Girl Scouts is the world’s foremost authority on girls’ leadership development—setting girls up for a lifetime of curiosity, adventure, and success. One of the unique opportunities afforded to our girls includes the Emerging Leader Girl Scout program, for Girl Scouts in grades 10–12 who exemplify our mission and show great leadership potential. As part of the program, Emerging Leaders attend our annual ToGetHerThere Luncheon, where they network with executives from various fields and participate in a minute-mentoring session with successful female professionals. For many of our Girl Scouts, the experience is inspiring, motivating, and even life-changing. Two of our 2017 Emerging Leaders share their impressions from this year’s ToGetHerThere Luncheon.
Kelia Lomeli, Ambassador Girl Scout:
Everyone here was here for me. It was an extraordinary experience, sneaking glimpses at the name tags of passers-by to try and determine which organization they had come from. I would have the chance to network with whomever I liked in the second half of the day, but first: the minute-mentoring sessions.
Entering the ballroom was much like entering the gym before a basketball game; I didn’t know what I was in for, but that it would be fast, fun, and above all, an opportunity for me to prove myself. I had anticipated my own nervousness at delivering an elevator speech and the dreaded reach-across-the-table-for-a-handshake move, but when the time came, I was surprised at how collected I felt. The powerful businesswoman I sat less than two feet away from was open and inspiring. I could hear myself in her tales of hesitation and doubt, of questioning her ability and deciding to follow her dreams anyway. Every mentor I spoke with had a unique story about finding herself and her life’s passion, and when asked how a young woman might discover hers, Dr. Sherry Hong of Montrose Pet Hospital replied with perhaps the best advice yet: “Every road you end up on is an opportunity. Take it, because that opportunity may never present itself again.”
The women at the ToGetHerThere Luncheon inspired me to be brave. After the mentoring sessions, I introduced myself to a group of investment counselors from Clifford Swan. As former Girl Scouts themselves, they expressed their admiration for the commitment and ambition of the Emerging Leaders, and after realizing many of them had graduated from colleges I am applying to, exchanged business cards with me. They listened and offered their advice about my aspiration of becoming a diplomat, and for the first time, I felt that everyone in the room believed in me. Whether we had spoken or not, every person who came to the luncheon was there for girls like me, girls with big dreams and the courage to pursue them.
Olivia Garland, Ambassador Girl Scout:
This was my third year attending the ToGetHerThere Luncheon and receiving the honor of being an Emerging Leader. While it was bittersweet, I learn something new every year. My favorite piece of advice this year was from Lavinia Sadrapeli of Teledyne, who encouraged us to “be courageous—embody that.”
2017 ToGetHerThere Champion Joanna Dean, General Manager of the Western Region for Toyota Financial Services, eloquently spoke of her failures in college and the job market during her honoree speech, and how they’ve made her the successful woman she is today: “Failures are a part of life… Be adventurous and make your own path.” Every word she spoke inspired every Emerging Leader, and I could see the twinkle of admiration in the eyes of all the girls around me.
Every year men and women stand together to motivate us at the ToGetHerThere Luncheon. The room is filled with supporters curious about how they can help and what our stories are. This experience has provided me with blueprints for success and advice for my future. I’ve gotten to meet so many impressive women who’ve fought for equality and women’s empowerment as a whole, and because of that, being an Emerging Leader has been one of the best experiences of my life.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our ToGetHerThere Luncheon and played a critical role in shaping our Girl Scouts’ dreams—including our mentors, sponsors, volunteers, members, and attendees. Your support is invaluable to our mission and goal of balancing the leadership landscape.
To see pictures from the 2017 ToGetHerThere Luncheon, view our Facebook album. To learn more about the ToGetHerThere campaign and how you can further the cause of girls’ and women’s empowerment, click here.