Girl Scouting Builds Courageous Leaders

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Girl Scouts is the world’s preeminent leadership development experience for girls, building within them the skills and resilience needed to be leaders of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. From Daisies in kindergarten to Ambassadors in high school, Girl Scouts San Diego provides year-round programs for more than 15,000 girls in San Diego and Imperial Counties.

The youth-serving organization offers a unique, safe, and girl-focused environment that fosters a sense of well-being for girls and allows them to explore their interests, challenge themselves, take initiative, and lead with confidence.

For girls in grades 10-12, the Girl Scout leadership experience is particularly transformative. At this stage, the Emerging Leader Girl Scout program provides opportunities for teenage Girl Scouts to hone their skills through advanced workshops to learn and practice communication, public speaking, and networking in person and online. It empowers girls from various backgrounds to realize their collective potential to make a meaningful impact in their communities and beyond.

“In the future, I plan to pursue a career in either mathematics, cognitive science, journalism, or education – or maybe something with all four! The Emerging Leaders program has allowed me to learn about these careers and build the skills needed to be successful,” reflected 11th grade Emerging Leader, Delilah.

The Emerging Leaders program culminates at the Cool Women Celebration, where Girl Scouts network with and receive mentorship from professionals from the region. “Through this program, I have had the opportunity to meet many cool women like Dawn Barry from Luna DNA and connect with women from Qualcomm, Southwest Airlines, and more,” said Isabella, an Emerging Leader in 12th grade.

For 24 years, the Cool Women Celebration has honored more than 200 exemplary leaders from San Diego and beyond for their positive contributions to the development of girls and women. This year’s event on Thursday, March 21 shined a spotlight on five remarkable women from diverse fields – from STEM and entrepreneurship to arts, law, and social impact – and acknowledged their efforts in breaking down barriers and paving the way for future generations.

Girl Scouts San Diego’s Cool Women of 2024 are:
Suzie Alarcón, Co-Founder, AUGenomics; Director of the Next Generation Sequencing Core, La Jolla Institute for Immunology; Kim Folsom, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Founders First Capital Partners; Martha Gilmer, Chief Executive Officer, San Diego Symphony Orchestra; Pamela Gray Payton, Vice President, Chief Impact and Partnerships Officer, San Diego Foundation; Hon. Sherry Thompson-Taylor, Judge, San Diego Superior Court.

More than 30 Cool Women Alumnae gathered at the event to support the accomplishments of the 2024 Cool Women and the largest-ever class of 50 Emerging Leader Girl Scouts. Through community support and by forging powerful connections between volunteers, staff, donors, executive mentors, partner organizations, and Girl Scouts of all ages, Girl Scouts San Diego is advancing female leadership in San Diego and Imperial counties

To donate, volunteer, join, or learn more about Girl Scouts San Diego, visit

photo credit: Girl Scouts San Diego

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Kamran Saeed