May/Jun 2010 Issue
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John David Mann

Learning Leadership from Cookies

A Conversation with Kathy Cloninger, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA

By John David Mann

Selling Girl Scout cookies is how many women get started on their entrepreneurial path, as they learn prospecting, people skills, business ethics and giving back, as well as leadership and community building. Kathy Cloninger, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, shared a set of statistics that blew our minds: at any given point in US history over the past half-century, about 10 percent of girls in the population are in the Girl Scouts; yet among the population of women business owners, some 70 percent have been Girl Scouts. When Kathy started at her current post in 2003, she launched a sweeping transformation of the Girl Scout movement, intent on reshaping the venerable institution into a powerful leadership force for the twenty-first century.
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