Journalist and author Joan Lunden has advocated for women throughout her illustrious career. On Thursday, that advocacy found Lunden, 63, in Oklahoma City, as the featured speaker at the Oklahoma City Juliette Low Leadership Society's annual luncheon.
Lunden made history as one of the first female TV news anchors; her career took her from a short stint as a “weather girl” on to a fast track to success, landing her a dream job as co-host on “Good Morning America,” where she stayed for 17 years.
The annual luncheon is a fundraiser for JLLS, a non-profit organization that supports local Girl Scout troops. The event is tied in to Girl Scouts' World Thinking Day, on Feb. 22 each year. The theme for 2014 World Thinking Day is “education opens doors for all girls and boys.”
JLLS members hope to bring more focus on the immediate needs and problems of Oklahoma's girls and young women — teen pregnancy, dropping out of high school, and drug-related incarcerations top the list, said Jaimie Siegal,a spokesperson for Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma.
“We want to raise awareness for what the situations really are for women and girls in the state of Oklahoma,” Siegal said. “Where are we, where have we been, where are we going and how we will financially support that.”
Make a difference
Lunden said that joining Girl Scouts and having reliable and caring people as leaders really can make a difference the lives of Oklahoma girls. More Girl Scout leaders are always needed, especially in areas such as urban Oklahoma City where community troops led by volunteers are more common than traditional troops led by parents of scouts.
“We need to help these young girls see positive role models and believe that they can make more out of their lives,” Lunden said in an interview before the luncheon. “Then, if the leaders bond with these young girls, (the girls) then don't want to disappoint their leaders. Maybe they'll come to you and talk to you when they're at a pivotal point of making a decision that could ruin their lives.”
Before she spoke at the luncheon, Lunden talked to a group of Girl Scouts from Arthur Elementary School. She explained how in her life, she found that by saying “Yes” to opportunities she might not ordinarily consider, doors opened to other opportunities.
A perfect example, she said, was when she was offered a position as a weather girl at a news station.
“I looked at this guy and thought, ‘The weather? Really? That doesn't really sound that interesting to me.' I don't know anything about the weather but somehow, I knew an opportunity when I heard it,” she said.