The headline for the Women of Distinction Luncheon staged by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas was revealed months ago: Billionaire Austin businessman and philanthropist John Paul DeJoria was to be named the group’s first recipient of the Man Enough To Be a Girl Scout honor. DeJoria was not available to pick up this newest of merit badges in person because of a wedding on the other side of the planet, but he sent along a warmhearted video and a check to kick off the event’s modest public fund drive.
The six Women of Distinction were, however, present and accounted for in the large banquet room at the Fairmount Austin Hotel. Each was represented by a glossy video followed by an ardent acceptance speech.
Successful businesswoman Melissa Fleming reserves some of her time to raise awareness about a rare form of brain cancer that took the life of her young son, Brock. Seton Healthcare Family’s Chief Nursing Officer and Dean of the Health Sciences at Austin Community College Yvonne VanDyke donates her time to countless other causes.
Margaret Jabour leads the Lebanese-Texan dynasty that owns and operates Twin Liquors, while Sandy Acalá has been directly involved in many charitable efforts, but is perhaps best know for co-founding the Con Mi Madre, which nurtures Latinas and their mothers through the educational system.
Charmaine Smith-Winters received hearty thanks from the 700 our so guests for her work urging girls into STEM training. Rising Star honoree Virginia Cumberbatch gave, as she often does, a stirring speech about bringing visibility and voice to underserved communities in Austin.
But I have to say, impressive as these women were, the standout star of the luncheon was active Scout Kaylee L., the COO of Lady Cans Robotics, who not only forged her identity but also blazed a trail to higher education during her 11 years in Girl Scouts. The full house leaped to its feet to salute her.