The Woman of Distinction award was established to honor the many exceptional women in our community who are paving the way for girls. Honorees exemplify the Girl Scout mission by living with courage, confidence, and character, and making the world a better place.
For girls in our community to succeed in leadership, they need to know there are women leading the way by opening doors, creating opportunities and cheering them on. Recent findings by The Girl Scout Research Institute indicates a girl’s success can be determined by positive influences in Five Key Focus areas—emotional and physical health; financial literacy; science, technology, engineering, art and math; leadership and academic success; and global citizenship.
Woman of Distinction honorees give hope and inspiration to girls through their achievements and passion for our communities. By making major impacts in the focus areas, they are role models for girls and leading the way for future girl leaders. Please join us in congratulating our 2014 Woman of Distinction Honorees.
Meet the 2014 Honorees
Dr. Cecelia M. AdamsToledo Board of Education, President
Dr. Adams believes that one of the greatest gifts a person can give is community service that benefits children. She is a native of Toledo, Ohio and a product of Toledo Public Schools (TPS). She began her career as a science teacher and taught for fourteen years. During that time, she received The Award of Excellence, twice, from TPS and was selected Outstanding Science Teacher of the Year by the Ohio Academy of Science. She was promoted to several administrative positions, retiring in 2008 after 35 years, as Assistant Superintendent in Toledo Public Schools. Dr. Adams is a graduate of the University of Toledo where she earned a Ph.D. in Educational Administration. Dr. Adams has been a member and held leadership positions in several civic, community service and professional organizations including the YMCA, NAACP, Toledo Federation of Teachers and Pi Lambda Theta Education Honorary; the Downtown Kiwanis, Urban Leadership Development Program; and African American Legacy Project. Dr. Adams is a member of the Toledo Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and The Toledo (OH) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and currently serves on the boards for the YWCA of Northwest Ohio and Family Services of Northwest Ohio.
Billie JohnsonArea Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, Inc.,President/C.E.O.
Those who know Billie Johnson will tell you she is serious when she describes her work as a mission rather than just a job. Mrs. Johnson, president and chief executive officer of the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, has spent most of her career advocating for and working with the elderly for more than three decades. Mrs. Johnson helped create the Area Office on Aging. Through her leadership, it has evolved from a small staff of four to a comprehensive regional office that serves more than 160,000 older adults living in 10 counties. Billie Johnson developed a regional non-profit corporation with an annual budget of over $44 million dollars to promote the health, well-being and safety of older adults, persons with disabilities and family caregivers to foster independence. Mrs. Johnson held leadership positions in several civic, community service and professional organizations including The Toledo Art Museum, Toledo Zoological Society, Zonta International, ProMedica, and the Toledo (OH) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. Mrs. Johnson’s honors and awards include the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ohio Association of Gerontological Educators in Ohio, The Athena Award, YWCA Milestones Award, Distinguished Service to Justice Award and Outstanding Service Award by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She also was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame by past Governor Ted Strickland.
Dr. Mary Ellen MazeyBowling Green State University,President
“The first thing that I’ll be doing is listening. I have a lot to learn from the university community. Then, we can begin building partnerships—internally, in Ohio, and across the world—to strengthen the university and provide more opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey when she was appointed Bowling Green State University’s eleventh President in 2011. Dr. Mazey's extensive experience in Ohio public universities and with implementing strategic plans, coupled with her understanding of the role higher education has to play in the state’s well-being, led the BGSU trustees to select her as the president of the university. Dr. Mazey received her Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. She has served in several faculty and leadership positions at the Auburn University, University of Cincinnati, Wright State University and West Virginia University. Since arriving on the BGSU campus, Dr. Mazey has been actively involved in all aspects of the university. She has been engaged in collaborating with students, alumni, faculty, staff, friends and members of the Bowling Green community to execute the university’s strategic plan and to build BGSU’s future. She implemented a visioning process that builds the relationship between the university and the city of Bowling Green. Dr. Mazey serves on the Board of Directors of the Toledo Chamber of Commerce and of the Regional Growth Partnership and is a member of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. She is a national consultant and speaker on strategic planning and facilitative leadership.
Dr. Anne RuchSewHope, Inc., Founder and Executive Director
Dr. Anne Ruch is described as “the voice of underserved women and children, locally and globally,” by her nominator, the Reverend Dr. Julian Davies. Dr. Ruch is a Board certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist with 22 years in private practice. She teaches medical students and residents through an adjunct position with the University of Toledo. Dr. Ruch has been active in global health issues in Guatemala since 1998 and is the Founder and Executive Director of the SewHope Foundation, a non-profit organization which serves in Peten, Guatemala. SewHope works to address issues regarding health, education, economic opportunity and spirituality in the region. Many noteworthy programs have been started under Dr. Ruch’s leadership. She began a Cervical Cancer Prevention Program which screened and treated over 4,000 women for precancerous lesions where indicated. A computer based after-school education program was created for over 100 children funded by Dell computers. She also worked with communities to grow over 120 fruit and vegetable gardens through an affiliation with the regional Department of Agriculture and started a local Toledo chapter of “Kids Against Hunger”—collecting and packaging “ready to eat therapeutic food” to send to Guatemala and other areas of need. Nine hundred thousand meals have been sent. Dr. Ruch is on the Board of Trustees for the ProMedica Health System and serves on their Advocacy Committee, which works to address issues of health disparity for the poorest in our region.
Martha VetterR/P Marketing Public RelationsFounder and C.E.O.
Martha Vetter is the founder, owner and CEO of R/P Marketing Public Relations and the Transcend Hospice Marketing Group. Both organizations provide integrated solutions to complex marketing problems for clients including Libbey Glass, United States Steel, the Smithsonian, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and hospices in 24 states. In 2006, Martha founded Chicks for Charity—a northwest Ohio giving circle that counts more than 1,900 women and girls as members. Its goal is to create opportunity for philanthropic mentoring, involvement and contribution to women of all ages and economic means. To date, the organization has raised over $420,000 for overlooked Toledo-area charities, such as The Victory Center, IBC Beat the Streets and, most recently, Shared Lives Studio. In 2013, R/P celebrated its 20th anniversary by making a $10,000 donation to Toledo-based Food for Thought. Martha has received the nation’s highest public relations award, the Silver Anvil, and lifetime achievement awards from both the Toledo Press Club and Ad Club. She also has been inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame at Bowling Green State University and the Entrepreneurial and Business Hall of Fame.
Congratulations 2014 Woman of Distinction Honorees
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