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The 2022 Take the Lead Honorees. Graphic Courtesy of GSEP.
The 2022 Take the Lead Honorees. Graphic Courtesy of GSEP.

Four esteemed women leaders to be honored with Take the Lead Greater Philadelphia Award

The Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania’s award is given annually to women who exemplify courage, confidence and character and serve as role models to young…

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The recipients of the 2022 Take the Lead Greater Philadelphia award have been announced, and four prominent women leaders have been selected.

Created by Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (GSEP), Take the Lead is an initiative that allows high school-aged Girl Scouts to pair with inspiring women leaders from Greater Philadelphia and shadow them for a day to gain valuable insight into their careers and receive guidance to jumpstart their professional networks. 

Each year, GSEP tasks a committee of past Take the Lead honorees to select the following year’s honorees. The honorees are women who help our communities in a variety of ways and go above and beyond in their contributions personally and professionally to serve as exemplary role models for girls. 

The 2022 Take the Lead Greater Philadelphia Honorees are:

  • Dr. Antonia Villarruel, Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Dr. Villarruel has been working to reduce health disparities in the Hispanic community for over 30 years. She is the only Latina nursing dean at an Ivy League school and the first Dean at the University of Pennsylvania who has prior and current NIH funding. Dr. Villarruel co-leads one of 10 new research teams from across the country that received NIH grants totaling $14 million to extend the reach of the NIH’s Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities. She also developed Cuídate, a program aimed to promote abstinence and safer sex for Latino teens and also co-leads one of 10 new research terms from across.  

  • Leslie Richards, CEO and General Manager of SEPTA

As an increasing number of people experiencing homelessness, addiction and mental health issues seeked refuge on SEPTA’s vehicles and stations during the COVID-19 pandemic, Richards led a innovative partnership between SEPTA and social service nonprofit, Merakey, to pair substance abuse and mental health professionals with transit police officers to extend treatment and community-based resources to those in need. Richards and her team supported the shifting transportation needs of the community. 

  • Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN)

Fulmore-Townsend has dedicated her career to preparing young people in the City of Philadelphia for productive lives in the workforce. She bridges services across complex systems to unite energy and common goals to motivate young people and assist them through the transition from childhood to adulthood. During Summer 2020, she led her team to quickly pivot the WorkReady program to primarily remote experiences after Mayor Kenney’s stay-at-home order. 

  • Julie Alleman, CEO of Children and Adult Disability and Education Services (CADES)

Alleman has guided a complex organization through a historic and tumultuous time with relentless positive energy. She spends each moment thinking of ways to improve the lives of the organization and its people, from figuring out operations during a pandemic to chatting with a direct support professional on their shift to see how they’re coping.

“Our 2022 Take the Lead honorees have changed the world for the better, and we are all indebted to them for their service and leadership through the pandemic,” said Kim E. Fraites-Dow, Chief Executive Officer of GSEP in the announcement.

“These inspiring women serve as a guiding light for what is possible in the face of adversity, and are tremendous role models for our girls,” she added.

The Take the Lead event helps raise critical funds for Girl Scouting in Eastern Pennsylvania, which is more important than ever before, as the effects of the pandemic remain prevalent.

The Take the Lead Greater Philadelphia honorees will be celebrated at a ceremony on Thursday, March 10, 2022, at the Crystal Tea Room. For more information, click here

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