Lidia Soto-Harmon, Acting CEO GSCNC, with advice from the women of Camp CEO
This year I had the privilege of spending six days with 32 teenage girls and 25 powerful business women, from the Greater Washington region, at our 13th annual Girl Scout Camp CEO at Coles Trip.
Women and girls climbed the over 158 stairs to the Aquia Creek Waterfront to enjoy kayaking and underwater basket weaving, we learned African-dance, roasted s’mores, made story bracelets, stayed up all night chatting, and created magical art on canvas that portrays each of our unique stories. Sounds like camp—but it was more than that!
These powerful business women, in addition to participating in camp activities like singing and earning patches, shared their personal stories and gave advice in talks with the girls each morning called, “Dreaming Your Future“.
When one of the women was asked, how do you become a CEO?—she replied, “you have to apply”. That message was not lost on the girls—they realized that in addition to having the skills and experience to do the job that they also needed to have confidence and courage to make a difference in this world.
As the girls look towards their future they learned first-hand that failing is just another chance to succeed; that being powerful comes with humbleness of spirit; and mostly that they are part of a sisterhood that will help them as the move through their life journey, and create their story.
Here is advice shared by some of the Camp CEO women to the girls
—it’s good advice for us all.
Angela Avant, former Partner in Charge of Diversity for KPMG, LLP
• Get a mentor (or several) study and work smart and stay focused. Get involved – volunteer, give back, start building your network now, always believe you can do whatever you want and have fun.
Robin Thurman, Consultant, BAE Systems
• Balance work with play. Don’t let anyone intimidate you. Think outside the box and don’t do things the same old way. Leave your mark on a company by making it better. Take two week vacations for a true break. Always be ethical even when other colleagues are not. Travel to remote places around the world for soul searching. Save money and spend it on things that make memoires. Exercise and eat healthy – eat, pray, love!
Rachel Kronowitz, Partner & Vice Chair, Gilbert LLP
• Do well, give back, and have fun!
Margie Auer, Veterans Law Judge, Board of Veterans’ Appeals
• Be kind to others and to yourself. Don’t make snap judgments. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Be true to your values. Remember your Camp CEO friends, and don’t be afraid to call on us for help, advice or just to catch up.
Barbara Sutton, Medical Doctor
• Take the hard road- it’s the best way to get to know you.
Wendy Wysong, Partner, Clifford Chance, LLP
• Be bold and be grave. Alternate heels with flats and get a coach and cheerleaders, or a dog.
Debra Silimeo, Sr. Vice President, Hager Sharp
• Take some risks. Do something that makes a difference for others. Be kind to yourself and to others. Help someone else with their career- you will learn something. Smile everyday!
Kathy McKinless, Consultant to the Archbishop, Archdiocese of Washington
• Positive attitude, work hard, volunteer, enjoy, keep learning
Christine Brennan, Sports Columnist & Commentator
• Old school still works. Treat people right, send thank you notes, say yes ma’am and yes sir. Do all this and you’ll make a great impression. Good luck!
Karen Penn, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, US Department of Defense
• Be competent and confident; don’t be afraid to make mistakes – you’ll learn more from failures than success.
Faye Fields, President & CEO of Integrated Resource Technologies, Inc
• Keep an open mind, always do your best, and have fun!
Stephanie Tsacoumis, VP & General Counsel, Georgetown University
• Balance! Work hard, be prepared, always try your best, and have fun.
Mozella Ademiluyi, Founder, Rising Sun Programs
• Continue learning. Appreciate others. Mean well. Let go. Prepare yourself. Excel constantly!
Donella Brockington, VP, Government Solutions ACS, A Xerox Company
• Be: fearless, relentless, prepared, educated, analytical, creative and a team player
Johanna Ramos, Senior Systems Engineer, Scitor Corporation USA
• Get a mentor—better, get more than one!
Mary Gay Sprague, Attorney, US Department of Justice
• Always look for ways to make your company/ agency, profession, and the world better for your effort.
Kristin Gerlach, President and Owner, Gerlach Real Estate, Inc.
• Set goals, be positive, have fun, ask why, give back
Jeri Fellerman, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank, NA
• Don’t be afraid to take risks, be proud of your accomplishments, work hard, play hard, and enjoy life!
Abby Mackness, Director, Sr. Program Management, Lockheed Martin
• Life’s a dance, you learn as you go… Sometimes you lead and sometimes you follow. Keep your priorities straight – if work/career is number one, rethink!
Betsy Lewis, Partner Cooley Godward Kronish, LLP
• Find your voice, do what you love, inspire others to follow you