Monday, November 30, 2015

Take Action - December CEO Blog

Throughout our history, Girl Scouting has provided the opportunity for girls and women to get involved, and take action to make the world a better place.  Action is reflected in both the Promise and Law, and today, how we take that action is very different than it was 50 or 100 years ago.  Girls have many opportunities today – both in and outside of Girl Scouts.  When you boil it all down, our mission centers around the principle that girls learn about themselves and grow during their Girl Scout experience.  Our program provides many opportunities to put that knowledge and skill together with meaning, and create results.  Girls learn that they are powerful, that their voice matters, and that by taking action they can truly affect change.  We also know that “helping others” is a key reason why many girls stay involved in Girl Scouts over the long term.  
Through our programs and the troop experience, we help girls become resourceful problem solvers.  We want them to be advocates for themselves and as they grow, their Girl Scout experience changes to provide more freedom for them to try new things.  They learn their strengths, and build confidence in those capabilities.  Their courage muscle grows, and character deepens.  And with their parents, trusted GS volunteers and GS staff team at their side, they have the support they need to successfully navigate many of the complex problems they face in today’s world.
We also want girls to embrace learning, and then turn their talents towards educating and inspiring others.  So many of our girls choose their Bronze, Silver or Gold award projects with an eye towards raising awareness of a particular community issue or need.  They become passionate about a cause, and want to ensure that others see the challenges that need to be overcome.  
Girl Scout service projects help girls channel their compassion in positive ways that matter to people in need.  Our goal is for each and every Girl Scout to feel empowered to make a difference in the world, whether that is through change she affects in herself or her family, or through a community service project that benefits others too.    That sense of empowerment – of taking action – will be a seed of strength that she will carry and depend upon throughout the rest of her lifetime.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Thoughts on Leadership

I’ve been thinking a lot about Leadership lately—about what it means to me as a professional in the Girl Scout movement; about how generously women share their leadership through the various roles we play; and about how important it is for our girls to learn about themselves and their own leadership styles, preferences and aspirations as they move through school and their lives.  It’s a complex world today, and while girls and women have all the opportunities we can imagine at our fingertips, female leadership is often misunderstood, under-appreciated, and undervalued.  A recent study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, “Leaning Out: Teen Girls and Leadership Biases”, presents the views our teenage girls have about leadership.  This research suggests that teen girls who are key to closing the gender representation gap still face gender bias from others, as well as have biases about their own leadership potential which constrain the actions they take in pursuing leadership roles.   The report presents 7 helpful strategies for parents of teenage girls to help them guide their daughters and cultivate their leadership potential.  Among those strategies is to expose their daughters to a wide variety of programs that build girls’ leadership skills.

Later this month, GSCSNJ will convene our annual Girl Leadership Summit (Saturday, November 14 at Rowan University in Glassboro).    The Summit, planned by a panel of Girl Scout Seniors and Cadets, is a wonderful opportunity for girls to be inspired by women who are leading in a variety of professions.  At our Career CafĂ©, girls meet women leaders to learn about career fields that they might not even know exist.  At break-out sessions, they will discover how to advocate for themselves, build confidence around leadership skills like conflict resolution, and learn new skills in areas like finance.  Finally, girls will have an opportunity to hear from our 2016 Women of Distinction, who will share their leadership journeys and tips for success.  This event is always inspiring to me, as the women who come are so eager to share with our girls; their stories and counsel are inspiring.  It’s energizing to watch our girls build relationships, and to see the spark in their eyes as they see leadership in action and connect it to their own interests and skills in the process.  It reminds me, as the CEO of our Council, how important it is to model strong and effective leadership behavior in what I do every day.  Girls won’t know how to use direct communication, how to balance their emotions in decision making, how to guide and lead others – if they don’t see women modeling those behaviors as well.

