Why 80% of Female Entrepreneurs Were Once Girl Scouts
An astonishing 80 percent of female entrepreneurs were once Girl Scouts. Eighty. Percent. Considering eight percent of all women in the U.S. were Girl Scouts at some point, this is an impressive ratio. Before Pam Fields founded Mrs. Fields Cookies, she was a Girl Scout. Before Anita Roddick opened her first retail store, The Body Shop, she was a Girl Scout. Before Martha Stewart created her empire, she was a Girl Scout. And before 17-year-old Kaylin Fanta started the non-profit Watts' Backpack Baggers to provide children in need with school supplies, she was – and still is – a Girl Scout. This is no small feat. Nor is this pure coincidence. Girl Scouting, for the past 100 years, has been giving girls the necessary skills and experiences to develop their entrepreneurial abilities. So what makes for a successful entrepreneur? Is it an MBA in finance? A strong interest in innovation? A passion to lead rather than follow? Maybe, but that’s not all. Before a woman gets to that point, she has had childhood experiences that have opened her eyes to the world of entrepreneurship. And this is where the Girl Scout organization shines. As the CEO of the largest Girl Scout council in the country, I am responsible for leading more than 84,000 girls and 24,000 volunteers. I meet budding new entrepreneurs every day – girls such as 14-year-old Olivia Ottenfeld, who sold more than 2,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies this year to fund her trip to celebrate Girl Scouting’s 100th anniversary in Washington, D.C. Through the annual Girl Scout Cookie Program, Olivia builds on skills she will undoubtedly take with her into adulthood:
- Goal setting - Whether it’s taking baby steps or making one giant leap of faith, discussing and meeting goals and deadlines is important in any job.
- Decision making - Having the confidence to make decisions – sometimes quickly – isn’t always easy. But true leaders know when to assert themselves and make the tough calls.
- Money management - Balancing profits and expenses is becoming even more relevant as girls begin to accept credit card payments for the first time this cookie season.
- People skills - Understanding each customer enables business owners to anticipate customer needs and develop appropriate marketing and sales strategies.
- Business ethics - Developing honest, trustworthy, and reliable future business owners starts early.