Four Local Women Receive Prestigious Award from Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore

Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore honored Nina Anuario, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Teri O'Connor and Carol Stillwell with its prestigious Women of Distinction Award.

Neptune, NJ, April 21, 2011 --( The Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore raised more than $73 thousand dollars while honoring the remarkable personal and professional achievements of four outstanding women on April 14th at its 24th annual Women of Distinction Dinner.

During the event, the Girl Scout council, which serves more than 15,000 girls and 6,000 adult volunteers in Monmouth and Ocean counties, recognized the achievements of Nina Anuario, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, Teri O’Connor and Carol Stillwell.

“We need to make our values and examples brighter and louder than the peer pressure that bombards our children daily,” said Anuario, senior vice president of Business Development at OceanFirst Bank. “When the fork in the road comes, which it did for all of us, they’ll know the right choice because they can hear us. Somewhere in their subconscious they will always hear us.”

Stillwell spoke of the choices she faced when graduating high school. Her family had no money to pay for college and she wanted to pursue a career in engineering and construction. She expressed gratitude in her mother’s powerful impact on shaping the woman she is today.

“If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to believe in you,” her mother declared. “There isn’t anything you cannot achieve if you put your mind, body and soul into your dream.”

Today, Stillwell is owner, president and CEO of Stillwell-Hansen, Inc. one of New Jersey’s leading engineering firms. “I often wonder if my mother was a Girl Scout, because she certainly embraced the mission, instilling in me courage, confidence and character,” she said. “My mother always reminded me that we had a responsibility to give back and make the world a better place.”

Each of the remaining honorees spoke of their achievements as women in fields typically associated with men. Monmouth County administrator, Teri O’Connor told of her rise from a new college graduate to the person responsible for more than 3,000 employees and a half-billion dollar budget. Lt. Gov. Guadagno spoke of her career as a prosecutor, Monmouth County’s first female sheriff and the state’s first lieutenant governor of any gender.

Lt. Gov. Guadagno also shared advice with the young girls in the room. “Get the best education you can in every possible way that you can,” she said. “Education gives you confidence and provides opportunities to enter a variety of different professional fields. Make sure you stand up and take that opportunity.”

Sharing the feelings of all the honorees, O’Connor expressed what she felt the evening was about. “I hope that my story will inspire other young women to follow their dreams and work hard to attain their goals,” she said. “Each person I meet and every experience I have are like pearls that form a necklace whose luster grows with time. I am proud the Girl Scouts are part of that necklace.”

The Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore began honoring outstanding female role models and leaders from Monmouth and Ocean counties in 1987. Since then, more than 95 women have been recognized for their accomplishments.

For more information about how the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore helps girls become strong, confident women, call (800) 785-2090 or email

For quotes, bios or photos from the event, please contact Danielle Bagdzinski, public relations manager, at (732) 349-4499, ext. 240 or

Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore
Danielle Bagdzinski
(732) 349-4499