Jennifer Filipowski is another one of those “Yanks” who came to North Carolina and decided to stay because felt she could really make a difference in Winston-Salem to a greater extent than in her hometown of Chicago. (The traffic and weather helped too.)
After 25 years of managing successful marketing events and programs for prestigious companies around the globe, Jennifer decided to shift her focus closer to home and spend more time with her 9 year old daughter “while she still wants me around.” Her time in the male-dominated corporate world made her passionate about women’s empowerment and self-esteem issues.
“Studies have shown that the height of girls’ ambitions peak at age 8 or 9, and I think that is tragic. I want every girl, especially my daughter, to understand that they have the power to be whatever they want to be,” says Filipowski. “I think a lot of the independence and confidence I have personally stems from the things I learned as a Girl Scout, so having my daughter in Girl Scouts is the one non-negotiable activity in our household.”
After taking over as leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, Jennifer quickly found herself involved to an even larger extent with the local Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont Council overseeing more than 50 troops in the Winston-Salem area. She also joined the Board of Directors last fall.
“I especially love the Girl Scout Cookie program because it gives girls hands-on marketing, communication, sales, budgeting, and math skills. And of course they’re so yummy!” (Girl Scouts happen to be out selling cookies now, BTW.)
But her dedication to women’s issues isn’t solely focused on girls. Jennifer is also on the board of the Professional Women of Winston-Salem, a group that organizes networking events and monthly luncheons with speakers on a wide range of topics of interest to female small business owners and industry leaders. Her role there is as chair of the scholarship program, which awards annual $1,000 scholarships to single working mothers in Forsyth County who are going back to school.
“All of the women we receive applications from are so inspiring,” said Filipowski. “By going back to school they are not only trying to improve their own lives. They understand they are setting an example about the importance of education and perseverance for their children.”
When she isn’t dedicating her time and experience to these local organizations or volunteering at her daughter’s school, you’ll either find her on the golf course, at home cooking or quilting, or on a plane. An avid traveler and amateur photographer, Jennifer has a long bucket list of destinations to explore—Southeast Asia and Antarctica are currently at the top of the list. She’s also learning how to fence!
“And I’d really like to learn how to butcher a cow…know anyone who can teach me?”
Thank you, Jennifer, for being a Lady Who Leads and all that you’re doing to raise our next generation of female leaders!