Women of Distinction 2019 is in three weeks!

Our annual, girl-led, women’s event of the year is happening in three short weeks on Thursday, September 26. We can’t wait to celebrate our nine amazing honorees and their contributions to the community!

More than just honoring the women, this event is all about mentorship. Each of the honorees was paired with a Girl Scout who will serve as a presenter at the event, sharing about her experience being mentored.

Check out photos of the Girl Scouts and their honorees below!

You can be a part of this special event as well by purchasing a ticket gswny.org.

2019 Women of Distinction:

  • Christine Bonaguide, Esq.: Partner, Hodgson Russ LLP (Erie County)
  • Linda Clark, M.D.: Doctor of Preventive/Occupational Medicine, Founder and CEO, Clark Occupational Medicine Services (Monroe County)
  • Tory Irgang: Executive Director, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (Chautauqua County)
  • Candace Johnson, Ph.D.: President and CEO, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (Erie County)
  • Joyce A. Markiewicz: Chief Business Development Officer, Catholic Health (Erie County)
  • Nadia Pizzaro: Homeless Services Director, BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc. (Erie County)
  • Katherine Conway-Turner, Ph.D.: President, State University of New York at Buffalo State (Erie County)
  • Lori Van Dusen: Founder and CEO, LVW Advisors (Monroe County)
  • Linda ZakrzewskiVolunteer of Distinction, Teacher, Family and Consumer Science, School 81 Buffalo (Erie County)

Celebrating Judy Cranston

Leader – Mentor – Friend

With heavy hearts we say farewell to our fearless leader, Judy Cranston. She joined us in 2009 as our COO and helped navigate our merger from several councils around our nine counties to the organization we are today, Girl Scouts of Western New York.

For the last three years she’s been our CEO and continued to lead by example and push us to further success. Her passion for our mission was displayed by the way she led every day.

During her farewell celebration, there was hardly a dry eye in the house as staff members shared stories of the impact she had on their lives. She wasn’t an unavailable CEO; she gained our respect by relating to us and most importantly, caring about us.

Leader, mentor, and friend are three of the best words to describe Judy, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t more. Pulling from the Girl Scout Promise and Law, you see how she’s friendly and helpful; considerate and caring; courageous and strong; responsible for what she says and does; respects herself and others; and is a sister to every Girl Scout.

Staff submitted words like encouraging, inspirational, supportive, kind, leader, welcoming, inclusive, thoughtful, wise, hilarious, and fun-loving. When you think about a person who embodies all those characteristics, it’s easy to understand while she’ll be so missed.

Fortunately, we can comfort ourselves knowing we’re still in wonderful hands.

Alison Wilcox has served as our COO for three years and will now become our CEO. With 17 years of global experience in organization leadership and experience with Girl Scouts both at the national and local levels, Alison has channeled her passion for championing women and girls into a successful career. We’re thankful to have Alison, an alumna, as our new CEO.

To access all of Judy Cranston’s tweets while she was our CEO, click here (Excel Spreadsheet)

Upcoming Programs: January

The new year is here and we have so many exciting programs planned for girls and adults! Check out our available training events and programs for the month of January:

Leader Training (New and Experienced)

  • Wednesday, January 9, from 6 to 7 p.m.
  • Jamestown Service Center
  • 20 spots available
  • Register Here

This is a great training for all new leaders, as well as a great refresher for established experienced volunteers!

Join the Girl Experience Team to learn about the 3 keys and processes to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.  Learn how you can ensure girls are able to discover, connect and Take Action with all you do this Girl Scout year.

STEM Lab Adult Learning – Think Like an Engineer (DBJCSA)

  • Friday, January 11, from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Buffalo Service Center
  • 12 spots available
  • Register Here

Take a hands-on, in-depth look at the new STEM content!

Are you:

  • Excited about the new Stem content?
  • A total STEM newbie and feeling intimidated by STEM programming?
  • Know STEM but not sure how to excite your girls?
  • Want to get to know robots, mechanical engineering, space science, cybersecurity, and more?

