What does 16-year old Jessica Peebles have in common with Taylor Swift, Venus Williams, Katie Couric, Michelle Obama, and Madeleine Albright? Did you guess all these women were Girl Scouts? Well, it’s true!
It’s no coincidence our Girl Scout alums fill some of the highest-ranking leadership roles around the world. Girl Scouts is designed to guide girls as they discover their talents, connect with their community and take action to help make the world a better place. In fact, 62 percent of Girl Scout alums see themselves as leaders within their communities, according to a 2012 study from the Girl Scout Research Institute.
And in Arizona, Girl Scout Jessica Peebles will receive the prestigious “Leadership Award” at the Women & Young Women of Distinction luncheon on October 17. This year, the luncheon will be held at the JW Marriot Camelback Inn and celebrates current and emerging female leaders whose remarkable service is making our community a better place.
A Girl Scout for 10 years, Jessica embodies the confidence, dedication and passion that it takes to be an effective leader. She has volunteered more than 200 hours for numerous organizations such as Thunder Buddies, Special Olympics of Arizona and the American Cancer Society, all while taking advanced placement classes and maintaining a 3.98 GPA at Desert Vista High School.
One of her proudest moments was when she led a team that raised $4,000 for the American Cancer Society during Relay for Life. Jessica credits the skills she learned as a young Girl Scout in helping her reach this goal.
“As part of my troop, I learned early on how to talk to groups, work as a team, how to be a follower and then a leader. What’s more, I learned to get along with others and appreciate the differences and value that each of us has to offer.”
Jessica’s dream is to study chemical and electrical engineering and business, with the intention of becoming an engineer project manager. She believes Girl Scouts was integral in helping her identify her goals and showing her a pathway to reach them.
“As an older Girl Scout you have opportunities to make great connections for internships and jobs, and a chance to find career mentors,” explains Jessica. “For me, it was meeting other female engineers at Intel and Freescale during Girl Scout seminars. Listening to these successful women inspired me to pursue an engineering degree. They showed me that I could find a place in a male dominated field.”
It’s the same courage that Jessica learned through Girl Scouting that she aspires to pass on to others. “I hope younger scouts learn that the sky is the limit. Girls can do anything boys can do. We are intelligent, motivated, and capable individuals that will solve many of the problems that exist in this world.”
Meet and celebrate Jessica and the other honorees at the Women & Young Women of Distinction luncheon. For more information, visit www.girlscoutsaz.org/wywd.