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Girl Scouts of Orange County Announces 2017 Celebrate Leadership Honorees


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Six Orange County Women to Be Recognized by the Nation’s Preeminent Leadership Development Organization for Girls

IRVINE, Calif. – Girl Scouts of Orange County announced its roster of 2017 Celebrate Leadership honorees, six extraordinary local female trailblazers who are Girl Scout alumnae and outstanding examples of what it means to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™. The women will be recognized at the organization’s eighth annual Celebrate Leadership event on November 10, 2017 at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach. Each honoree is paired with a current Girl Scout, ranging from Daisy (kindergarten) to Ambassador (grades 11-12), providing the leaders of tomorrow with an opportunity to connect with leaders of today.

This year’s event will also provide the community with an extra special reason to come together in honor of Girl Scouts of Orange County CEO Nancy Nygren, who will be retiring at the end of the year. Guests will have the opportunity to recognize Ms. Nygren for 12 years of extraordinary leadership, crowned by the fall opening of the Argyros Girl Scout Leadership Center in Newport Beach.

2017 Celebrate Leadership Honorees

Robin Follman-Otta, of Villa Park, is CEO of Markall, Inc., COO of RA Industries, LLC, COO of Katmai Lodge, Alaska, World-Class Soprano, and Artistic Director. Ms. Follman-Otta performed as one of the top sopranos in the operatic industry for more than 30 years and continues to support the arts as CEO of the nonprofit Follman-Young Foundation for the Arts and on committees for Segerstrom Center of the Arts and the Pacific Symphony Opera.  Ms. Follman-Otta led the Orange County School of the Arts as Artistic Director and Voice Conservatory Director from 2000-2009. Since retiring from opera in 2012, she has led Markall, Inc., a leading precision parts manufacturer, as CEO, along with its manufacturing arm, RA Industries, LLC, a privately held, woman-and minority-owned full-service engineering and fabrication completion center. She currently serves on the board of Governors for Chapman University.  Ms. Follman-Otta’s accolades include Orange County Business Journal’s “Women in Business” Award and “Outstanding Contribution in Education through the Arts” from the Orange County Department of Education. 

Cynthia Stamper Graff, of Newport Beach, is Founder and former CEO of Lindora, LLC, one of the largest multi-site medical weight control systems in the U.S. For 25 years, she led the expansion of Lindora's clinical sites and development of the Lean for Life brand. Her Lean for Life book series has sold more than one million copies since 1997. She is also a founding member of the Convenient Care Association, the national trade association for in-store clinics, and in 2006, partnered with Rite Aid to open the nation’s first in-store clinics to feature weight management services. Ms. Graff is the recipient of Orange County Business Journal’s Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award and Women in Business Award, as well as National Association of Women Business Owners’ Remarkable Women Lifetime Achievement Award. She is proud to have been a Girl Scout Brownie.

Jane L. Kakkis, M.D., of Newport Beach, is a prominent oncoplastic surgeon specializing in breast cancer treatment and other conditions of the breast. Dr. Kakkis has served in many capacities, including Surgical Director of the Breast Center and Chief of Surgery for Orange Coast Memorial Hospital. Her leadership was instrumental in advocating for patients and bringing technological advancements to Orange County, including dense breast notification laws, screening breast MRI, oncotype genomic tumor evaluation, localized radiation therapy. These clinical advances more effectively diagnose and treat breast cancer patients. Dr. Kakkis counsels patients in all areas, including genetics, nutrition, fitness, and wellness. Her passion to educate and treat patients with respect and individuality enables them to make some of the most important decisions in their lives.

Susan B. Parks, of Dana Point, is CEO of the Orange County United Way. She leads the 93-year-old health and human services organization in improving lives and strengthening Orange County by focusing on education, income, health, and housing. A former Orange County United Way Board member and Founder of the Women’s Philanthropy Fund, Ms. Parks was appointed President and CEO in June 2017. Prior to United Way, she was Co-Founder and CEO of iCount Wellness™ at WalkStyles Inc., a leading corporate wellness program. She has also held executive roles at several Fortune 500 and 1000 companies, including Kinkos and Gateway, Inc. Ms. Park’s volunteer leadership roles include UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business, UCI Diabetes Center, and Susan G. Komen Orange County. She received the Pioneering Award from the Orange County chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners and was a past board member of Girl Scouts of Orange County.

Kerri Sonenshine, of Newport Beach, is Board President of Human Options, a non-profit dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic violence, and has been a member of the Board of Directors for more than 10 years.  She is Vice President, Marketing at Far West Restaurant Group, LLC, a franchisee of Wingstop Restaurants, and Prell Restaurant Group, LLC, a franchisee of Dunkin’ Donuts, overseeing marketing for 40 Wingstop restaurants and three Dunkin’ Donuts locations. Prior to Far West, she worked in marketing, brand management, and consulting for ConAgra Foods, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Velocity Sports Performance, and Corinthian Colleges.  Ms. Sonenshine is also involved with Harbor Day School and The Dragon Kim Foundation.

Julie Ann Ulcickas, of Santa Ana, is a renowned etiquette consultant and author who has been teaching the art of etiquette since 1992. Ms. Ulcickas was a Girl Scout, National Charity League Debutante, La Canada Thursday Club Les Fleurettes Debutante, 1988 Tournament of Roses Princess, and Etiquette Chairman for her Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority at USC. She currently teaches etiquette for all of those organizations, as well as many others. Ms. Ulcickas was the etiquette expert for Coast Kids Magazine and has been featured on radio and television. She resides in Santa Ana with her husband Jim, owner of Bluewater Grill Restaurant, and two children Frank and Ella.

“I am deeply honored to announce this year’s roster of extraordinary honorees,” shared Nancy Nygren, CEO of Girl Scouts of Orange County. “They embody the very essence of Girl Scouts’ mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place and are outstanding role models to our next generation of female leadership.”

Girl Scouts of Orange County’s eighth annual Celebrate Leadership event is chaired by Ashleigh Aitken of Aitken* Aitken* Cohn and Jacqueline Ackerblom of Grant Thornton LLP and Girl Scouts of Orange County Board Member. This signature event will host over 400 of Orange County’s community and business leaders for an evening of inspiration, dinner, auctions, and surprises. Funds raised will support leadership development programs for nearly 21,000 Orange County Girl Scouts and more than 10,000 Girl Scout volunteers who guide them to lead their best lives. 

Support Girl Scouts of Orange County’s Celebrate Leadership event by becoming a sponsor, donating auction items, and/or purchasing tickets. Click here for more information and available sponsorships or contact Vice President of Fund Development Michelle Dramé at (949) 461-8814 or mdrame@girlscoutsOC.org.

We are Girl Scouts of Orange County. We are 34,000 strong-- nearly 21,000 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. Our extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, she organized the very first Girl Scout troop. Every year since, we’ve honored her vision and legacy, building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. 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 GirlScoutsOC.org.

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