For 22 years, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois has recognized outstanding women for their contributions to their communities and for being role models to young women.
At a Thursday banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign, Ranija Turner will be honored as the Young Woman of Distinction.
Five other women will be honored: Laura Weis of Savoy, Annette Lansford of Champaign, Molly Delaney of Paxton, Cindy Feeney of Champaign and Christina McClelland of Urbana.
Business or Professional
Weis is the current president and CEO of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce. In addition to her professional role working with businesses in the community, Weis volunteers for several organizations. She is a Rotarian and currently serves on the board of directors for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank. She has also served on the American Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, the board of directors of the Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and is a former United Way board member. Weis, married with two sons, has also been recognized as one of the "Women You Should Know" as part of the Working Women's Conference.
Dr. Annette Lansford
Lansford is a pediatrician and was the founder of the Carle Child Disability Clinic, an interdisciplinary diagnostic team of professionals involving pediatrics, neurology, psychology, social work, nursing, education, speech and audiology specialists as well as physical and occupational therapists.
Lansford was named Carle Physician of the Year in 2003.
In addition to her work at Carle, she is currently on the Champaign Public Library Foundation Board and the Champaign County Court Appointed Special Advocates board of directors. She is a CASA board past president, and worked with the community investment committee of the United Way. She is also a wife, mother, and grandmother.
Delaney is the educational outreach director at Illinois Public Media. In recent years, she has concentrated her work in STEM education. Delaney created a hands-on STEM education programs for preschoolers and was instrumental in guiding the launch of PBS-sponsored digital media tools for preschool, elementary, and high-school teachers. She also worked with colleagues at Parkland College's Staerkel Planetarium on a project that was awarded a $90,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to help prepare children from birth to five for success in school and life.
Delaney has spent her career in professional preschool education. She began and completed her master's degree while working full-time and raising three children.
Feeney is a kindergarten teacher at St. Matthew's School in Champaign. She spends much of her free time working to improve the educational environment in her classroom. Feeney has instituted interactive educational units with her kindergartners, including the creation of a school garden in which her students can plant vegetable and pumpkin seeds and watch them grow during the school year. They also plant flowers that are maintained over the summer by Girl Scout troops.
In addition to her dedication to her own students, Feeney also chaired the Peaceable Schools initiative at St. Matthew's, a program intended to reduce violence by providing children and adults with the skills and information to appropriately resolve conflict.
Creative Arts, Entertainment
McClelland is an interdisciplinary artist whose creative work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. McClelland currently serves as public arts coordinator for the city of Urbana.
Her creative and diverse background has helped her to emerge as a leader in the arts community. Christina has worked to make art accessible to everyone in her home community by assisting Urbana in securing three sculptures in the past year, launching the Murals on Glass program, and presenting free, all-ages programming at Urbana's Market at the Square.