How to Unleash Your Inner G.I.R.L.

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Meet our 2019 Emerald Awardees: Four incredible women who are paving the way for our girls to become leaders and advocates in South Florida and beyond!

Since 2017, GSSEF has centered our brand on the power of the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader) and every day we see our Girl Scouts unleash their inner G.I.R.L. to make amazing things happen! This year we are honoring four outstanding women in Palm Beach County at the 2019 Emerald Awards, who truly represent what it means to be a G., an I., an R. and an L. But what do those little letters really represent?

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Pamela M. Rauch, Go-Getter Honoree

Pamela Rauch is Vice President of External Affairs and Economic Development for Florida Power & Light Company, the third largest electric utility in the United States. As Vice President, she oversees all local government and community involvement in the company’s 35 county service territory. In this role, Pam initiated FPL’s robust volunteer program which has grown to include 89,000 employee volunteer hours dedicated to our communities last year alone, including the creation of FPL’s Power to Care programming. She founded the award-winning FPL Office of Economic Development in 2011 which services the entire state of Florida and has won over 120 competitive projects and has created over 27,000 total new jobs for Florida! Pam led FPL Project Development and spearheaded the development of new power generation. She also played a critical role in developing the corporate strategy to grow universal scale solar generation in Florida.

Pam takes great pride in serving the community where she lives, works, and raises her family, including serving on numerous boards of charitable and business organizations in leadership roles. Pam earned a JD and graduated with honors from Florida State University College of Law, and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she was a varsity athlete and captain of the women’s tennis team.

From creating programs, founding departments and leading projects at her full-time job, to serving in leadership roles on a variety of boards in her free time, to being the captain of the women’s tennis team in college, Pam is truly a Go-Getter! She is an example to all of us, that with determination, grit and perseverance any goals you set for yourself can be achieved.

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Tara McCoy, Innovator Honoree

Tara McCoy is the Chief Executive Officer at Good Samaritan Medical Center, a 333-bed acute care hospital providing sophisticated, personalized medical care to Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast for over 95 years. As one of the area’s leading oncology centers, the hospital’s Cancer Institute provides general and highly specialized cancer services and is accredited by the Commission on Cancer, a program of the American College of Surgeons. Good Samaritan also prides itself on offering high quality general medical and specialty services, including oncology, robotic, orthopedic, women’s and cardiac medicine. Tara’s vision for the hospital is to continue investing in the hospital’s services and technological advancements to meet the ever-changing health care needs of the community.

Prior to this appointment, Tara spent the last five years as the cardiac service line administrator for Tenet’s Florida Region. Tara received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Tulane University and her Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of South Florida.

Because she works in a field that is ever-changing, Tara needs to be an Innovator in order to keep up with technological advancements and the demands of her community. What works today might not work tomorrow. The medical field, alongside so many others, takes a person who can think outside the box and assess a situation from a variety of angles to really understand what will be the best for their organization. Tara shows us how powerful innovation can be when paired with determination and flexibility.

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Lisa Interlandi, Risk-Taker Honoree

Lisa is the Executive Director of Everglades Law Center, a not-for-profit law firm dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Everglades ecosystem. As Executive Director, Lisa oversees all of the Everglades Law Center’s programs and strategic direction. Lisa is an attorney and member of the Florida Bar. Her legal practice focuses on implementation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, environmental policy advocacy, as well as land use and environmental permitting decisions that impact the Everglades and the surrounding environment.

Before joining the Everglades Law Center, Lisa served as Assistant General Counsel with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in Tallahassee where she focused on state lands and natural resource litigation. Lisa has received awards for her environmental advocacy, including the Everglades Coalition George M. Barley Conservationist of the year in 2006 and with the Everglades Law Center, the President’s Award from the Florida Wildlife Federation in 2017.

It takes a person with strong values and confidence to stand up for what is right, which is why Lisa is a perfect example of a true Risk-taker. Her history of environmental advocacy may not have been the easiest of paths to travel, but Lisa has embraced the challenge and through her life-long efforts created real change for the Everglades. Lisa’s courageous choice to spend her time breaking the mold to protect our environment is proof that Risk-takers have what it takes to change the world!

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Ava L. Parker, J.D., Leader Honoree

Palm Beach State College President Ava L. Parker leads Palm Beach County’s largest higher education institution with a strategic approach emphasizing innovation, student success, and business and community collaboration. Parker is the first female president in the history of the institution, which opened in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college. Under Parker’s leadership, the College has opened a fifth campus, improved student success rates and increased support for the College from both public and private sources.

Parker’s leadership extends beyond higher education. She is on the board of directors of Orchid Island Capital, a member of the Women’s International Leadership Forum, a member of Leadership Florida Class XXI and she served as president of the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association. The South Florida Business Journal has named her to its 2017 Power Leaders List, and she was profiled recently in the Florida Leadership publication. She also was recently selected by Legacy magazine as one of South Florida’s Most Powerful and Influential Black Leaders and Educator of the Year. A native of Santa Rosa County in Northwest Florida, Parker earned her B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Florida.

It doesn’t take much to recognize the strong leadership qualities that Ava possesses. She has spent her life dedicated to higher education and has used the knowledge she has gained along the way to enact real change and produce amazing results. Through her admirable leadership, Ava has created a positive impact in the field of education and beyond, showing us that when you lead with the greater good in mind there is nothing that can’t be accomplished.

It goes without saying that our honorees embody more than one of the G.I.R.L. traits. I would even say that throughout their lives, these four strong women have all been Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-Takers and Leaders at one point or another. It takes strength, perseverance, passion and courage to follow your dreams and much like our honorees, it takes a true G.I.R.L. to change the world!

Find out which G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) attribute best describes you! These four traits sum up the very essence of what it means to be a Girl Scout. Take our G.I.R.L. Quiz to learn about your own strengths!


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The annual Emerald Awards honor women in Palm Beach County who exemplify leadership and serve as role models for young women in our community. Continue reading about the awards…

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