They are eight extraordinary women leading Southern Nevada’s community. These women will be honored during this year’s Dessert Before Dinner, the annual premier fundraising event benefiting the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 9 at Caesars Palace from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The popular event is expected to attract a record-breaking more than 750 attendees who include the city’s top influencers and community leaders.
Now established as one of the city’s most exciting fundraising events, Dessert Before Dinner brings area chefs together to create the ultimate confection incorporating a chosen signature Girl Scout cookie. Guests indulge in desserts before the first course is even served, hence the name. Participating chefs and the signature cookie will be announced next month.
In addition to the chefs’ competition, an array of the city’s most high-profile women will be honored for being outstanding role models and paving the way for success for future businesswomen in Southern Nevada. They will also receive honorary Girl Scouts badges, selected specifically for them based on their own professional achievements. Honorees are listed below, along with the badges they will receive on Sept. 9:
Debbie Creel – Think Big Badge
Debbie Creel is the co-owner of Creel Printing. Creel has helped guide her company from a small family-owned printer to a global leader in printing technology with 500 employees across the U.S. and France. Creel’s experience and passion for equality helps her understand the needs of the Las Vegas community and the struggles women in the workforce face today. Creel is dedicated to increasing the economic well-being, education and emotional health of the community and young women and does so through her participation in the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada.
Souzan El-Eid, MD, FACS – S.T.E.A.M. Advocate Badge
Dr. Souzan El-Eid is a breast surgeon with Comprehensive Cancer centers of Nevada, serves as the medical director of the Breast Care Center at Summerlin Hospital. She is the current president of the Clark County Medical Society and is currently the cancer liaison physician for the Cancer Program and co-chair of the Breast Tumor Board as well as Cancer Committee at Summerlin Hospital. She is an adjunct associate professor of general surgery at Touro University Nevada and has served as principal investigator for several clinical research studies. Additionally, Dr. El-Eid serves on various medical committees, co-authors numerous publications about breast cancer and breast diseases and frequently gives presentations and lecturers about breast cancer to the public and physicians. Dr. El-Eid was named both a “Top Doctor” and “Top Surgeon” in multiple medical journals and in her experience, the deficit of basic S.T.E.A.M. education in Nevada presents opportunities for community members to stand up and offer these educational benefits to the youth in Southern Nevada.
Nazanin Ford – Visionary Badge
Nazanin Ford actively contributes to her community by representing Nevada Women’s Philanthropy as past president, vice president, education and events committee chair and outreach committee co-chair. Ford also serves on the board of her family foundation, the James Joseph Ford Foundation, and established the Every Generation Gives (EGG) Project. This project has empowered more than 1,000 ‘at-risk’ Clark County students to make a difference in their community with philanthropy and volunteerism and nearly $40,000 has been granted by students to local non-profits. She became an early advocate for Scholars Working Over Time, a program where dedicated educators and determined families teamed up to give students the opportunity and tools to succeed academically—despite the odds stacked aggainst them. She championed the program as it evolved into Equipo Academy, a 6-12th grade college preparatory school in Las Vegas’ lowest income zip code. It continues to be a place where students strive to redefine the odds daily.
Shelley Gitomer – Trailblazing Badge
As vice president of philanthropy and community engagement for MGM Resorts International since 2013, Shelley Gitomer is charged with enhancing the company’s strategic goodwill and alliances with communities, achieving closer alignment with the business mission and promoting the Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) platform. She is responsible for corporate philanthropy, volunteerism and is president of the employee-driven MGM Resorts Foundation. Gitomer is being recognized for her work and dedication to providing young women with positive role models and mentorship in Southern Nevada and surrounding areas.
Nancy Houssels – Ambassador of the Arts Badge
Nancy Houssels is the recipient of the 2017 Ambassador of the Arts Badge. Born in Piedmont, California, Nancy began dancing at age three. After graduating from UCLA with a BA degree in Theater Arts, she performed worldwide in theater and television as part of the famed dance team, “Szony & Claire” with partner Francois Szony. In 1972, she co-founded Nevada Dance Theatre (now Nevada Ballet Theatre) with Vassili Sulich and to this day, remains the driving force as Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees. Although Nancy was no longer performing, she extended her career by working in the community, becoming involved with the arts and children. She has received numerous accolades including the Governor’s Art’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts, the Jameson Philanthropic Achievement Award, Chamber of Commerce Women of Achievement Award, the Chris Schallert Award from WE CAN for abused and abandoned children among many others. She has served on a diverse number of Boards such as the UNLV Foundation, the Meadows School, as Chair of the Nevada Arts Council, Bank of Commerce, Children’s Service Guild and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
Trina Pascal – Philanthropist Badge
Trina Pascal has an extensive background and passion for giving of others and she has remained committed to supporting her community, which began with her volunteer work with Edgewood Center for Children and Families, located in San Francisco. This work led her to Las Vegas where she co-founded Nevada Women’s Philanthropy (NWP) and the difference it makes across the valley. The principles that have guided her personal commitment to philanthropy align with the underlying values that have shaped the Girl Scouts of America – that courage, confidence and character, when applied, can make the world a better place.
Sonja Saltman – Community Badge
Confident and driven, Sonja Saltman is the co-founder and executive director of Existential-Humanistic Institute (EHI) and has also been in private practice for more than 20 years. She has trained extensively in various humanistic modalities, amongst Gestalt, Existential, Redecision Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Group Therapy and Imagery. When working with the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada, she leads with empowerment and experience, mentoring her team and inspiring all to engage with the community, visualize and achieve. After moving to Las Vegas from Austria more than 40 years ago, she has been passionate about her community and empowering women to get involved. She serves on many boards and shares insights that encourage others to be creative and reach their highest potential. She is notably involved on the board of Nevada Women’s Philanthropy and serves as a board member of Black Mountain Institute at University of Nevada, Las Vegas which recently received major funding to ensure its continued grown of quality and creativity. In addition, Saltman recently became the honorable consul for Austria in Las Vegas.
Melinda Sheckells – Social Innovator Badge
Melinda Sheckells is the editor-in-chief of WENDOH Media and oversees the day to day editorial operations of all the company’s publications and websites including Vegas Seven magazine, DTLV.com, SpyOnVegas.com, LifeisBeautiful.com and RunRebs.com. Sheckells was chosen for her forward-thinking attitude about Las Vegas and what unique offerings residents are interested in and putting them into a successful media outlet. Sheckells joined WENDOH in 2009 as the editor of 944 Magazine before launching the multi-award winning Vegas Rated Magazine as editor-in-chief in 2011. She came into her role with WENDOH bringing a wealth of editorial experience in Las Vegas, having been the group editor-in-chief of Niche Media’s Western Division including VEGAS Magazine and the award-winning Las Vegas Home + Design. Throughout her 16-year career, Sheckells has received numerous accolades for her work including seven Maggie awards from the Western Publishing Association.
Gala proceeds will continue to lay the foundation for all girls in Southern Nevada to become tomorrow’s female leaders. In addition to funding scholarships, proceeds enable the organization to reach girls in all demographics and areas of the community as well as expanding upon current programming such as Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.), social values and financial literacy. Most importantly, support for Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada helps encourage girls to embrace imaginative and innovative approaches to everything they do—with the goal of creating a better world for aall.
The price for individual seats is $400 for Bronze, $600 for Silver, $1,000 for Gold, and $1,500 for Platinum. Sponsor levels available at $4,000 for Bronze, $6,000 for Silver, $10,000 for Gold and $15,000 for Platinum. Click here to purchase tickets.
For more information on Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada, visit www.GirlScoutsNV.org.