The Hilton Anatole was the epicenter of girl power recently when chairwoman Katherine Coker welcomed hundreds to the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Women of Distinction Luncheon, an annual event that honors women and girls who have made a lasting impact on their communities.
Attendees — including former first lady Laura Bush, Jenna Bush Hager, Gene Jones, Maggie Cooke Kipp, Kate Rose Marquez, Rachel Michell, and Anne Dyer — got all caught up before dining on a hearty lunch. Although several ladies entered the raffle for a chance at a grand prize, everyone already felt like a winner because of the Thin Mints that awaited them at their seats. Hey, it's the little things, people!
And then it was on to the big things. Jan Rees-Jones received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her community leadership and service to others. She won over the crowd with her candid comments about her fear of public speaking, saying that life was all about stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Anna Michele Bobadilla and Geraldine “Tincy” Miller received the Women of Distinction Awards for their civic involvement and positive impact on the community. Bobadilla shared an inspiring story (via video) of her upbringing and how her parents encouraged her to chase her dreams.
Devon Bray and Sruthi Tummala received the Young Women of Distinction awards for their outstanding leadership and exemplary Girl Scouting. Both young ladies impressed the crowd with their public speaking skills and their mature perspectives, thanking the Girl Scouts and their parents for helping them get to where they are today.
After the awards were doled out, keynote speaker Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, spoke about the importance of getting young girls the computing skills necessary to explore 21st century job opportunities. Her wit and passion on the subject had everyone in the room on board with closing the gender gap in technology.
Saujani was especially excited to talk about the groundbreaking of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas' STEM Center of Excellence in South Dallas, which will serve as a living lab of sorts for local scouts. Girls kindergarten through 12th grades can explore science, technology, engineering, and math in a girl-centered environment.
Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas serves more than 27,000 girls and 12,500 adults in 32 northeast Texas counties. This dynamic leadership organization works toward the simple goal of making the world a better place through the confidence, character, and courage of its members.