Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College President Dottie L. King, Ph.D., spoke these words on Tuesday to an audience of 900 people in the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis during her acceptance speech for the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana’s confidence leadership award.
King was recognized at the organization’s annual Lieutenant Governor’s Leadership Luncheon sponsored by Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch.
During her speech, King shared her childhood experiences as a Girl Scout and emphasized the importance of girls’ empowerment, which is central to the mission of the Girl Scouts. Teachers and mentors had a profound impact in her development, she said.
“Receiving this recognition has caused me to reflect on my own childhood, my school experiences and to think about the development of my confidence,” King said. “I’m a first generation college student and I came from a working class home. My family encouraged me to work hard and do well in school.”
While she recalled being confident in her abilities to achieve and succeed even at a young age, she admitted being shy around new people and new situations.
King said: “And in the Girl Scouts, I was exposed to innovative ideas. … In the Girl Scouts, I was given the opportunity to work with other girls my age; we worked together toward common goals. And probably most important to my development, I was encouraged to push myself out of my comfort zone.”
“We must actively provide a safe space for girls to try new things, to work together with other girls, to lead, and feel comfortable failing. We must also recognize the importance of our words. The effect of our words may be profound in the development of confidence in the lives of girls,” King said.
Two other women leaders were presented with awards at the event. Lisa Harris, chief executive officer of Eskenazi Health, was recognized for her character and Carolene Mays-Medley, executive director of White River State Park Development Commission, received the courage award.
King, the 16th president of SMWC, was presented with a pin with the letters CCC for courage, confidence and character. Yvonne Perkins, former vice president corporate communication and chief diversity officer of Citizens Energy Group, was recognized posthumously.
To find out more about King, visit her Presidential Biography.