The Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore raised more than $21,000 while honoring 10 amazing women under the age of 40 at its inaugural Phenom Awards. The award reception took place September 22 at Martell’s Waters Edge, Bayville.
“The Phenom Awards were created to recognize young, emerging female leaders under age 40 in Monmouth and Ocean counties,” explained Susan H. McClure, chief executive officer, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. “The award recognizes each women for not only who they are, but who the community thinks they’re poised to become.”
I think this award is a great benchmark for me,” said Dr. Tamra Wroblesky, founder and co-owner of Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy, Ocean Township. “This is the time in my life that I’m becoming a role model. I’m actually doing the things that I looked up to people for.”
“My 10-year-old self would be incredibly excited by this award,” agreed Allie Cosaluzzo, account executive, Townsquare Media. “It’s an honor and a huge responsibility. But it’s also incredible that I have the chance to do for young girls what my role models did for me.”
“It’s not just girls, but everyone, who needs good guidance to get on the right path,” said Jaimie Diaz, junior loan officer, Grand Bank, who also serves as secretary of Soroptimists International of the Central Jersey Coast.” It’s flattering that I’m seen as a role model for a younger generation.”
Every Phenom Award recipient was nominated by a member of the local business community. In addition to being successful, young professionals, they’re also well connected to the issues that face young women who are just now starting to prepare for college and careers.
“The challenges girls face today with social media and everything else that wasn’t available when I was growing up makes it that much more important that they have role models to look up to,” said Lauren Holman, not-for-profit practice leader, Holman Frenia Allison, PC. “Goals you set for yourself are incredibly important. They need to see that when you try something new, it’s ok to fail. There are lessons to be learned when you pick yourself off and keep trying.”
“The world’s not getting any easier, it’s getting more competitive,” explained Noelle McNeil, Meridian Neuroscience. “There are more people with more degrees competing for the same positions. As a result, the person they are matters much more.”
“There’s so much going on in the world today that role models are so important,” agreed Heather Barberie, executive director, Ocean County College Foundation. “I hope in the future that there aren’t just 10 Phenoms, but dozens or more because there are just so many to pick from.”
“Everyone is a role model to someone,” said Catherine Tobin, Clean Ocean Action, Highlands. “For girls, it’s time for more role models to be women instead of men.”
That’s where Girl Scouts plays an important role in every community. Starting with girls in kindergarten Girl Scouts teaches the skills necessary for young girls to become strong, confident women. By the time they graduate high school, Girl Scouts are better prepared for their futures than those who don’t participate in the Girl Scout program.
“I was a Girl Scout my whole life. I’m still a Girl Scout,” said Elizabeth Trottier, civil litigation attorney, Foss, San Filippo and Milne, Red Bank, and a member of the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore Board of Directors. “When I think back about my experiences as a Girl Scout I can think of dozens of women who influenced my development in a positive way. I’m sitting where I am not just because of my own accomplishments, but because of the opportunities people like them gave me.”
Despite their accomplishments and Phenom Award recognition, each honoree says they’re still ambition and looking ahead to the future. “I’ve worked super hard to get where I am and I’m not done yet,” said Kelli Peterson, community bank district manager, Wells Fargo. “It’s also motivating to know someone may be looking up to us. You need to have a role model who inspires you to say, ‘I want to be like her, I want to follow her path,’ or, ‘She made a path and now I want to create my own.’”
That’s the true value of the Phenom Awards, raising awareness of women who can be examples for the next generation. “I’m proud to be that person. I’m glad I can help anyone in some small way,” said Jennifer Godoski, manager of policy and government affairs, New Jersey Resources. “You hope the next generation of women have it a little bit easier and make it a little bit farther than your generation did.”
For more information about the Phenom Awards or program opportunities offered by the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, contact Erick Rommel, chief communications officer, at (800) 785-2090.