Woman of Distinction Brings Her A-Game

Victoria Scanlon Named 2022 Woman of Distinction

by Angie Matthiessen, Executive Director – United Way of Charlotte County

When a group of women come together for a meal, we might talk about our children, our spouses, our careers, fashion, politics.

When the women of Charlotte County come together for the annual Women United luncheon, we talk about healing and hope; courage and strength.

As a group of women united, we are a powerhouse for change in Charlotte County. Our collective impact has helped transform local lives for mothers and children who are part of the Kids Thrive Circle of Parents peer support group. At the heart of our united movement are individual women with individual stories.

At the 2022 Women United Luncheon, held on Jan. 25, CEO of Charlotte Behavioral Health Care, Victoria Scanlon, was recognized as this year’s Woman of Distinction. This award reflects the importance of a woman who is contributing boldly to her community in the areas of education, financial stability and wellness.

Scanlon delivered a keynote speech aimed at the individual but designed to foster a spirit of excellence for Charlotte County women as a whole. She encouraged us each to bring our A-Game to the table.

Interwoven through her own personal journey, Scanlon spoke to the lessons she has gleaned that have made her the Woman of Distinction that she is. She suggested three key areas of focus that lead to an A-Game mentality.

Scanlon told us to shine a light into our own darkness.

She explained that lighting up the darkness is at the heart of Women United. Our greatest ability to inspire and empower others comes through our own adversity and lighting up our own darkness.

Scanlon encouraged the women at the luncheon to be willing to share that vulnerable part of themselves, speaking honestly and openly about our struggles, so that we can in turn help others.

Members of Women United serve as examples for other women in the community who can rise above their own struggles with the right inspiration and support. The luncheon honored one such woman, Collette Bailey, as the 2022 Woman of Courage, for her courageous journey out of darkness.

Scanlon told us to choose grit.

Sometimes our journeys involve us walking barefoot in the snow, uphill (both ways) - even in Florida! Grit is defined by Scanlon as the ability, through faith and determination, to pull ourselves back up, to stand up after falling and to bring more resolve and wisdom because of what we have faced.

We do not celebrate the adversity itself, but as women who have faced adversity, we bring various gifts because of our history and our resilience.

And her last, possibly most important, suggestion was that we help others best when we help ourselves first.

She spoke about the value of looking at what we put in our bodies. Scanlon has found over the years that opting for healthy organic food gives her body the fuel and energy it needs.

She shared that sleep is at the center of it all. It is important to wind down before bedtime by avoiding bright lights and blue light. And meditation and yoga can also improve our quality of sleep.

And self-care is not complete without exercise. As a local expert in the mental health field, she noted that exercise is an effective anti-depressant and helps to resolve the build-up of stress chemicals in our bodies.

Victoria Scanlon is not only the 2022 Woman of Distinction, but she is also a true example of a woman who brings her A-Game every day, at home, at work and in our community. She is a woman of distinction and a woman of wisdom.

To see photos from the event and to learn more about Women United, please visit www.unitedwayccfl.org/6th-annual-women-united-lunch.

For more information about United Way of Charlotte County’s mission:  Mobilizing the power of our community to break the cycle of poverty, please contact Angie Matthiessen, Executive Director. She can be reached at director@unitedwayccfl.org.