C-Sweet Celebrating Girl Scout Cookie CEOs

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When it comes to investing in the future, there are few methods as simple or as tasty as the Girl Scout Cookie Program. For many Americans, cookie season means rushing to stock up on Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs. But for the Girl Scouts themselves, those stacks of boxes do so much more than satisfy an annual craving.

As the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world, the Cookie Program teaches Girl Scouts valuable life lessons they’ll take into their careers and communities. During cookie season, as Girl Scouts are planning, selling, taking orders, distributing and delivering, they’re also gaining fundamental knowledge in economics, entrepreneurship, sales, the value of hard work and more.

Whether it’s the annual cookie program or one of the other community activities in which they are involved,

these Girl Scout “Cookie CEOs” are learning the value of goal setting, decision-making, money management and business ethics. All these are a part of what makes the Girl Scout experience so unique.

Lifelong learning and achievement are the foundation of the organization, and many successful business leaders — CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs — got their start as Girl Scouts. That means the boxes you buy today are, in some way, shaping the leaders of tomorrow. Perhaps the Girl Scout website puts it best: “Every bite counts!”

On the pages that follow, we’ll meet five Arkansas leaders who represent Today’s Cookie CEOs. These women serve as strong examples to young girls of the role Girl Scouts and its many programs can have in their future achievements.



What lessons from your Girl Scout days do you incorporate as a woman leader today?

It’s funny. In rereading the Girl Scout Law, I have unknowingly been living my entire life by the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Throughout my life, I’ve always tried to follow the basics of being kind, confident, caring, fair, honest, strong, respectful of others and helpful ... all lessons that are part of the Girl Scout program.. I carry one of their main mottos with me daily: “Always be prepared, show respect and stay strong!” In what specific ways does participation in Girl Scouts foster and develop leadership traits?

While I feel my parents did a great job of instilling selfesteem, confidence and character in me, it was Girl Scouts that showed me how to work well with others in groups at an early age. Without realizing it until I was much older, I learned the dynamics of working in group projects from Girl Scouts. We would get to take turns being the leader of varying projects, and that planted “leadership seeds” I carried throughout my life. It helped me to understand that a great leader needs to have confidence in herself and be able to lead by example with respect and consid eration of others. (And to have patience!) It taught me that girls

can pretty much do anything. It also fostered in me a willingness to serve, which I feel I have done a lot of in my adult life, from volunteering and chairing countless fundraisers, auctions and events at my girls’ schools, to leading philanthropic organizations in numerous fundraisers and charity gala events, all to help others.

What is your favorite memory as a Girl Scout?

I think my favorite memory of Girl Scouts would be the time we went on a “day camp” field trip. It was to a wooded area outside of town, but it was my very first “girl’s trip/outing” as a kid, and it was so exciting. We learned how to work together as a team pitching a tent. We identified leaves and trees, we were shown how to start a fire (which I have yet to accomplish to this day), and it was my first experience with making and eating s’mores. It was a great day of adventure and learning how to work together as a team.

Peri-Gay’s Favorite Cookie: Caramel DeLites

Patricia’s Favorite Cookie: Trefoils


What lessons from your Girl Scout days do you incorporate as a woman leader today?

* Be a sister. In Girl Scouts, we learned to support and trust each other, and we lived the Girl Scout Law to “be a sister to every Girl Scout.” I practiced law for many years, and now work as a professor and as executive director of the Arkansas State University Women’s Leadership Center. In the Center’s Step Up, Reach Back, Expand Out program, career women mentor college students, peers mentor peers, and college students mentor younger girls. I am learning new leadership lessons from this ever-growing circle of kind, supportive women. My experiences in Girl Scouts helped prepare me for this opportunity.

* Be courageous. Girl Scouts encourages girls to try new things. As executive chairman of IBM, Ginni Rometry said, “I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.” The courageous leader takes risks, tries things outside of her comfort zone and learns to show her true self to the world. She may be afraid to fail, but she tries new challenges and stretches herself anyway. I try to remember this when I am taking on a new task.

* Be prepared. Being prepared means learning new things

every day throughout your life and showing up for opportunities with your best self. Girl Scouts practice this discipline of preparation all the time, when learning badges, going to camp, working on a project to make the world a better place or selling cookies.

In what specific ways does participation in Girl Scouts foster and develop leadership traits?

Girls Scouts “build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” Some of the most kind, giving and courageous college student leaders in the A-State Women’s Leadership Center have been Girl Scouts. These students are confident whether speaking to a crowd, volunteering, or mentoring others. They are mature, selfless, capable and confident and continuing to make the world a better place every day. .

Girl Scouts taught me great lessons when I struggled to have courage and confidence like many young girls. I remember the first time I made calls to sell Girl Scout cookies to people I did not know well. For some girls, this may seem easy, but I felt very shy and nervous about calling people and asking them to buy cookies. I worried they would say “no” or hang up the phone. Luckily, my parents and my Girl Scout leader encouraged me to have courage in the face of my fears. I sold a lot of cookies that year, and more importantly, I learned a lot about overcoming my fears..

What is your favorite memory as a Girl Scout?

More than any one single activity, I remember the friendships. As Girl Scouts, we played games, sang and spent time outdoors together. We learned how to make s’mores, explored caves and hiking trails, and earned badges together. Consistent elements of these activities were smiles and laughter of my friends.


