From Thin Mints to Thinking Big

A recent article by Geri Stengel revealed that 80 percent of women business owners and 2/3 of US Congresswomen were once Girl Scouts. Not surprisingly, we learned at last year’s conference that the vast majority of WPO members once donned the famous green Girl Scout vest. Maybe there is something in those world-famous Thin Mints. From learning basic camping skills to door-to-door cookie salesmanship, Girl Scouts learn a diverse array of skills that help prepare them for the future. Geri contends that several of these skills make these young girls ripe for leadership roles. She says that, first, as cookie saleswomen, Girl Scouts learn basic business skills such as how to set goals, make decisions, market products, and manage finances. They are also encouraged to “dream big” and set big goals for themselves. In fact, last year, one Girl Scout sold over 3,000 boxes of cookies in less than three months. Girl Scouts also learn the power of collaboration – something WPO members can certainly attest to! The most successful business leaders know the importance of asking for help and learning from their peers. Girl Scouts teaches its members to give back to their communities. Similarly, social responsibility is not only a moral decision but provides an opportunity for businesses to become engaged with their community and target demographic. Taking risks, especially taking the right risks, is an important lesson for anyone looking to succeed. Girl Scouts are certainly not about complacency. Girl Scouts new CEO Anna Maria Chávez recently said they encourage a “go-for-it attitude.” Finally, Girl Scouts are encouraged to explore their passions and to have fun while doing so. The most successful business leaders are not just those with the skills necessary to succeed, but those whose passion serves as their driving force.

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