Scouts announce 2009 Women of Distinction

The Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore kicked off the holiday season by unveiling the five Women of Distinction honorees Dec. 2 at Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood.

The honorees, all examples of women making a difference in their communities, are Sylvia Allen, Kathleen Ellis, Maj. Wendy Galloway, Sister Rosemary Jeffries and Gina Petillo.

“I applaud and certainly support the influence Girl Scouts has had on hundreds of thousands of young women,” said Jeffries, the president of Georgian Court University, Lakewood.

“The Sisters of Mercy, who sponsor Georgian Court, certainly have a long history of special concern for women, providing education and programs that help to form young women with sets of values. We have lots in common, therefore, with the Girl Scouts and I consider this a wonderful recognition of that legacy,” she said.

Jeffries became the eighth president of Georgian Court in 2001, where she has spearheaded the largest fundraising effort in the university’s history, the Campaign for Georgian Court, which raised $17.2 million and helped to guarantee continued excellence in women’s education, including a strong women’s leadership component.

Allen, of Holmdel, is the president and founder of Sylvia’s Children, the Mbirizi advanced primary school, located in an African village in Masaka, Uganda.

Since 2003, the nonprofit organization has been helping to feed, clothe, house and educate the orphaned children, while providing the support to make needed improvements to the school for the education of all the children orphaned as a result of losing their family members to the AIDS pandemic.

Allen is also the founder of Allen Consulting, a full-service marketing communications company.

Ellis, a Belmar resident, is the chief operating officer of New Jersey Natural Gas Co. She serves as a member of the New Jersey State Board of Social Work Examiners and is on the board of directors for 180 Turning Lives Around, Pam’s List-New Jersey and the New Jersey Conference of Mayors Educational Foundation.

Galloway, of Plumsted Township, currently assigned as the commanding officer for community affairs, has been an enlisted member of the Division of State Police since July 1982. She has served as adjunct instructor for Seton Hall University and Monmouth University.

She is a board member for New Jersey Women in Law Enforcement and the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore; vice president of membership for the Central New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts of America; and is an advisory board member to the New York and New Jersey Asian American Law Enforcement Advisory Committee.

Petillo, of Colts Neck, is known as a “volunteer extraordinaire.” In 2006 she was honored by the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties as Humanitarian of the Year. Her current affiliations include: YMCA Bayshore Youth and Family Services Committee; Monmouth County Association for Retarded Citizens Winter Glow Ball committee; board of trustees, Jersey Shore University Medical Center; and Parker Family Health Center board.

The women will be celebrated on April 7 at Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune. Tickets and sponsorships are available by calling Karen Palamara at 732-349- 4499, ext. 223, or by send an e-mail to