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Carol Ferguson: A Trefoil Society Luncheon Honoree

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When a girl becomes a Girl Scout, she receives a pin in the shape of a Trefoil, symbolizing her acceptance of the ethical leadership values she will learn. Members of the Trefoil Society commit to support Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians through generous annual financial support, so girls can discover their leadership potential and take action in their communities. Each year, three Trefoil Society Luncheons are held in our Council to honor women who exemplify what it means to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader). This year, all the luncheons will be held virtually. For the north-area virtual luncheon taking place on Aug. 27, Carol Ferguson is the honoree.

Carol Ferguson was born and raised on the Jersey shore. She received an associate degree from Elizabethton Seton Jr. College and a bachelor’s degree from the College of New Jersey. She taught

kindergarten and third grade and owned a plant and antique store in New Jersey. In 1977, Carol moved to Johnson City. She went into Real Estate for the next 40+ years owning Northridge Properties Real Estate.

Regarding community involvement, Carol has a served on the Board of Directors for GSCSA, Board of Directors for Girls, Inc., President of the United Way of Johnson City/Washington County, the Board of Directors for the Johnson City/ Washington County Chamber of Commerce, and as President of the Johnson City Board of Realtors. Of how she spends her time, Carol says, “I spend time more time serving on non-profit boards than anything else!”

Carol has also served as President of Northeast State’s Foundation. She is presently serving on the Executive Board as the Scholarship Committee Chair for Northeast State and on the Johnson City/Washington County Health & Education Board. Carol is a member of Northeast State and ETSU President’s Club and recipient of ETSU College of Business Hall of Fame Award.

Carol was a Girl Scout Brownie when she was growing up in Oakhurst, NJ. She clearly remembers walking up and down the street of the rural community where she lived selling Girl Scout Cookies. She says of the experience, “Having to go out and sell cookies was the beginning of my real estate career.” Selling cookies helped her learn how to approach people and talk to them, and about handling money and having to produce a product at the end. She goes on to say, “If you ‘re a little bit shy, it also forces to you interact with people and learn some confidence when speaking with people.”

She says of Girl Scouts and Trefoil Society, “I’m really humbled by being honored by this group. I know a lot of the women who are members of the Trefoil Society and have an enormous amount of respect for them. I wish my scouting career had been longer, but I think I’ve always been an advocate for women’s rights and empowerment of women, and Girl Scouts do a wonderful job of that.”

Beyond Girl Scouts, Carol learned life lessons from her own friends and family. She says, “My female friends support me in the causes I get involved in, they make me laugh and they heal me when I’m down. And most important is all of my family! Especially my husband Mike, daughter Kerry, & grandson Arjuna, who force me to keep ‘growing’.” She goes on to say, “My three older brothers didn’t treat me different because I was a girl; they are responsible for making me tough. My grandmother taught me to save. She used to say ‘sit on a box until you can afford to buy the chair’. She was a strong woman, never backed down from anything.” Carol also recalls a college professor of hers, that really convinced her that she could do anything she set her mind to. She says, “That made a huge impact in that way in my life. I’ve had mentors throughout my life that have helped me in different ways just by having confidence in me.”

Carol credits her desire to “make the world a better place” to her experience attending a catholic high school and a catholic junior college. At these places, charity work was expected. Carol says, “Filling boxes of food and delivering them helped me realize there was a lot of people worse off than I was. In college we had to volunteer at an orphanage and it just really helped me realize that there are a lot of people out there with needs. I thought I was poor growing up but, compared to a lot of people, I realized I was doing just fine.” About her professional life, she says, “In my real estate career, I was very blessed and successful, and I felt like I owed it to the community to give back because of what they had done for me in the sense.”

Something that has always stuck in Carol’s mind regarding charity was said to her by Eva Stanley Harris, of the Harris Foundation, the trust that permits GSCSA’s use of the land that Camp Wildwood resides on. Ms. Harris said, “It’s easy to write a check, but it’s equally important, for a person to give up their time and energy. They really make the biggest difference.” Carol says of people who do volunteer work, “Hat’s off to them!”

In her free time, Carol enjoys remodeling houses, going to local art shows, and gardening. She’s a big fan of Girl Scout Thin Mints.  

The north-area Trefoil Society Virtual Luncheon takes place on Thursday, Aug. 27, via the online platform Zoom from 11:30am-12:15pm. Register online today! If you are interested in hosting a virtual table at this event, please contact us at Philanthropy@girlscoutcsa.org or 1-800-474-1912 x2007. If you are unable to participate in this event, but would like to give a gift in honor of an honoree, please donate online or send a check to our office: Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians, 1567 Downtown West Blvd., Knoxville, TN 37919.

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