A Little History of Girl Scouts Lead the Way

Years ago, Lisa Johnson and I were talking and I asked her why our council did not have a community leadership awards recognition event in Broward County – similar to the Emerald Awards hosted in Palm Beach County. When Lisa took on the role of council CEO in 2016, she reached out to me and asked if I remembered this conversation…and then asked me, “How would you like to create and help chair this event?” I said “yes” and the GSSEF Girl Scouts Lead the Way event was born.

Girl Scouts Lead the Way event host committee members Patty Kopelman (Author) and Marilyn Zaragoza with Council CEO Lisa Johnson and Board Chair Tami Donnally

At the time, I had no idea what this event could, should, or would look like, but I did know that it was much needed. Broward County is filled with phenomenal female leaders at all levels and in every area of business, hospitality, law enforcement, public service, education, and media. One of the things I found most interesting when speaking to people about building this event, was learning how many women wanted to support it through sponsorship, donations, nominations, and attendance. Fortunately, some of my friends in radio and television found this event necessary too and included opportunities to sponsor, broadcast, interview, emcee, and support our first event in 2017. We feel even more fortunate that many of those friends connected with Girl Scouts in a meaningful way and still support of this event four years later.

Girl Scouts Lead the Way recognizes women who are as different as they are complex, insightful, and relevant.

I felt it was important to develop an event committee that was a diverse, creative, and interesting – and filled with others who believed in the leadership, empowerment, and support of future generations – just as I do. Throughout several meetings, fantastic lunches, and amazing work groups, we were able to develop a fabulous luncheon that is hosted at Signature Grand in Davie. Our Girl Scouts Lead the Way luncheon has been met with such endearment and support that our committee was able to create a fully supported virtual version during the pandemic in 2020. In an otherwise bleak time in our world, the success of this event in 2020 was incredibly special for all of us.

Patty Kopelman with her daughter Amanda at the 2019 Girl Scouts Lead the Way event

From the beginning, one of the goals for Girl Scouts Lead the Way was to recognize and celebrate female leaders with representation across a wide range of communities. In doing so, our council has also highlighted Girl Scouts and the role our organization plays in all the ways today’s girls are growing into leaders and showing that they can literally do anything! As Girl Scouts, we celebrate the G.I.R.L. (that’s Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker and Leader) in every honoree and lift them up to show our members what’s possible when women get a great start.  I have had the pleasure of being my daughter’s troop leader for the past 13 years and watching her blossom into a 2020 Gold Award Girl Scout and an adult Lifetime Member earlier this year. I was there as she learned that she can do anything.

Girl Scouts Lead the Way recognizes women who are as different as they are complex, insightful, and relevant. These women create change and make the world a better place in the way they live and lead every day.  With these qualities as our guide, our committee can recognize outstanding female community members regardless of titles or credentials. We are very proud to celebrate women of purpose and passion who inspire others and show others how to unlock potential. This isn’t just another luncheon or run of the mill award presentation. Our guests share time with Girl Scouts, hear from engaging speakers, meet inspiring women, and enjoy a delicious lunch together while enjoying prizes and a silent auction too! All of the events’ proceeds benefit Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida to support membership and program access for any interested girl who’s family cannot afford the opportunity to participate.

My investment of time for the planning and participating in Girl Scouts Lead the Way gives me an authentic opportunity to share a room with women who value what I value, love Girl Scouting for its investment in girls, inspire us to make big plans, and help make the world a better place. I hope you will decide to invest your time on September 14, 2021 and join me at the Signature Grand at 11:00 am as we celebrate some of Broward County’s amazing women.

Register today, I look forward to meeting you there!

Patty Kopelman
Recipient of the Thanks Badge II, 2021
Volunteer Service Unit Manager, Atikah in Plantation
Host Committee Member, Girl Scouts Lead the Way

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