Girl Scouts have many opportunities to serve their communities and learn to be stronger leaders. Our staff is no exception to that advice.
Adia Walker, one of GSHPA’s Regional Directors, is a part of Leadership Harrisburg Area this year and has taken some time to share in her words about her experience.
GSHPA: What gets you excited about your new group?
Adia: I really love connecting with these amazing leaders in the Harrisburg area who are passionate about serving their community. Collectively we have such diversity of experiences and insights that I know will help me grow professionally and personally.
GSHPA: How did you get involved?
Adia: I have heard about this Community Leadership Series for many years, and participated in other leadership programs in the area. This year I was at a place in my career where it was a good fit for both me and my organization to join this group and continue growing my leadership skills.
GSHPA: What are the goals for you and this group?
Adia: The mission of LHA’s Community Leadership Series is to teach servant leadership and effective community service through discussion, demonstration, and experiential practices.
They stress that leadership is a journey, not a destination, and my goal is to learn as much as I can throughout this journey, while also giving back to those who are on the journey with me.
GSHPA: What can GHSPA learn from your experiences?
Adia: We can learn more about how other organizations in the community give back as well as some ways we can work together to support each other while making the world a better place.
GSHPA: What are you looking forward to most about your work with this group?
Adia: I am really looking forward to working on my team project – a dozen of us will be working directly with a dynamic local leader to help her transform her nonprofit organization from a personal passion to a high-functioning organization with governing documents and a board of directors.
GSHPA: What advice do you have for girls who want to get involved with their communities?
Adia: Ask trusted adults and role models about organizations they recommend. Do some independent research and focus on groups whose mission you feel a connection with. Try new things and don’t let setbacks keep you down – you’ve got this!
Critical advice: We need to invest in girls, stay curious, and step out of our comfort zones
A PNC exec shares insight on career advice, the financial sector and support of Girl Scouts.
The following post is part of a new corporate sponsored series feature for the GSHPA Blog. The series will highlight local business and community leaders who understand the value and impact Girl Scouts can play in your community.
This month we are featuring Debbie Kolsovsky of Lackawanna County.
Kolsovsky is the executive vice president and regional managing director northeast region, Institutional Asset Management at PNC. She is also the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA.
GSHPA: PNC has been a great supporter of GSHPA and we thank you for that support. Tell us, why is it important for a company to invest in the growth and development of girls?
Kolsovsky: We should all care about investing in the growth and development of girls because they are our future leaders. Speaking from personal experience in the financial services industry, we know better outcomes are achieved for clients when we have diverse teams, and that means more women in leadership roles. To have more women in leadership roles, it’s critical to start investing in young girls and giving them the opportunities to take risks and succeed.
Speaking more generally, PNC is focused on helping our communities thrive. Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA is aligned with our philosophy. They work to invest in our future generations across all economic backgrounds to develop strong girls with leadership abilities, an investment that will pay dividends for the future of our community and our world.
GSHPA: We have 59 girls in the 2021 class that we are honoring this year who have achieved their Gold Award for our council. Many of them will be graduating this year from high school. What career and young-adult advice would you given them as they take this next step in their journey?
Kolsovsky: First, I would like to say congratulations to all the Gold Award winners on this significant accomplishment. My advice would be to enjoy the next part of your journey and fully embrace the next step, whether it’s entering the workforce or going to college. As you embark on your career, don’t be afraid to ask questions and take risks—that is how you learn and grow.
GSHPA: How did you choose your career path? What were some of your influencers/mentors along the way?
Kolsovsky: I was given an opportunity through one of PNC’s development programs, and that’s how I learned about finance. My job has remained interesting and engaging because I’ve stayed curious, I’ve asked questions and I’ve taken risks, and that has all led me to where I am today. A lot of opportunities and challenges have kept my role interesting as well.
I have had the privilege of working with several great people here at PNC who have been mentors to me throughout my career. Much of the advice that I give others now was given to me at one time by a mentor. The most valuable advice I’ve received was to step outside of my comfort zone, because that is how you learn something new and expand your professional experiences. The worst that could happen is that it won’t work out, and you will still have learned something.
GSHPA: You are very involved in both leadership growth and volunteer activities in Lackawanna County. Tell us about them and why is it important to being active in your community?
Kolsovsky: In addition to my work with Girl Scouts, I am involved with a higher education organization, a few healthcare organizations, and nonprofits that focus on economic development and community support. I find value in giving back in a variety of ways, and I learn from each organization I’m involved in.
Something that was said to me when I started at PNC has always stuck with me: we ask a lot from our communities — we live, work and do business here, so it’s only right that we also give back here. That is my philosophy and that is why it’s so important for me to stay involved in these organizations.
GSHPA: What advice would you give to someone interested in finance as a career?
Kolsovsky: You might be surprised how many different types of opportunities there are in the financial services industry. I’ve been with PNC for 31 years and I’ve held several different jobs over the course of my career. While numbers are a part of my work, banking is still very much a people business. At the end of the day, it’s about understanding what our clients need and coming to the table with innovative solutions that can help make their lives easier.
GSHPA: As the Vice Chair of GSHPA’s Board of Directors, is there anything else that you would like to add about your involvement in our organization?
Kolsovsky: I was never a Girl Scout, but through my work on the Girl Scouts board, my appreciation has only grown for the organization and its impact on our community. So many former Girl Scouts are still involved, which speaks to the positive impact this organization has had on their lives. GSHPA gives girls access to programming that opens their minds and expands their worldviews. They help girls develop the confidence to be leaders focused on making a positive difference in the world.
