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Girl Scouts to honor five as “Women of Distinction”

Special to Rankin Ledger
Rankin Ledger
Five women of courage, confidence and character will be celebrated when the Girl Scout Council of Middle Mississippi on Oct. 18 hosts its third annual Women of Distinction induction ceremony.
The metro-area residents being honored include:

  • Liza Cirlot Looser of Rankin County, founder and CEO of The Cirlot Agency, a marketing, public relations and corporate communications firm with headquarters in Jackson.
  • Toni Cooley of Jackson, president of Systems Electro Coating of Madison, a major supplier to the Nissan automotive plant in Canton.
  • Tyler Lott Armstrong of Brandon, chief operating officer of the MetroJackson Chamber of Commerce.
  • Hope Bynum of Madison, a veteran community volunteer.
  • Libby Aydelott of Clinton, also a veteran community volunteer.

The 2007 laureates will be saluted for their contributions during Women of Distinction, to be held at the Country Club of Jackson.
A fundraiser for the council, Women of Distinction helps support dozens of programs impacting more than 9,000 girls in 20 central and southwestern Mississippi counties.
“Girl Scouts provides girls ages 5-17 with a value-based education which is needed to grow into healthy adolescents and adults,” said Jean Lee of Jackson, chairman of the council’s board of directors and owner of Mississippi Products.
The festive evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with a silent auction and reception, followed by a dinner and awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m.
Previous laureates have included Maggie Wade, Gail Pittman, Rica Lewis-Payton, Elee Reeves, Kathy Johnson and Margo Hemphill.
“This prestigious award is given to our laureates for both their personal and professional achievements, the impact each has made within her community, and the role modeling provided for girls within our state,” said Tina Crump of Brandon, who serves as chief executive officer of the Girl Scout Council of Middle Mississippi.
“These women exemplify the values inherent in the Girl Scout program: self-reliance, high standards of personal conduct, and a commitment to make the world a better place by using their skills and talents.”
Individual tickets to Women of Distinction are $125, but corporate sponsorships also are available. Event sponsors include AT&T and Trustmark National Bank, Gold Level; Entergy Mississippi and The Clarion-Ledger and its non-daily publications, Silver Level; and BCI Inc., Bronze Level. Service Printers Inc. is print and design sponsor.
Community service is key to both Rankin County women who will be honored this year.
Armstrong, the daughter of U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, is active in the Junior League of Jackson, the Symphony Ball, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Kappa Delta Alumnae Association.
Past volunteer involvement includes the United Way of the Capital Area, University Medical Center Candlelighters, the Parenting Place/Exchange Club Parent Child Center and the Mississippi Society for Disabilities.
“The Girl Scouts build a sense of self-respect in young ladies, as well as trains them to respect others and serve their communities,” said Armstrong, who with husband Matthew has two daughters. “It is dedicated to eliminating all barriers so they can achieve their full potential. The Girl Scout organization strives to teach strong values and leadership skills that all girls need in today’s society.”
Looser also is devoted to serving her community.
She led the agency’s creation of a public service campaign, “Mississippi, Believe It,” that was a gift to the state.
She made history by serving as the first female chairman of the board of the Metro Jackson Chamber of Commerce and was honored with the Mississippi Business Journal’s 1995 Top 40 Under 40 and the 1998 Top 50 Outstanding Women.
She and husband Rick are parents of a son and daughter.
“Girl Scouts served as an important part of my growth and development as a young girl,” said Looser, who fondly remembers “cooking with Bunsen burners, singing campfire songs, volunteering for community service and weaving multi-colored lanyards during arts and crafts.
“Looking back, Girl Scouts actually helped young women learn how to become self sufficient and to understand the value of working together as a team at a young age – even before the women’s liberation movement,” she said.