June 7, 2016, Ambler, Pa.--Women helping women—that’s the idea behind the Annual Karen A. Stout Leading Women Symposium and Golf Experience, a marquee fundraising event for the Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Foundation.
More than 140 female role models came out to support scholarships and programming for MCCC’s female students at the 12th annual event, named in honor of MCCC President Emerita Dr. Karen A. Stout, on June 6 at Talamore Country Club in Ambler. Monday's event raised more than $25,000.
“Since the Leading Women Symposium and Golf Experience started, we have raised more than $300,000!” shared Dolores Lare, chair of the Foundation Board of Directors. “In 2015, the event provided $14,000 for seven KEYS Scholarship recipients and $23,000 for 15 Leading Women Scholarship recipients.”
Dolores Lare, Chair of the Montgomery County Community College Foundation Board of Directors.
Two of those recipients—Beth Holleger and Tamara Ali—were invited to share their stories during the brunch symposium portion of the event.
Holleger, who graduated from MCCC in 2014 and is entering her senior year at East Stroudsburg University, shared the impact scholarships had on her education.
“It was so incredibly humbling and inspiring to know that people I had never even met were investing in me,” shared the early childhood education major. “When you invest in scholarships, you invest in people. You enrich their lives by giving them a chance at a quality education, and this, in turn, enriches the community.”
2014 Montgomery County Community College graduate Beth Holleger.
Ali, who is a KEYS Scholarship recipient, graduated in May 2016 with an associate’s degree in human services.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for women such as yourselves,” she told the attendees. “At the very end of my program, my financial aid ran out. If it wasn’t for the Leading Women Scholarship funds, I would still be struggling to pay for my education. The scholarship allowed me to pay for my education, eliminate stress, bury the burden of unpaid tuition and focus on completing my goals!”
2016 Montgomery County Community College graduate Tamara Ali.
Leading Women arose from conversations between Dr. Stout and Deb Takes, who, with a dynamic group of female leaders affectionately referred to as the “founding mothers,” started a Woman-Owned Business Network and a course, “Starting a Successful Woman-Owned Business,” to support female entrepreneurs.
The motivation behind the golf portion of the event is the need to break down gender barriers that may exist for women in business. As such, Leading Women is not your typical golf fundraiser. Because business deals and networking often occur on the golf course, the event has a unique learner portion, during which participants learn the fundamentals of the game. As learners get taught how to chip, putt and drive, foursomes of more experienced golfers—many of whom started as learners—play in a scramble format.
Learners at the 2016 Leading Women Symposium and Gold Experience on June 6.
Dr. Stout, who now serves as president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, a national student success reform network, delivered a keynote address that focused on ways in which organizations and individuals can move out of their comfort zones and move into learning zones.
“As philanthropists, we need to think not in terms of empowering female students, but in how we can break down barriers that prevent them from succeeding,” she said. “We need to unlock the transformative power of education for those who need it most and can contribute back in meaningful ways in their community.”
Dr. Karen A. Stout, President Emerita of Montgomery County Community College and President and CEO of Achieving the Dream.
The organizing committee for 2016 Leading Women Golf Symposium was led by two MCCC alumna and Alumni Hall of Fame inductees, Cindi Diccianni and Pat Nunan, both of whom are business owners.
Leading Women Symposium and Golf Experience Committee members.
This year’s event was made possible by the following sponsors: ADT, Baker Tilly, Diccianni Financial Group, Fox Rothschild, Alma Jacobs, Ambler Savings Bank, Apollo Granite & Marble, Chartwell Law Offices, State Representative Madeleine Dean, Nance Dicciani, Saul Ewing, Joe and Kathy Gallagher, State Representative Kate Harper, J.O.B. Design & Construction, Keiffer’s Appliances, Lakeview Dental, Lifestyles Design, Motz Wealth Management, Universal Credit Services, Wilmington Trust and UNIVEST-Banking, Insurance, Investments.
In-kind sponsors included 4 Seasons Tanning, Act II Playhouse, Alma Jacobs, Ambler Theater, Blue Bell Country Club, Body Serene Day Spa, Center Square Golf Club, Cindy Diccianni, Comcast, Costco Wholesale, Crown Plaza Philadelphia West, The Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College, Dolores Lare, Fireman’s Hall Museum, Gallagher Fluid Seals, Inc., Gerhard’s Appliances, Glasses by Amanda, GolfSmith, HCAM, Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing, Maureen Thompson, Motivs Cosmetics, Norristown Bell Credit Union, A&C Kitchens, Nu Waves Salon, Pat Nunan, Penn Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Pinecrest Country Club, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Sovereign Security, Stark & Stark, Target, Tattoo Alley, TransAmerica Life, Uncorked Artist and the Leading Women Committee.
- by Alana J. Mauger and Diane VanDyke; photos by Sandi Yanisko