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W.Va. Girl Scouts honor Women of Distinction

September 18, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Secretary of State Betty Ireland was in town Wednesday, giving a no-nonsense update on woman power.

Ireland is the first woman elected to West Virginia's executive branch of government and once oversaw a major state law firm.

Despite her achievements, Ireland told about 250 people at a local Girl Scouts awards banquet that there are still places she cannot go or does not feel comfortable going.

At the same time, she gave the women in attendance a bit of a pep talk, and spoke about their never-ending "to-do list" and their multiple roles at home and in business.

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"Don't talk to us about leadership and multi-tasking. We invented it," Ireland said boldly.

Ireland was the featured speaker at the annual Women of Distinction awards ceremony hosted by the local Girl Scouts of Shawnee Council.

The ceremony at the Holiday Inn on Foxcroft Avenue honors local women who have made impressive strides in their careers.

The three women honored were Carla Hunter, dean of counseling and pupil service at Jefferson High School; Teresa McCabe, vice president of marketing and development for West Virginia University Hospitals-East in Martinsburg; and Beth Peters Curtin, executive director of the Berkeley Springs-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.

Sponsors of the event paid $375 to $3,000 per table while other individuals paid $40 per plate, all of which raised funds for the local Girl Scouts council.

Ireland said some women are still not on an equal playing field with men in terms of pay and benefits. And, yet,, Ireland said, business can greatly benefit from the unique perspective of a woman and said the world is much better when "Mars and Venus" work together.

Robert F. Barroner Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Bank of Charles Town, agreed that having women in the business mix is important.

Barroner reflected on the tumultuous times facing the nation's investment banking world and said a lot of the problems can be attributed to lack of diversity in the operations.

"Diversity is good. It keeps us grounded," said Barroner, whose bank has had three past Women of Distinction honorees on its board of directors.

Hunter, who also is executive director of the Shepherdstown Youth Center, is attentive to the next generation and tutors girls, said Mary Clare Eros, who introduced Hunter. Hunter also wrote the first high school counseling manual for Jefferson County Schools.

Maria Lorensen, who introduced McCabe, said local resident Jerry Mays once told her that about 75 people in any given community do most of an area's public service. "At the top of that list is Teresa McCabe," said Lorensen. McCabe is on a variety of local clubs and boards and is known for her "selfless" approach.

Curtin was described as a independent woman and yet an "old-fashioned" one, who loves her husband and her town. Curtin is a founding member of the Museum of Berkeley Springs.

The Shawnee Council of the Girl Scouts, based in Martinsburg, serves 5,000 girls between the ages of 5 and 17 in West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia.

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