This Corporate Spotlight blog is proudly supported by PNC.
Chloe Wegrzynowicz: Girl Scouts creates spark in building confidence in self and in helping others
Taking the time to learn about some of GSHPA’s Alumni is probably, hands-down, one of the most favorite aspects of my work here in the marketing and communications department for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.
The day-to-day duties are also rewarding, but when I get a chance to learn more and be inspired by our members, especially those Girl Scouts that have taken action to the next level, it’s the perfect reboot that I need.
The story of Harrisburg native and recent high school graduate, Chloe Wegrzynowicz, is one such reboot. Here’s her story in the making. She speaks loudly for those who might need a voice. We are lucky to have her in our ranks.
GSHPA: Tell us a little about yourself: Where did you grow up? Siblings? Your current schooling and your career track.
CHLOE: I am from Central Pennsylvania, but was born in Harrisburg, PA. I have a younger sister and three half-brothers. I am especially close with my sister Haley. I am currently enrolled at Emory University (Go Eagles!). I will hopefully be double majoring in Spanish (BA) and Philosophy, Politics, and Law (BA PPL) or Spanish (BA) and Anthropology & Biology (BS). After Emory, I aspire to continue my education and become an immigration lawyer or oncologist. I’m a little unsure yet but I definitely want to use my life to learn more and help others.
GSHPA: What are some of your favorite memories regarding your Girl Scout experience?
CHLOE: Being a Girl Scout was one of my favorite things from high school. I made some of my best friends through Girl Scouts. Every fall we would go to a festival, which was especially memorable. My favorite memories are the ones in which I was with my sister scouts, which is just about all of my memories. But, I wouldn’t be where I am without their support and encouragement.
GSHPA: Has your experiences in Girl Scouting affected your leadership style/experience now. If so, can you explain?
CHLOE: Yes. Before I joined Girl Scouts I was incredibly shy. However, when I went to my first meeting everyone was kind and open to hearing what I had to say. Throughout the years, I learned to have a voice, which has helped me to be a better leader. Now, I have the confidence to be who I am, as I am, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
GSHPA: Tell us a bit about your Gold Award project.
CHLOE: I wanted to address bullying, and more specifically peer pressure as it relates to self-validity amongst high school students. There was a great deal of bullying, peer pressure, depression, and party-culture at my high school, and I wanted to do something to address that. Confidence was something I also really struggled with, especially as a Type One Diabetic I often felt very self-conscious. After two of my peers passed away, I decided to dedicate my project to helping students “Believe” in themselves. I painted a mural inspired by one of my favorite quotes by Dante Alighieri, “From a Little Spark May Burst a Flame”. I also filmed a documentary addressing how exactly those issues affected students from three different schools/backgrounds. Lastly, I gave a speech in front of my student body about my experiences with confidence and the path to learning to not only love others but to love yourself, too.
GSHPA: What are some ways you can recommend participating in the Girl Scouts as a volunteer?
CHLOE: There are so many ways to volunteer with Girl Scouts. I think the best way to volunteer is to go through the Girl Scouts webpage. Troops need help with field trips, cookie sales, and sometimes guest speakers for badges. It’s also nice to give advice to younger Girl Scouts who are looking to work for a Gold Award.
GSHPA: If you have any particular hobbies that you would like to share, we would love to hear about them!
I love creative writing. It is one of my favorite things to do.
I also exercise every day; I love lifting and yoga especially. My goal is to learn Titthibasana
I play the piano for fun and am currently teaching myself the Ukulele.
Have you ever heard of May Day? May Day is a public holiday usually celebrated on the first of May. It is an ancient festival of spring and a current traditional spring holiday in many European cultures. Do you enjoy dancing? Singing? How about eating sweets? Then you will love May Day traditions!
In the 19th and 20th centuries people would create May Day baskets to leave at their neighbor’s doorsteps. They were often handmade paper baskets or cones, filled with flowers and sweet treats. The idea was to go to the door of a neighbor, often where a child or significant other lived, leave the basket on the step, knock on the door and then run away yelling “May Basket!”.
Since May Day is all about the arrival of spring, there are lots of fun ways to celebrate! One such way is to dance and sing outside! Some people even dance around a maypole. A maypole is a tall pole, usually made of wood, that has long ribbons connected to it. Everyone grabs a ribbon and dances around the pole in a circle. After some time the ribbons are wound around the pole and create a beautiful wrap! Maypoles were a part of many European folk festivals, and they are still sometimes used in parts of Europe and the Americas today!
Here are more ways to celebrate May Day…
Light a bonfire. Always build fires with an adult present and remember your campfire safety tips!
Gather wildflowers and green branches and decorate your house. Traditionally this was called “Bringing in the May”. You can take beautiful blooms and green items from outside and spread them around your home. Consider putting them in jars or vases.
Make and dance around your own maypole. Get creative! If you don’t have the ability to make or use an actual pole, consider tying some ribbons to a bush instead.
Make a flower crown! Gather flowers with long stems and weave them together in a circle to create a crown.
Take off your shoes and go outside! This is called “grounding” and is a great way to connect with nature. Take a few deep breaths. Feel the sun on your skin and the wind in your hair. What do you hear? Birds? A barking dog down the street? Nothing?
Leave a May Basket for your neighbors, just like they did in the 19th and 20th centuries. Follow these directions to make a May Day Basket Cone
Now that you know more about May Day, consider celebrating every year. WELCOME SPRING!