Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York announces 2007 Women of Distinction honorees

LAKE PLACID Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York has announced the four women to be honored at their councils northern region Women of Distinction event. The women were selected based upon their significant contributions to the community, their impact on the lives of those around them, and their example for women of all ages. New York State Senator Elizabeth Little will host this years dinner event on Nov. 2 at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Lake Placid. Our Women of Distinction honorees exemplify leadership, are role models, and practice the values of Girl Scouting. said Jennifer Gilston, GSNENY Board Chair. These successful women have made outstanding contributions, and we encourage the community to join us in celebrating their accomplishments. Nominations for this years northern region event, themed Defy the Ordinary: Women of Distinction, were accepted from Clinton, Franklin, Essex and Northern Hamilton Counties. The 2007 Women of Distinction honorees include: Distinguished Trailblazer: Gail Rogers Rice, Ph.D. (Saranac Lake) is President of North Country Community College. She has actively served the higher education needs of the North Country for nearly 40 years as faculty member, Dean of Academic & Student Affairs and, since 1992, President. Throughout her career, Rice has earned respect for her longstanding commitment to students and exceptional knowledge of economics and history. When beginning her career in the 1960s, Rice overcame numerous obstacles to pioneer female leadership within the academic community. Today, she is one of the most senior presidents in the State University of New York. She is also a leader in numerous local- and state-wide issues, serving on the Harrietstown Board of Supervisors and participating in the New York State Blue Line Commission and several other groups focused on economic development in rural New York. Distinguished Community Leader: Chandler Ralph (Saranac Lake) is President and CEO of Adirondack Medical Center. A leader in bio-medical engineering and healthcare administration, Ralph has successfully developed the Adirondack Medical Center into a thriving entity of two hospital sites, two nursing homes and four primary care outreach clinics. She is a Fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Healthcare Association of New York State and a member of the Regional Policy Board for the American Hospital Association. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Ralph has long been committed to her community. She serves as Board Member and Chair for the St. Josephs Rehabilitation Center in Saranac Lake, as Board Member and Past President of the Saranac Lake Rotary and as Board Member for the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation. On the international level, Ralph is the Founder and Board Chair of the Helena Ptochia Foundation, which was created to fund the building of a hospital in Ghana specializing in treating young women with fistulas, as well as the ongoing Helena Ptochia Campaign, which assists women worldwide who have been abandoned or ostracized due to fistula. Distinguished Junior Trailblazer: Victoria Zinser Johnson (Plattsburgh) is Vice President of The Development Corporation and is a recognized leader in area economic development. Johnson is an AICP certified planner and teaches in the geography department as an adjunct lecturer at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. She is also a candidate for the selective designation of Certified Economic Developer. Previously, Johnson served as Executive Director of Friends of the North Country, Inc., a non-profit community development group based in Keeseville, NY. Johnson holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Conservation from the University of New Hampshire and a graduate degree from the University at Albany in Urban and Regional Planning. A Clinton County native, Johnson serves on the Board of Directors of Behavioral Health Service Network and the City of Plattsburgh Planning Board, where she has advocated conscientious development and environmental awareness. She is also committed to the Peru Community Church's Jamaican humanitarian mission and hYPe, an organization of young professionals in the Plattsburgh community. Distinguished Leader of Tomorrow: Sophie Clarke (Willsboro) is the daughter of Thurston and Antonia Clarke. An 18 year-old currently studying at Middlebury College in Vermont, Clarke has made her mark in communities at home and abroad. Her commitment to service and exploration has taken her to France, Italy, Thailand and, most recently, Africa. After graduating from high school early this January, Clarke enlisted with Global Routes, an organization that places students within international communities to explore the cultures and offer needed services. Clarke lived in western Kenyan village Chabuli, where she taught math, biology and French to students ranging from 15 to 23 years old. She also coordinated AIDS awareness programs, community clean-ups, voter registration and the formation of a water committee in the town, which had no electricity or running water. While attending Willsboro Central School, Clarke was named Valedictorian of her 2007 class and participated in National Honor Society, Drama Club. She was named MVAC Most Valuable Player in soccer in Fall 2006 and is a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient. The Women of Distinction event serves as a fundraiser for Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York. Proceeds support girl programs, volunteer recruitment and training. Tickets for the Women of Distinction dinner are $50 and may be reserved by contacting the Girl Scouts at (518) 891-2506.

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