TAMPA – Three outstanding women from Carrollwood and South Tampa will be among five recognized for work in the community by the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida.
They will be honored at the 13th annual Women of Distinction luncheon on March 18. The event is open to the public and raises funds for 21,000 girls in the program.
* Dotti Groover-Skipper of Carrollwood, who founded a local faith-based ministry, HeartDance Foundation, dedicated to the restoration of individuals recovering from addiction and sex trade, and leads both the Tampa Bay ABOLISH Movement and the Sex Trafficking Collaborative of Tampa to help eradicate human trafficking.
She is vice chair for the Hillsborough County Commission on the Status of Women, serves on the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice strategic and planning committees for the state’s Human Trafficking Initiative, serves on the board of directors for the Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance, and assists her son’s high school (Chamberlain) as the vice chair of its student advisory committee.
“I am honored, humbled and very proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the women being recognized,” Groover-Skipper said.
She said, “The ABOLISH movement is raising the issue of human trafficking to new heights.
* Molly Crews of South Tampa, who has been involved in community volunteerism in the Tampa Bay area for the past 30 years. She is serving her sixth year as president of the Tampa Bay National Day of Prayer Council Inc. and has worked for the past 10 years with the Friends of Joshua House Foundation to host its annual Child Abuse Awareness Luncheon. She also serves as a member of the Speakers Bureau for Human Trafficking and the Sex Trafficking Collaborative and is the former chair of the board for LifePath Hospice Inc., as well as past president of both the Athena Society and the Network of Executive Women.
“I’ve always had a passion for child abuse awareness,” Crews said, adding it was “heart-breaking” that so many people think sex-trafficking is “not their problem or at that it doesn’t happen right here in the neighborhood.”
Crews was a Girl Scout growing up and she said that through the program she “learned leadership and project management skills long before we put a name on it.”
Before exiting the full-time workforce, Molly served as vice president and general manager of Infor EnRoute Public Safety and Geac Publishing Systems, providers of large systems computer software
* Heather Barrow of South Tampa, who has been named the 2014 Woman of Promise, a recognition given to a deserving woman under the age of 35.
She serves as the founder and executive director of High Risk Hope, a nonprofit that provides support, encouragement, information and resources to women and families who are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy. The nonprofit, through volunteers, reaches more than 1,200 patients annually at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital and, soon, to Tampa General Hospital as well.
She said she founded the organization after being admitted to the hospital at 24 weeks pregnant and confined to bed to keep from early delivery of her son, who is now almost 5 years old.
“We got tremendous support from family and friends but many women don’t have that support system or even visitors,” she said.
The volunteers deliver bed rest baskets and visit with patients, “and we have had such positive feedback from the medical community,” she said.
Her daughter, age 7, is a Daisy Scout and she said the Girl Scout program “reinforces the message of giving.”
A certified public accountant with several years of experience at Ernst & Young LLP, Barrow also has 10 years of nonprofit experience through various positions held within The Junior League of Tampa, where she has served on its board of directors and executive committee as the League’s treasurer and vice president of finance.
Two other Women of Distinction, Leslie Waters and Nancy Ridenour, are from Pinellas County.