President of the Board Remarks, 2015 Annual Meeting

Faye FieldsGSCNC-0653
President of the Board
2015 Annual Meeting

Thank you everyone for that fun welcome!

Before I begin my first address as your President, I would like to take a moment to remember two Girl Scout greats. Last year, we lost Bobby Lerch, our Council’s first president, and Marguerite Cyr, the first President of the Shawnee Girl Scout Council, which merged with Nation’s Capital in 2009.

Bobby was a trailblazing leader—In 1963, she led the effort to unite five diverse councils into what we know today as Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital. Marguerite became President of the Shawnee Council that same year, creating a legacy of volunteerism and passion for the Girl Scout movement. We were fortunate to have had many years to benefit from their wisdom; Bobby was 104 years young when she passed away, and Marguerite 101. I’d like to ask for a moment of silence as we remember these dear members of our Girl Scout family.

Thank you.

I have to say, it has been a pleasure leading my first Annual Meeting as your board president. Tell me, how am I doing so far?

I am so excited for what’s to come in the next three years as we continue to support girls in our region.

Let me start with a brief introduction. I am the CEO of Integrated Resource Technologies, Inc., a provider of management support services to government agencies. As you already know, I am also a founding owner of the Nationals Baseball team—a fact Girl Scouts won’t let me live down!

But most of all, I am a proud Girl Scout Alumna.

This organization has always been an important part of my life. Growing up as a Girl Scout in Middletown, Ohio, I had wonderful experiences marching in parades, taking trips and selling Girl Scout cookies.

So when given the opportunity to reconnect with my Girl Scout roots, I jumped at the chance, beginning with mentoring teen Girl Scouts at Camp CEO, to leading our major gifts efforts for our 100th anniversary, to serving as the first Vice President under the leadership of our previous President, Diane Tipton.

I have been fortunate to be able to pay it forward to Girl Scouts. When I was elected to the position as President of the Board last year, I was eager for the chance to help strengthen an organization that means so much to me.

It has been a whirlwind first six months as your president, beginning with leading the delegation to the 53rd National Council Session and Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Let me tell you, nothing will make you grasp the full scope of this movement like reciting the Promise and Law among a sea of thousands of Girl Scouts.  I felt an immense sense of sisterhood and pride for the work we do to support girls.

During Convention, Councils expressed their position on the outdoors. To an audience of thousands, Chloe proudly stood and delivered our outdoor manifesto, declaring that, “Nation’s Capital wants NO girl left inside.” It was even a trending topic on social media!

We were delighted when Girl Scouts announced the national badge program for the outdoors. It’s been exciting to see this program come to fruition as more than 80,000 girls from across the country voted for their favorite activities and the design of these badges.

But in order for our Council to continue to provide incredible outdoor opportunities, we must secure the funds to invest in girls. This is an aspect of our work that is hugely important to the continued success of our Council. I believe in setting an example of philanthropy, and the value of being generous with both our time and treasure.

This Council is working hard to create a culture of philanthropy through a strong annual giving campaign. Last year, SHARE raised over $690,000.

In addition to supporting volunteer development and camp programs, these contributions allowed us to distribute $630,000 in financial assistance to deserving Girl Scout families.

These funds allowed more girls to travel on destinations, experience the outdoors and proudly wear the Girl Scout uniform.

Only 12 percent of families in our Council currently give to the SHARE campaign. This is why much more needs to be done to increase participation in SHARE.

We know we can do better.

To increase family involvement in SHARE, our Development Department has been hosting “listening” breakfasts with SHARE volunteers to find new ways to engage and support our entire membership.

Did you see the green ribbons on those two association flags as part of our parade earlier today? These ribbons celebrated the associations that already have met their SHARE goals for the year.

I also want to recognize the Service Units that are at or beyond their SHARE goal for this year.

Let’s give them all a hand!

We also are being resourceful in finding new and creative funding sources to expand our annual giving, like our online monthly giving program, the Friendship Circle, and our corporate matching initiative that was just launched on our website.

Through a relationship with Hersheypark, our members were able to purchase discounted tickets. Hersheypark donated a portion of the proceeds, amounting to more than $20,000, back to our SHARE campaign.

And spread the word, because they are doing it again this year!

Thanks to board member Laura Lane, our friends and corporate partners recently held an event called “Sweet Success” at the UPS Townhouse. It celebrated the 104 women in the 114th Congress and featured local chefs preparing delicious desserts incorporating Girl Scout cookies. Members of Congress attended and met Girl Scouts who participated in our Congressional Aide Program. UPS designated Girl Scouts as the charity, and raised over $100,000 for our girls and volunteers. Thank you.

