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Christina O’Connor

Women In The Lead

After five years of working tirelessly and without pay, the business began to grow. That small startup has expanded into what is now Wilson Care Group, a home health agency that provides a range of services. As president and CEO, Shelley manages the company’s 500 employees. Most recently, the company has added a live-in care facility, Wilson Senior Living.

“The primary goal is to help those in need, from babies to seniors, with care, compassion, and professionalism,” Shelley says.

Shelley also is involved in international aid, working with groups including Kids Without Borders and Rotary International. She has traveled to places such as Ethiopia and Vietnam to provide aid to underprivileged children.

For her work, Shelley received the 2009 Small Business Administration’s Small Business Person of the Year award, along with many other awards.

Shelley says that one challenge of starting her own business has been maintaining a work-life balance. She jokes that she would have ended up an “old maid” if it weren’t for a few friends who set her up with husband Kelvin Bloom. But for Shelley, it’s all been worth it.

“I love, love what I do,” Shelley says. “What we do in helping to care for so many people is such a big responsibility and is just so much joy. I just love going to work every day. Continuing to find ways to help the community and care for people, that just makes me very happy.”

While Faye, Carolyn and Shelley represent, perhaps, what the future could look like in terms of women in leadership, there’s a long way to go.

The Girl Scout Research Institute found another troubling trend among today’s young girls: While girls surveyed stated they had an interest in leadership, they felt that they couldn’t see themselves in those types of roles.

Beyond that, there seems to be more at stake regarding the lack of women in leadership roles. In the 2012 Global Gender Gap Report, the U.S. was ranked as number 22 out of 135 countries in gender equality, falling five places from last year’s report.

On the larger scale, it’s gender equality where Girl Scouts is hoping to make an impact.

“If you can help build girl leaders, you’re really helping change society – it affects the community,” Lori says.

For more information about the Woman of Distinction Dinner and other GSH projects, visit girlscouts-hawaii.org.

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