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Girl Scouts Honors Extraordinary OC Alumnae, Nets over $250,000 to Fund Vital Programs for Girls

2017 Celebrate Leadership Honorees with their Girl Scout partners from left to right: Julie Ann Ulcickas & Melina Mayo, Cynthia Stamper Graff & Kaekoa Corona, Dr. Jane L. Kakkis & Trinity Brewer, Robin Follman-Otta & Jillian Raymer, Kerri Sonenshine & Isabella Sidoni, Susan B. Parks & Lauren Best
2017 Celebrate Leadership Honorees with their Girl Scout partners from left to right: Julie Ann Ulcickas & Melina Mayo, Cynthia Stamper Graff & Kaekoa Corona, Dr. Jane L. Kakkis & Trinity Brewer, Robin Follman-Otta & Jillian Raymer, Kerri Sonenshine & Isabella Sidoni, Susan B. Parks & Lauren Best

IRVINE, Calif. (November 20, 2017) – On Friday, November 10 more than 280 community and business leaders came together to celebrate six extraordinary female leaders-- all local Girl Scout alumnae and champions of Girl Scouting-- at Girl Scouts of Orange County’s Eighth Annual Celebrate Leadership Event. Held at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach, attendees raised over $250,000 (net) to support Girl Scouting in Orange County. Each Celebrate Leadership honoree was paired with a current Girl Scout, ranging from Daisy (kindergarten) to Ambassador (grades 11-12), providing the next generation of female leadership with an opportunity to connect and mentor with women who have achieved excellence in their lives. View photos from Celebrate Leadership 2017.

2017 Celebrate Leadership Honorees

  • Robin Follman-Otta, World-Class Soprano & CEO Markall, Inc.
  • Cynthia Stamper Graff, Founder and Former CEO, Lindora LLC
  • Dr. Jane L. Kakkis, Surgeon, Breast Oncology
  • Susan B. Parks, CEO, Orange County United Way
  • Kerri Sonenshine, Vice President of Marketing, Far West Restaurant Group
  • Julie Ann Ulcickas, Etiquette Consultant, Author, Philanthropist

The Girl Scouts, ranging in age from six to 17, shared how their honorees inspire them to accomplish their goals and achieve their dreams. Each honoree was presented with a custom art piece created by her Girl Scout partner, a symbolic Girl Scout badge to represent the honoree’s unique leadership journey. Consistent with Girl Scouts’ commitment to being a girl-led organization, the evening program was emceed by Girl Scout Ambassador Anushka Bhaskar (age 17) and Girl Scout Cadette Sophia Del Rosario (age 12) – both from Rancho Santa Margarita. Entertainment featured pianist and Girl Scout Cadette Katelyn Park (age 13) during the reception and an operatic performance by Girl Scout alumnae and soprano Ashley Holguin (age 18) who opened the program with her breathtaking rendition of “Where the Music Comes From” by Lee Hoiby. Guests also had the opportunity to recognize and applaud Girl Scouts of Orange County CEO Nancy Nygren for 12 years of exceptional leadership, innovation, and vision as she prepares to retire at the end of 2017.

“Girls need positive female role models like our six Celebrate Leadership honorees who show them that the sky is the limit for what they can accomplish,” said Girl Scouts of Orange County CEO Nancy Nygren. “It is my hope that through this signature event, our community is able to envision all that Girl Scouts makes possible for young women and what they will bring to our future workplaces and communities. We are so proud to honor these remarkable women who serve as champions for girls and their futures.”

Attendees sipped on STEM-tini cocktails (blood orange cosmopolitans) and browsed more than 90 silent auction items, which included tickets to the upcoming Chapman Economic Forecast, a handcrafted black jade and diamond ring by John Tolle Jewelry, signed Angels memorabilia, a walk-on role in the Chance Theater’s “The Secret Garden – the musical, and more. Excitement heated up during the live auction with bidding on a Star Wars Droid Relay Party, Men’s Night Out package including GARYS gift certificate and tickets to Ducks and Clippers games, luxury bungalow getaway at The Resort at Pelican Hill, and two private parties at the new Argyros Girl Scout Leadership Center with incredible views of the 109th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Guests went home with boxes of Thin Mints and S’mores and a beautiful 2017 Girl Scouts Keepsake Calendar, featuring stunning photographs of the honorees with their Girl Scout partners.

An outstanding event committee, chaired by Ashleigh Aitken, of Counsel at Aitken* Aitken* Cohn, and Jacqueline Akerblom, West Region Managing Partner at Grant Thornton, helped make Celebrate Leadership 2017 a tremendous success.

Funds raised will support Girl Scouts of Orange County’s leadership development programs for 20,000 Girl Scouts and help recruit, train, and support the more than 13,000 volunteers who guide them. The event would not have been possible without the support of generous sponsors, including:

  • Silver Sponsors: Earth Friendly Products, Pepper Hamilton LLP, VerticAlign Posture Coaching, Phyllis Winnaman
  • Bronze Sponsors: Aitken Family and Aitken*Aitken*Cohn, Angels Baseball, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., Epson America, Inc., Grant Thornton LLP, KPMG LLP, PAAMCO, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Teacher Created Materials Publishing
  • VIP Patrons: James L. and Lynne P. Doti Family, Frieda’s Specialty Produce, Nancy and Scott Nygren, OC Fair & Event Center, Union Bank
  • Event Patrons: Becky Bailey-Findley and Gary Findley, California State University at Fullerton, Cibola Systems, Deloitte, Suzanne Huffmon Esber, Girls in the Garage, Sandra J. Jackson, Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA, Kramer & Olsen Accountancy, Vikki Shepp, Chris Shingleton of Community Strategic Advisors, Monica Timpe of Morgan Stanley
  • Wine and Spirits Underwriter: Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

We are Girl Scouts of Orange County. We are 33,000 strong-- 20,000 girls and 13,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. With programs in every zip code in Orange County, Girl Scouts offers every girl opportunities to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit .