. Women on the average make less than men in the same job or position.  She also reported that challenges for women have increased during the pandemic as they have assumed more responsibility as caregivers without compensation and some have left the workforce. Pre-pandemic, nearly 70 percent of women participated in the workforce, with a decline to 50 percent at this time. "We need to champions to promote economic empowerment for girls and women," she said. 

Following they keynote address, each Famous Former honoree was awarded a special plaque by GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller and GSCCC Chair of the Board, Barbara Tierney.

During closing remarks, GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller said," Dr. Blake, it is a powerful moment when women leaders, like you, remind us what the world could be and should be for our girls. To the guests in the room, please join Girl Scouts and our vision of the world where gender parity will exist. Join me in imagining a world where girls will never have to think twice about stepping up to leadership. Imagine a world where girls are confident to use their voices. Girls learning to value themselves and knowing they are valued by others." 

Pictured above, left to right: GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller; Michele Anderson, President and CEO, United Way of South Hampton Roads; Cathy Fox, Business Operations Manager, The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium; Dawn Peters, Associate Planner, Lincoln Financial Advisors; Michelle Woodhouse, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer, Tidewater Community College; Janet Roach, Anchor/Reporter 13NewsNow; Suzanne Garcia, President/CEO, SeaHill Spa at the Cavalier; and Barbara Tierney, Chair of the Board. (Not pictured: Sarah Noffsinger and Holly Deal.)

Visit our Famous Formers page to view a video interview with each honoree.

Please join all of us in congratulating our incredible class of Famous Formers.

2020 Famous Former Honorees:

Holly Deal, Lieutenant Commander of Coast Guard Finance Center, U.S. Coast Guard

Cathy Fox, Business Operations Manager, The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium

Suzanne Garcia, President/CEO, SeaHill Spa at the Cavalier

Dawn Peters, Associate Planner, Lincoln Financial Advisors

Janet Roach, Anchor/ Reporter, 13NewsNow

Dr. Michelle W. Woodhouse, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer, Tidewater Community College

Future Famous Former: 

Sarah Noffsinger, Chesapeake City Schools Teacher

2020 Corporate G.I.R.L. Champion of the Year:

United Way of South Hampton Roads

A special thank you to our media sponsors:

WHRO Public Media

  • Virginia Media
  • Coastal Virginia Magazine
  • 13News Now Logo_2017_Master
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