We also are inspiring new Major Gift donors and increasing their levels of giving. Last year, Major Gifts raised over $300,000. This year, we already have exceeded our Major Gifts goal by almost $50,000. With five months still left in the year, our efforts continue! If you have made a major gift in the past year, please stand so we can recognize you.

We truly appreciate every act of generosity, from the girls who donate pennies from their piggy banks, to our Inspirational Givers, who are helping change the philanthropic landscape of our Council. In fact, we have some of those Inspirational Givers in the room today.

I want to acknowledge two incredible women who have each made a lifetime commitment of more than $250,000: Barbara Ostrom and Sarah Phillips.

I also wanted to recognize donors who have made a lifetime commitment of $100,000-$250,000: Mary Gay Sprague, and Lynne Siebert-Steptoe, Eva Woolridge and Phil Steptoe.

From our corporate and foundation partners, we exceeded our $1 million goal last year.  This year to date, we have brought in eight new corporate funders and increased the level of giving for eight current funders.

We are well on our way to establishing a culture of philanthropy. I look to all of you to join me as we make this Council stronger for generations to come.

Now, let me talk about my other favorite topic: In 2016, we are thrilled to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the highest earned award in Girl Scouting—the Gold Award. This highest award is earned by a dedicated group of girls who have left a lasting legacy in Girl Scouting, creating projects that improved their community and the world.

We will use this centennial to recognize all the women who are a part of our Gold Award family. The Gold Award has had a number of names throughout the years, including the Golden Eagle of Merit, Golden Eaglet, Curved Bar, First Class or the Gold Award. If you’ve earned one of those awards, including the Gold Award please stand. All of you are a part of our Gold Award Family!

As leaders in our Girl Scout movement, our Council has been working with Girl Scouts of the USA to design a new logo for the centennial. And today, for the first time ever, I want to unveil for you the new logo of the 100th anniversary of the Gold Award. Are you ready?

Here it is!

Isn’t it beautiful? It incorporates all the past names of the highest award in Girl Scouts.

We are already hard at work planning for the centennial, and I am delighted to have our first Vice President, Barbara Krumsiek, serve as the chair for the 100th anniversary Gold Award steering committee.

Barbara is a Girl Scout Alumna who earned the First Class—and she is passionate about increasing the visibility for this high award.

Through a robust media outreach campaign, we will raise the profile of this award so that others understand just how extraordinary our Gold Award girls are!

When Juliette Gordon Low was alive, she used to personally present every one of these awards to the Girl Scouts who earned them. The Gold Award is that special, and we want the world to know it!

We’re not stopping there—we want to make 2016 a record year for the Gold Award. To support Girl Scouts in our Council who are working towards this award, we will host Gold Award boot camps this summer to encourage girls to “Go for the Gold” in 2016.

We also see the Gold Award as a way to retain our membership. When our families we see what girls can accomplish, they will stay engaged with this organization. Through our Associations, we will use the Gold Award to show our Daisies, Brownies and Juniors the value of staying in Girl Scouts. Let’s allow our Gold Award girls to serve as ambassadors for this organization, showing our younger girls what success looks like.

Of course, none of this will be possible if we don’t secure much-needed resources to help more girls earn this highest award.

So an important part of the work of our steering committee will be to solicit funders to help increase our Gold Award Scholarship, and help us host an amazing celebratory event in spring 2016.

The 100th anniversary is not only a time to celebrate the accomplishments of our Girl Scouts. It is also a unique opportunity to identify Girl Scout alumnae and bring them back into the fold.

We know that there are 59 million women in this country who are Girl Scout alumnae. Whether they were Girl Scouts for two years or ten, they are a part of this organization for life. Let’s reconnect with these women and remind them of the importance of our work and the fun we have.

I’m sure many of you in this room made some amazing friends in Girl Scouts. Or maybe you have a sister, a niece or an aunt who was once a Girl Scout, but has since lost touch with this organization.

Help us build our alumnae network. On our website, you’ll find a feature—Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout—designed to share the stories of our Girl Scout alumnae.

Go on the website and complete the survey—tell us your story and please pass it on to your friends, family and colleagues.

We also have a unique opportunity in 2016 to re-engage with Gold Award alumnae in this area, encouraging them to volunteer, mentor and donate to Girl Scouts. Many of these women have gone on to accomplish extraordinary things, and we want to bring them back to an organization that gave them their start.

We know that for many girls, the path to earning the Gold Award begins with encouraging leaders who motivate girls to progress through their Girl Scout experience. Many girls start with amazing Bronze and Silver Award projects before being inspired to go for gold.

In just a moment, you are going to hear from some inspiring Girl Scouts who are here to share their high award journeys with you.

But before I conclude, I want to thank you all for giving me the opportunity to serve as your Council’s board president. We have a lot to be proud of at Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital, and with your continued support, I look forward to ensuring the future of Girl Scouting in this region for years to come.