RIVERDALE, NJ — Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey celebrated the 40th anniversary of its Annual Women of Achievement gala virtually on Wed., Sept. 16, to raise dollars to expand the reach and impact of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience in northern New Jersey.
The professionally produced fundraiser honored inspirational women who are making a difference in their community and the workforce.
Although the event was virtual, Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey Board Chair Dr. Bette Simmons and Chief Executive Officer Betty A. Garger served as the gala hosts via a live feed from the Riverdale Service Center.
This year’s honorees included Charlotte Abella, Vice President of Marketing, If You Care/Source Atlantique, Inc. of Englewood Cliffs; Nikki Sumpter, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Atlantic Health System, of Morristown; and BD Women’s Initiative Network (BD WIN), of Franklin Lakes, which included Monica Council-Miles, Manager, Social Investing; Jennifer Singelyn Dietrich, Senior Program Manager; and Luba DeGroat, IP Operations Manager.
Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey also honored Megan Lunde, of Madison, Customer Success Manager, Amperity, with the Elinor J. Ferdon Young Woman of Promise Award; and Jean Myers, of Teaneck, GSNNJ Volunteer and Leader, with the Mitzi Golbek Spirit of Girl Scouting Award.
In addition to the 2020 honorees, Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey recognized all 200 previous honorees and included a special message from 1980 Woman of Achievement Barbara Abney Bolger, of Ridgewood, who commended the 2020 award recipients.
“You are role models for the next generation of female leaders and are helping advance the Girl Scout mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place,” Bolger said.
The night kicked off with a VIP Happy Hour that included live interaction with this year’s honorees, a cooking demonstration, a trivia game about the honorees and Girl Scouting, and a demonstration on how to make Thin Mint martinis. A silent auction was also in place as another fundraising component to the event.
For the past 40 years, Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey’s has celebrated extraordinary local women leaders for their personal and professional accomplishments at the annual Women of Achievement gala. This year’s program theme was Invest in Girls. Change the World.
Girl Scouts led the festivities and interviewed honorees about how they are leading the way for future generations.
Interviewed by her daughter, Jean Myers, a third generation Girl Scout and leader, said she became a leader because she wanted to give her daughters the opportunities to have new experiences and make friends. Becoming emotional at times, she said she never realized that she too would enjoy such great experiences and friendships.
“Girl Scouts really does build girls of courage, confidence and character, and these girls are our leaders of tomorrow,” Myers said, encouraging other adults to volunteer to mentor girls and young women.
Honoree Charlotte Abella spoke of the importance of having a role model and being a role model to others. She said role models help open doors for other women and inspire young girls to do great things.
BD Women’s Initiative Network honorees spoke to Girl Scout Kylie Bill, a Florham Park resident and a girl representative to the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey’s Board of Directors, of their partnership with Girl Scouts and the importance of their women’s group. Honoree Luba DeGroat said WIN enables their company to attract new talent and help develop and support women’s career development.
Monica Council-Miles proudly noted the BD has been a long-time supporter and Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey.
“When BD invests in girls, we know we are investing in the community,” she said.
During the event, several Girl Scouts also spoke about the impact of Girl Scouting on their lives. Maya de los Santos, of New Milford, has been a member since 2009 and was inspired by Girl Scouting to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a girl can earn. Her project focused on the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields. She organized and led workshops at her local middle school to inspire girls in the community to pursue a career.
Girl Scout Noelle Osborne, of Englewood, who is currently serving as a girl representative on the Board of Directors of Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, said she and her troop were inspired to earn the Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest award in Girl Scouting, by collecting care packages for children in Haiti. Osborne is now working to achieve her Girl Scout Gold Award.
Proceeds from Women of Achievement will provide opportunities for girls to participate in girl-led programming such as STEM, outdoors, financial literacy, civic advocacy, and healthy living; recruit volunteers and provide them with training and the tools needed to engage and mentor girls; give access to age-appropriate materials, activities, and resources to inspire girls; and reach more girls by providing scholarships and financial assistance to those in need.
Event sponsors included Atlantic Health System, BD, Hackensack Meridian, If You Care, Inserra Supermarkets, IT Radix, Kearny Bank, Lakeland Bank, Palmer & Cay, St. Joseph’s Health, UPS, Visions Federal Credit Union, and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts.
For more information about Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, call (973) 248-8200 or visit www.gsnnj.org. Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development program for girls. In Girl Scouts, girls discover themselves, connect with others, and take action to create positive change in their own communities.
Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey serves girls ages 5-18 in 160 municipalities in Bergen, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Northern Warren counties. Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey serves over 26,000 girls and almost 14,000 adults for a total membership of over 40,000.