The luncheon will serve to recognize women from Etowah, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Randolph, St. Clair and Talladega counties who have made positive contributions to their community through civil, academic, or professional involvement.
Among the honorees are Smith, who has co-owned Sleeping Giant Veterinary Clinic in Talladega with her husband Tim for about 26 years, and Stephens who is the former chief executive officer for SouthFirst Bank in Sylacauga.
Smith will receive the 2011 Frances E. Couch Lifetime Achievement Award at the luncheon.
“I’ve been involved for a long time, of course I was a Girl Scout all my school years from second grade on up,” Smith said.
Smith’s service did not stop with her school years. She continued to stay involved with Girl Scouts Camp Cottaquilla in Anniston, and served on the board of directors.
“In Girl Scouts you meet people that come from a wide range of backgrounds and learn how to work together,” Smith said.
In addition to her own experience with Girl Scouts, Smith’s two sons Will Smith and Luke Smith were both Eagle Scouts, and her daughter Kris Williams was a Girl Scout who won the Gold Award, and is now a Girl Scout leader, and the mother of Kaitlyn, a third-generation Girl Scout.
Smith’s husband Tim is also a Boy Scout leader.
Smith is a graduate of Auburn University, and after graduating in 1983 with her degree in veterinary medicine she practiced for a short time in Georgia before opening her own clinic in Talladega.
“We’ve been in practice for about 26 years,” Smith said. “I just wanted to be able to help animals and to help the people that have the animals.”
Smith said that in December she had been contacted about winning the award.
“I was honored and humbled because there are so many people who have done so many great things,” Smith said.
“I think overall Girl Scouts offer opportunities for girls to explore various subjects and things they might be interested in as a career and things they may not have thought of as a career,” Smith said.
Smith said when girls participate in activities and earn badges they are learning more and more about themselves in the process.
“It is a lot of fun and being together with your friends makes it an entertaining journey,” Smith said.
“Not only are girls developing leadership skills, but they are developing confidence so that they can succeed and become successful citizens.”
Stephens, the former chief executive officer of SouthFirst Bank in Sylacauga, is one of six women being honored for the “Women of Distinction” award at the luncheon.
“I feel very privileged and honored to have been chosen,” Stephens said. “Girl Scouts are very important not only to our community but to the girls who participate.”
Stephens’ 12-year-old daughter Diana is a Girl Scout in a troop at First United Methodist Church.
Stephens, who is originally from Jasper, earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Montevallo.
“I always enjoyed math and I thought I wanted to go into banking at an earlier age so it was just a path I followed since high school,” Stephens said.
After graduating from the University of Montevallo, Stephens embarked upon an impressive career in the finance industry, working as a chief financial officer for several financial institutions in Alabama.
She came to SouthFirst Bank initially in November 2001 as a chief operating officer and was later elected as the bank’s CEO.
“I have always been one of those people that have a lot of determination,” Stephens said. “I think if you seek out those things and try to seek out a path of completing your education and experience, I think you could achieve those things.
“It certainly didn’t happen overnight, it happened over several years; it was several years of hard work but it definitely paid off.”
Stephens found out in November that she had been selected for the award, and said that she is very proud to represent Sylacauga.
“I hope it shows other young girls that you can achieve anything if you set your goals and put your mind to it,” Stephens said.