What lessons from your Girl Scout days do you incorporate as a woman leader today?

I think one of the most important lessons that Girl Scouts has to offer is selfconfidence. Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts, was an activist who was passionate about the education, respect and confidence of girls and women. Those values are core tenets of Girl Scouts as an organization. Girl Scouts provides girls a consistent, supportive social structure and encourages leadership, inspires courage, and builds confidence. In my professional life, my field is not very diverse and I’m also frequently the only woman in the room. I think my experience with Girl Scouts, both in a troop as a child, and now as a board member, have provided me with confidence that I rely on as I navigate my career. In what specific ways does participation in Girl Scouts foster and develop leadership traits?

Participation in Girl Scouts provides girls with social support, education and opportunities that they are generally not receiving from their schools and communities. Two specific factors that contribute to leadership are support of girls’ mental health and the variety and quality of programming that Girl Scouts offers. A 2020 study on mental health by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) showed that overwhelmingly, girls do not feel supported by their schools, counselors and sometimes even their families. Girls and women today face an array of challenges and pressures, some familiar and some new. More than two-thirds of girls who participated in the study reported that being in Girl Scouts positively supports their mental health, and 77 percent specifically acknowledged support from their troop leader. Girls generally feel that their troops are safe spaces, and they form friendships that help them cope with stressors and difficult challenges in their lives.

Girl Scouts programming is designed to build a variety of skills and enhance wellness. The badges that are offered provide attainable and rewarding goals for girls to learn and build confidence. I’m a science nerd, so I love all the STEM programming that is offered now. In 1916, Girl Scouts introduced an electrician badge. Today, the organization offers hundreds of STEM programs for all ages nationwide, and girls have earned more than 3.5 million STEM badges in topics like robotics, digital game design and math in nature. Girls also still participate in traditional outdoor activities like camping, hiking, target sports and horseback riding.

What is your favorite memory as a Girl Scout?

What I loved most about Girl Scouts was the sense of belonging my troop provided. My mom was a Girl Scout and frequently volunteered with my troop, attending our field trips and hosting events at our home. I grew up as an only child in a small town, so I went to school with all of my troop members. Being in Girl Scouts provided me with the feeling of sisterhood that I didn’t have at home.

Jennifer’s Favorite Cookie: Samoas or Caramel DeLites



What lessons from your Girl Scout days do you incorporate as a woman leader today?

The most important lessons I learned as a young girl revolve around empowerment, leadership, compassion, community involvement and the power of girls together. I have carried these life lessons with me since becoming a Brownie in the second grade at Forest Park Elementary School.

I was always so proud to don my uniform and gather with my troop for adventures and new experiences. The troop system introduced me to girls from various schools and neighborhoods distinctive from my own. In what specific ways does participation in Girl Scouts foster and develop leadership traits?

I learned many valuable skills that have served me well as a successful restaurateur and elected official. I believe that at a young and impressionable age, part of the road map for my professional future was laid. Specifically, I learned that we had a responsibility to help make the world a better place for all. I strive to do that by working with many different organizations, especially the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.

What is your favorite memory as a Girl Scout?

All of the field trips and projects our troop did outdoors in our city parks and neighborhoods are my favorite memories. I believe that is one reason I am so involved in Little Rock’s Parks and Recreation Commission, now serving as the city board liaison. Capi’s Favorite Cookie: Thin Mints!



What lessons from your Girl Scout days do you incorporate as a woman leader today?

Courage, perseverance and inclusiveness are just a few. Life is filled with many ups and downs, and being a Girl Scout has helped me embrace the turns with courage. I learned to not shy away from difficulties and how to keep going even when the going gets tough. I also learned early on the power of teamwork that is powered by the diversity of thought and experiences that everyone brings, which is something that I value tremendously.

In what specific ways does participation in Girl Scouts foster and develop leadership traits?

There are so many leadership lessons embedded in Girl Scout programs and activities including collaboration, responsibility, independence, communication and integrity. As a Girl Scout, we were asked to articulate reasons behind our decisions and take responsibility for our decisions, an important trait for both personal and professional life.

What is your favorite memory as a Girl Scout?

Two favorite memories — selling cookies and the cooking competition! I loved the entrepreneurial spirit of building my own business and promoting it, which led me to start my own business later in life. And I can never forget our cooking competition, where different troops had a “cook-off” for the best tasting dish. I am still inspired by the creativity of our team that day, the fun we had and the quick pivots we made as a team to tackle a few burnt ingredients … While not for the best taste, we did claim a prize for perseverance!

Vinima’s Favorite Cookie: Samoas!

Her dreams are our dreams.

Girls are what Girl Scouts is all about. Their dreams, ideas and ambition are part of our DNA. Today’s girls want to shoot movies, build robots, speak up for what they believe in, help others, change a law.

Girl Scouts gives girls the tools to fuel their ambition, try new things, learn from failure, and make the world a better place.

Girl Scouts is a world where girls can do, and be, whatever they dream.

Backed by trusted adult volunteers and millions of alums like our Today’s Cookie CEO leaders, Girl Scouts gain the courage, confidence and character to be our future leaders in building a better world.

To learn how you can support our future female leaders, contact us at info@girlscoutsdiamonds.org or 800-632-6894.



Today’s Girl Scout is tomorrow’s leader.
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