TAMPA (Dec. 18, 2013) – Girl Scouts of West Central Florida is pleased to announce its 2014 Women of Distinction and Woman of Promise. All honorees have achieved success in their chosen fields and serve as inspiring role models for girls in our local communities. They each exemplify ethical leadership and a commitment to making a difference in the lives of their fellow citizens through community service.
The 2014 Women of Distinction are:
Leslie Waters (Seminole) – Born and raised in Pinellas County, Leslie proudly serves as the current mayor of the City of Seminole. Throughout her career, Leslie has worked in several high-profile positions for Allstate Insurance Company and the Florida legislature where, notably, she served as a state representative and speaker pro tempore. In addition to being an experienced Washington DC and Tallahassee lobbyist, Leslie has facilitated motivational government programs worldwide as a democracy consultant for the International Republican Institute.
A graduate of Florida State University, Leslie has served as an adjunct political science professor for the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg and currently serves in the same capacity for Eckerd College. A community activist, Leslie has dedicated her time and talents to many community organizations, including her current involvement with: the VFW Post #9272, the PEMHS Mental Health Board, the Pinellas County Urban League Board, the Pinellas County Farm Bureau Board, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Advisory Board, the Greater Seminole Chamber of Commerce, and the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce.
Dotti Groover-Skipper (Tampa) – Servant-hood leadership is a way of life for Dotti. Since graduating from the University of South Florida with a degree in Wellness, Dotti has facilitated expert programming to impact positive policy change in tobacco, alcohol, gambling, substance abuse, addiction, and sex trade. She humbly founded a local faith-based ministry, HeartDance Foundation, dedicated to the restoration of individuals recovering from addiction and sex trade, and leads both the Tampa Bay ABOLISH Movement and the Sex Trafficking Collaborative of Tampa to help eradicate human trafficking. Consequently, Dotti was recognized by Florida Governor Rick Scott and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as the State of Florida’s 2013 “Human Trafficking Advocate of the Year.”
Dotti is currently the vice chair for the Hillsborough County Commission on the Status of Women, serves on the State of Florida Department of Juvenile Justice strategic and planning committees for the State-Wide Human Trafficking Initiative, serves on the board of directors for the Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance, and assists her son’s high school (Chamberlain) as the vice chair of its student advisory committee.
Molly Crews (Tampa) – Molly has been involved in community volunteerism in the Tampa Bay area for the past thirty years. She is currently serving her sixth year as president of the Tampa Bay National Day of Prayer Council, Inc. and has worked for the past ten years with the Friends of Joshua House Foundation to host its annual Child Abuse Awareness Luncheon. Molly also currently serves as a member of the Speakers Bureau for Human Trafficking and the Sex Trafficking Collaborative and is the former chair of the board for LifePath Hospice, Inc., as well as past president of both the Athena Society and the Network of Executive Women.
Before exiting the full-time workforce, Molly served as vice president and general manager of Infor EnRoute Public Safety and Geac Publishing Systems, providers of large systems computer software; she was among only a few female business unit managers in these international corporations. Her technology expertise and mathematics background have allowed her to mentor young women considering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) opportunities, and she credits her Girl Scout background for providing the leadership, management skills and work ethic that has garnered her respect in her career and community leadership roles.
Nancy Ridenour, CPA, CFE, CFF (Dunedin) – Boasting more than 20 years of experience in public accounting, Nancy is a shareholder with PDR Certified Public Accountants with offices in Clearwater and Tampa. Nancy, who graduated summa cum laude from the University of Wisconsin, is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA). She also has extensive experience in fraud investigations, and is a Certified Fraud Examiner and member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
An active and dedicated community member, Nancy is a volunteer/program presenter for the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay where she provides training for board members, and serves on several local not-for-profit boards including: Morton Plant Mease Foundation, Morton Plant Mease Health System, Homeless Emergency Project, Advocare Trust, Mease Manor Retirement Community, Diocese of St. Petersburg, Pinellas County Health Facilities Authority, St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, St. Michael’s Housing, Inc. Casa Miguel, and Random Acts of Flowers Pinellas.
The 2014 Woman of Promise, a deserving young woman under the age of 35, is:
Heather Barrow (Tampa) – Holding both a master’s degree and bachelor of science degree in accounting from The University of Florida, Heather is a Florida Certified Public Accountant with several years of experience at Ernst & Young, LLP. Heather also has ten years of non-profit experience through various positions held within The Junior League of Tampa, where she has served on its board of directors and executive committee as the League’s treasurer and vice president of finance.
As founder and executive director of High Risk Hope, a nonprofit that provides support, encouragement, information and resources to women and families who are experiencing a high risk pregnancy, Heather leads a team of non-compensated volunteers in reaching more than 1,200 patients annually at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital and Tampa General Hospital. As a result of Heather’s remarkable community contributions, she was recognized in 2013 as a Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero, as one of Tampa Bay’s “10 Leading Ladies” by Blu Tampa Bay, as an “Everyday Hero” by Bay News 9, and as a “Hometown Hero” by FOX 13 News.
These extraordinary women will be honored at the thirteenth annual Women of Distinction luncheon on March 18, 2014 at A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa. The luncheon benefits the nearly 21,000 girls served by Girl Scouts of West Central Florida. Award-winning actress, designer and humanitarian Jane Seymour, who blazed the trail for family friendly television programming with her role as “Dr. Michaela Quinn” on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, will serve as the luncheon’s esteemed keynote speaker.
Tickets for the luncheon can be purchased beginning Friday, Dec. 20 by visiting www.gswcf.org/wod. General seating tickets are $75 per person; patron preferred seating tickets (which includes program recognition) are $150 per person. Sponsorships are also available; please contact Terri Costello at (813) 262-1688 or email@example.com for more information.
Girl Scouts of West Central Florida (GSWCF) serves nearly 21,000 girls and nearly 10,000 adult members in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sumter counties. GSWCF receives funding from the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and area United Way agencies. Did you know that more than 53% of all women business owners are Girl Scout alumnae? For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, visit www.gswcf.org or call (800) 881-4475.