Volunteer Toolkit Hands-on Training

  • Saturday, January 12, from 10 a.m. to noon
  • Rochester Service Center
  • 15 spots available
  • Register Here

New, current, prospective and long standing leaders are all invited to join us for an in-person, hands on, VTK training.  Please bring your personal device, weather that be a tablet, smart phone or laptop and we will work one on one, hands on with leaders to learn more about this fantastic GS resource!

Leader Training (New and Experienced)

  • Saturday, January 12, from 10 a.m. to noon
  • Lockport Service Center
  • 22 spots available
  • Register Here

This is a great training for all new leaders, as well as a great refresher for established experienced volunteers!

Join the Girl Experience Team to learn about the 3 keys and processes to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.  Learn how you can ensure girls are able to discover, connect and Take Action with all you do this Girl Scout year.

STEM Lab Adult Training – Mechanical Engineering (DBJ)

  • Saturday, January 12, from 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Lockport Service Center
  • 17 spots available
  • Register Here

Take a hands-on, in-depth look at the new STEM content!

Ingredients for Success: Creating a Smarter Cookie (JCSA)

  • Registration closes TONIGHT, January 7, at 11:59 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • SUNY Fredonia Williams Center
  • 36 spots available
  • Register Here

The Girl Scouts will gain skills in leadership, entrepreneurship, and independence through interactive workshops!

Volunteer Toolkit Hands-on Training

  • Saturday, January 19, from 10 a.m. to noon
  • Buffalo Service Center
  • 14 spots available
  • Register Here

New, current, prospective and long standing leaders are all invited to join us for an in-person, hands on, VTK training.  Please bring your personal device, weather that be a tablet, smart phone or laptop and we will work one on one, hands on with leaders to learn more about this fantastic GS resource!

Are you Ready to Ban Bossy?

There has been quite a bit of buzz around LeanIn.org and the Girl Scouts of the USA’s public service campaign Ban Bossy. In full disclosure, I am a CEO of one of the Girl Scout councils.

As you can imagine, the opinions range from supporting a ban on the word “bossy” while others think being “bossy” is synonymous with confidence.

I am fascinated by this discussion because I think everyone can relate on some level. I am sure we’ve called someone bossy, we were called bossy, or we overheard someone being called bossy. In every instance, the word was not meant as a compliment.

Why would anyone think being called bossy is a compliment? Could it be that the definition of the word has been expanded to include positive attributes and less of the “sting” that used to accompany the word?

Through time, the word “bossy” has become more ambiguous to me. I started to feel one would need to be bossy if they were to reach their goals. Perhaps “bossy” meant you were not a pushover and you were capable of standing up for yourself in any situation. Even though I found a way to accept a negatively-charged word, being called “bossy” still did not feel good.

Now that I have a greater understanding of this campaign and have re-evaluated the meaning of the word, I’ve had a change of heart. The campaign encourages us to ban the general and broad use of the word and describe the actual behavior. For instance, if someone is acting aggressive, we should describe the behavior as aggressive instead of “bossy.” “Bossy” is being used to describe both aggressive and assertive behavior. This is why the authors of the articles I read embraced the word “bossy. They thought the word meant assertive.

As a female in an executive leadership position who has the responsibility of hiring, I look for staff, especially women, who are assertive. The assertive women that I know are successful because they work hard to reach their goals. They do not allow anything to get in the way of them succeeding. They stand up for what is important to them even if it is an unpopular opinion.

The Ban Bossy campaign is also addressing how the use of this word is causing girls and young women to shy-away from leadership positions because they do not want to be considered “bossy.” There is a glass ceiling in corporate America. Women are underrepresented in many areas, and the only way that this will change is if girls and young women are not afraid to take leadership roles. If banning this word will encourage girls to lead, count me in! I do not want to see anyone, girl or boy, not succeed because of the use of a word. I remember as a child the saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” As an adult, I know that this childhood saying has some flaws, but we cannot let the word “bossy” prevent anyone –especially girls –from being leaders.

Join me and others as we take the pledge to ban “bossy.”