Women of Distinction is two weeks away!

One of the best events of the year is only two weeks away. Every year, we celebrate eight amazing women in the Western New York area for their character, dedication to community, and passion for mentoring girls and women. The event is appropriately called Women of Distinction.

Like all of our events, it’s a girl-led ceremony prominently featuring our Girl Scouts. In fact, eight girls will spend time shadowing and learning from one the honorees. At the awards, she’ll share her experience.

This year, we have the privilege of honoring:

  • Lindsay Cray: Co-Founder & Executive Director, Earthworks, Inc. (Monroe County)
  • Rosanne Frandina: President of Frandina Engineering and Land Surveying (Erie County)
  • Althea E. Luehrsen: CEO, Leadership Buffalo, Inc. (Erie County)
  • Patti Ann Pacino: Batavia City Council Member (Genesee County)
  • Venus Quates: President and CEO, launchTECH (Erie County)
  • Dr. Dilara Samadi: OB/GYN, Buffalo Medical Group (Erie County)
  • Honorable Joanne Winslow: Associate Justice of the New York State Supreme Court (Monroe County)
  • Betsy Wright: President, UPMC Chautauqua WCA Hospital (Chautauqua County)

This event isn’t limited to Girl Scouts, either; we’d love to have you with us! This year we’re celebrating at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo Thursday, September 20, with the evening’s events beginning at 5:30 p.m.

If you’re interested, please visit our website to learn more and order your tickets.

To learn more about the experiences and passions of former honorees, check out The Girl Scout Difference campaign for their stories.

Interested in Being a Sponsor?
Sponsorship opportunities for organizations of all sizes exist. Invest in the future of girls today by sponsoring an event – 100% of your investment will stay in Western New York to help girls develop important leadership skills. Learn about sponsor opportunities by viewing our sponsorship packet and change the world by investing in girls today!

For more information about this event or becoming a sponsor contact Eileen Hettich at 1.888.837.6410 x6030 or email

In Memory of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter

Today we offer our condolences to the family of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. We celebrate the work she did for our communities and the paths she cleared for equality.

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Girl Scouts of Western New York Council Members, girls, and CEO Judy Cranston meet with Congresswoman Slaughter in 2017

At Girl Scouts, we talk a lot about being a G.I.R.L., or a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader. We want all of our girls to grow up knowing how strong and capable they are, and to us Louise Slaughter embodied this idea perfectly.

Her entire life was dedicated to seeing the needs and fighting for the necessary changes. She went after what she wanted and kept finding new ways to change her world. She never stopped leading and pushing for what was right and good, regardless of what anyone said or did against her.

The loss of her sister to pneumonia in childhood led her to obtain degrees in microbiology and public health. Later, her work and marriage brought her to New York where her involvement with community groups took off. Here she joined the League of Women Voters and Scouting in New York, but still saw greater needs. Her fight with the environmental group Perinton Greenlands Association to protect Hart’s Woods brought her into politics.

Slaughter ran her first race in 1971, losing to the incumbent Republican Walter G. A. Muench. She narrowed the margin in 1973, but fell for a second time to Muench. Nevertheless, she persisted, and finally in 1975 was voted to the Monroe County Legislature. She wouldn’t lose another election in her more than 40 years of public service.

From here, she became the regional coordinator in the Rochester area to then New York Secretary of State Mario Cuomo. In 1979, he was elected to lieutenant governor and she remained in her role.

As the 1982 election grew closer, Slaughter was approached by Democratic supporters encouraging her to run for State Assembly. After two successful terms, she made her move into the U.S. House of Representatives, a role she would hold for 30 years.

She became the first democrat elected in her district since 1910, and the first woman to represent Western New York.

Here are just a few highlights from everything Slaughter contributed while in office:

  • $500 million for breast cancer research
  • Mandated language in new legislation guaranteeing that women and minorities would be included in clinical health trials
  • Helped establish Office of Research on Women’s Health in the National Institutes of Health legislation
  • Co-authored the Violence Against Women Act and wrote the legislation to make the Office on Violence Against Women a permanent fixture in the United States Department of Justice
  • Helped create the Women’s Progress Commemorative Committee through her work on the Women’s Progress Commemoration Act
  • Introduced and fought to pass the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, what she believes is her greatest achievement

Slaughter saw the needs of so many, fighting for changes to help women, minorities, soldiers – all of us. Everything she did was in an effort to make the world better for everyone.

In our own Western New York, she worked to secure funding and helped improve our communities.

Because of all of this and more, we are heartbroken to hear this news. She was an amazing woman who supported our girls. She encouraged them to pursue their dreams and raise their voices for what they believe in.

May her legacy of being a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader carry on through others who see the issues in our world and believe they can make a difference.

Thank you, Louise, for what you did and how you inspired us.