Regional leaders address Glen Oaks Girl Scouts

Friday, June 21, 2019 | 6:44 AM

The featured speakers of an event Thursday at Walker Park in Leet Township were among the region’s most esteemed.

Directors and CEOs of nonprofits, festivals and theaters addressed an enthusiastic crowd, providing tips on balancing work and personal lives and telling stories of childhood dreams that blossomed into successful careers.

Their audience asked poignant questions — “If you were offered your dream job, would you take it?” — and some lighthearted ones — “What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie?”

The panel was featured during Glen Oaks Girl Scout 25th Annual Day Camp, and their audience were about 135 Scouts from kindergarten to high school.

“They’re powerful women,” leader Maggie McGaughey told a group of younger Scouts between sessions. “We’re going to be powerful women.”

Assembled by Barbara Cooley Thaw, troop service unit manager and day camp director, the question-and-answer session was an addition to week-long activities, including opportunities to earn badges. Family and friends were invited during the last day for skits, Gold Award announcements and a presentation by Pittsburgh Ultimate, a nonprofit that offers ultimate frisbee programming.

The panelists were Ruth Siegfried, CEO of InVision Services; Dr. Wendy Pardee, CEO and president of the Children’s Institute; Bethany Wagner, senior associate athletic trainer for the University of Pittsburgh; Patricia Burkart, CEO of Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania; Cheryl Tracy, executive director of the National Aviary; Marya Kaminski, artistic director of the Pittsburgh Public Theater; and Sarah Aziz, director of the Three Rivers Arts Festival and First Night, and a Sewickley resident.

Aziz said she was thrilled to be able to talk to the Scouts.

“They are such amazing, smart girls,” she said. “I always love a chance to help young females reach their full potential.”

Burkhart told the Scouts that when she was preparing to go to college, she was told that girls go to school for four years, and then get married.

“Don’t believe everything you hear,” she said.

Many of the panelists, including Siegfried, said that while they may not have ended up in the career they thought they would as kids, their passions shaped their path.

“Follow things you find the most interested. The more excited you are about stuff you do will lead you to the work you do,” Siegfried said. “I think that defines a leader — being excited enough about what you do that people want to follow you.”