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Girl Scouts Honor Jacksonville 'role models' for girls

Six of Jacksonville's most accomplished women were honored Wednesday at the 25th annual Women of Distinction Awards hosted by the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council.

Nearly 600 people attended the event to recognize the women's professional and civic accomplishments and contributions, according to a news release. 

"Girl Scouts of Gateway Council is thrilled to honor the Women of Distinction who exemplify the values of Girl Scouts and are role models for girls," said Mary Anne Jacobs, the council's chief executive officer. "For 25 years, we've recognized women in the area who set the pace and clear the path for tomorrow's female leaders."

The 2014 honorees are:

• Pamela Chally, dean of the Brooks College of Health at the University of North Florida. Chally has a long record of community service, holding leadership positions with Brooks Health Care System, Sulzbacher Center, WJCT Public Radio, Ronald McDonald House and Haven Hospice, among others;
• Jennifer Chapman, director of public affairs for Fidelity Investments, community advocate, entrepreneur and winner of the 2012 Jacksonville StartUp Weekend;
• Marsha Oliver, chief officer of public relations and marketing for Duval County Public Schools, certified community coach and member of Eartha M.M. White Legacy Board, Volunteers in Medicine Board of Directors, and Jack & Jill of America Inc., among others;
• Allison Korman Shelton, vice president of marketing and community relations for Stellar, who has held leadership positions with several community organizations including the Jewish Community Alliance, Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida, Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and Community Connections, among others;
• Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, foreign policy expert, author, and president and CEO of Soderberg Global Solutions. Under President Bill Clinton, Soderberg represented the United States at the United Nation's Security Council.
• Carmen Townsend, mother of the late JT Townsend, who works with the JT Townsend Foundation to help families who have a loved one with a spinal cord injury.

The award winners personify the Girl Scout's core values of honesty, fairness, caring, responsibility, service to others and community, inclusiveness, respect and sisterhood, according to the release.

They are selected by event volunteers, council staff and a representative of the council's board of directors. Proceeds from the event support the Girl Scout leadership program for area girls.

The Jacksonville-based Gateway Council serves about 18,800 girls and adults in Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Levy, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee and Union counties, according to the council website. For more information, go to