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NEW YORK — Lord & Taylor president and chief executive Jane Elfers was honored as a “woman of distinction” Thursday at the Marriott Marquee, at a breakfast drawing 560 people and raising $190,000 for The Girl Scouts.
Elfers, a former scout, said the fund-raising doesn’t stop at the breakfast. “We’ve arranged to sell cookies at the flagship,” she said. It’s an activity close to her heart. As a youngster, “learning to sell all those cookies was just the experience I needed because [selling] is just what I do today.”
Another former girl scout, Joan Hamburg, a WOR radio host, was also honored. However, as a girl scout, she wasn’t quite as entrepreneurial as Elfers. “My cookie experience was dismal,” Hamburg said. “I ate them.”
As a joke, one executive suggested L&T put Girl Scouts in its Fifth Avenue windows to drum up cookie sales. That wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for L&T considering the offbeat displays recently at the store, like parking vintage Corvettes in the windows to hype Father’s Day. But as of last week, the store commitment went as far as setting up the scouts with some prime space on the main floor.
Five other women leaders were honored at the 10th annual “Women of Distinction” breakfast by The Girl Scout Council of Greater New York. They were Kerry J. Kelly, MD, chief medical officer, New York Fire Department; Katherine N. Lapp, executive director and chief operating officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Claire P. McGrath, senior vice president and deputy general counsel for the American Stock Exchange; Marie J. Toulantis, president and ceo of barnesandnoble.com, and Gerri Warren-Merrick, vice president of community relations at AOL Time Warner. Deborah Norville, anchor of Inside Edition and a council board member, was mistress of ceremonies.?Andrea Wong was honored as the 2002 Girl Scout Future Woman of Distinction, and Roberta Flack sang “God Bless America.”
The Girl Scouts was founded 90 years ago by Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Ga.
This story first appeared in the October 30, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.