Girl Scouts of Western New York has announced a guest speaker panel of all-female Olympians for its annual leadership event. Iris Zimmermann, Anja Pierce, Meghan Musnicki and Miranda Melville are slated to highlight the leadership luncheon on Friday, April 7, at the Hyatt Regency Rochester Hotel. The event begins at noon.
The four Olympians will serve as panelist keynotes for the theme "Empower a Girl - Change the World," and will discuss what it takes to win a gold medal on the world's largest competitive sports stage - and in life.
"It is with great excitement and honor that we welcome this esteemed panel of female keynote speakers who have achieved the highest plateau in sports by competing in the Olympics and winning," said Judy Cranston, CEO of Girl Scouts of Western New York." "Girls and other guests will be amazed by the remarkable achievements of these incredible Olympians, and I invite the entire community to join us for what will be a memorable event."
This distinguished panel of speakers will leave attendees empowered and ready to take on the world. This discussion and display of accomplished athletes is central to the Girl Scout mission; it will not only show adults how to be their best, but it will also model the way for girls and illustrate the type of leaders that they can grow to become with hard work and dedication.
Zimmermann, of Rush, earned the distinction of being the first U.S. fencer, man or woman, to win a World Championship in any weapon or age category in 1995 at the age of 14. She went on to win the Cadet World Championship again in 1997; was the Junior World Champion, a bronze medalist at the Senior Worlds in 1999, and a member of the U.S. foil team for the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia
Pierce, of Pittsford, switched from gymnastics to adaptive skiing after she lost her right leg to bone cancer at the age of 12. She competed for the German National Adaptive Skiing team until she immigrated to the U.S. - after being told that she could not pursue her dream career as an amputee in her home country. After competing for four years on the U.S. National Paracanoe team all throughout Europe, she succeeded in her quest to win gold as a Paracanoe sprinter at the ICF World Championships in Milan, Italy, in 2015.
Musnicki, of Naples, earned the title of World Champion from 2010-11 and 2013-15 in the "Women's Eight" category. She also earned gold in the Summer Olympics in 2012 in London and 2016 in Rio on her team in the "Women's Eight." She has been a member of the U.S. Rowing National Team since 2010.
Melville, also of Rush, holds the American record in the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter indoor race walk, along with 11 national championship titles. She is currently the second-fastest American ever with a time of 1:31:42 at the Asian Championships in Japan in March. She was the top American finisher in Rome, Italy, in May at the IAAF World Team Championships of Race Walking. She has represented the U.S. on 11 international teams, including the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, and World Games in Beijing, China.
The leadership luncheon serves as a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts of Western New York. Sponsorships and ticket sales from the luncheon allow the council to ensure every girl in the community who wants to be a Girl Scout is given the opportunity, regardless of her financial situation.
Organizations or individuals interested in attending or sponsorship can register at gswny.org. The deadline to purchase tickets is March 24.
Girl Scouts of Western New York serves nearly 15,000 girls and 7,000 adult volunteers across the GSWNY jurisdiction, including Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The council's administrative service centers are located in Batavia, Buffalo, Jamestown, Lockport, Niagara Falls and Rochester.