We know that girls can’t be what they can’t see, and that a key to building a girl’s authentic leadership persona is to surround her with as many positive role models as possible.  Girls also benefit from the girl-only, safe environment we provide to explore, experience and learn.  I hope to see you on November 14 at the Girl Leadership Summit.  You won’t want to miss it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Happy Birthday Juliette! October CEO Blog

While most people think only of Halloween as October approaches, for us October is chock full of important celebrations.  In addition to being the official beginning of a new Girl Scout year, October brings the birthday of our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, and National “Make a Difference Day”, a day when the spirit and impact of community service is amplified all across the country.  It’s time for us to do a little bragging, and make sure everyone knows what a difference Girl Scouts makes!
I hope by now you’ve heard that the $10 bill is getting a makeover and that we’re actively trying to convince the U.S. Department of the Treasury to choose Juliette to appear on the new bill.  Can you imagine how awesome that would be??  And while the redesigned $10 note isn’t scheduled to roll out until 2020, the time for us to act is NOW.
While there are hundreds of trailblazing women throughout American history who would make great choices for the bill, here’s why I believe the Treasury should choose our founder.
Juliette built the world’s largest leadership organization for girls, and there is no other organization in our society which has had as great a lasting impact on the advancement of women than Girl Scouts.  59 million American women are alumnae, and they bring the values and life lessons they learned through Girl Scouts to their families, workplaces and communities each day.  The impact of Juliette’s work has transformed and will continue to transform lives.  
In addition, the Girl Scout Movement’s proud tradition of inclusion has left its mark on American history. From our earliest years, all girls were welcomed at Girl Scouts. Girl Scout troops were desegregated before many other institutions in American society, building bridges across racial divides in our nation.   Juliette made sure early Girl Scout troops welcomed girls of all faiths, girls with disabilities, and girls from across the social and economic spectrum.   She envisioned a world where a girl who came from an orphanage in Savannah could belong to the same sisterhood and have the same opportunity as a girl from one of the city’s most prominent families.  
Juliette was known for shattering stereotypes, and she helped to reframe the lens through which our country saw the role of women and girls.  She was a role model, and against the conventions of her time, traveled the world alone, visiting India and Egypt.  She also encouraged girls to study topics like aviation, electrical systems, and other subjects considered “taboo” for girls.  She believed that all girls matter, and that being part of Girl Scouts would help them find their and accomplish their potential.  And, she made it happen!
Now it’s up to us, to make this happen – and ensure that generations to come will know and celebrate Juliette with us!  Share your support for putting Juliette on the new $10 bill through your social media by posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #TheNew10 today.  If we start a wave, the Treasury can’t help but pay attention!

Lastly, if you know of some special Girl Scout activity connected to “Make a Difference Day”, please let us know because we’d love to share your story.  We know that Girl Scouts make a difference through their dedication and service every day, and this is an opportunity for us to ride the public relations wave around Make a Difference Day and share that community impact.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Back to Girl Scouts - September CEO Blog

If the busy-ness of back to school time wasn’t a sign that Fall is here, for sure the crispness in the air today is a sign that summer is behind us and we’re swiftly approaching a new Girl Scout year.  2016 will be an exciting year for the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey as we embark upon a focused strategic journey and look to enhance and grow the GS experience for both girls and volunteers!

An underlying theme of our new Strategic Plan is partnership, as we envision deepening and expanding partnerships in order to serve more girls.  I looked up the definition of the word partnership and Webster’s defines it as “the agreement to cooperate to advance mutual interest”.  Clearly, the mutual interest we seek to foster is the Girl Scout mission, and in that, to find individuals and organizations who have passion for girls and their success.  As we go forward, identifying and building relationships of all kinds will be key.

Among our most obvious natural partners are the other three NJ Councils, and I am so excited that we have a historic moment upon us.  On September 29, the four Councils of New Jersey are hosting our national CEO, Anna Maria Chavez, at our first Statewide Membership Forum.   It will be a wonderful evening for members to meet and hear from Anna, as she gives insight into her views on leadership and the future of the Girl Scout Movement.  When I first met Anna ~ almost two years ago at a Regional CEO meeting ~ I was impressed by her passion for girls, touched by her deep sense of commitment and responsibility to the traditions and legacy of Girl Scouting, and energized by her unwavering resolve to do whatever it takes to ensure that our movement is around for another 100 years.  I believe that Anna is our modern day Frances Hesselbein, and that she is the leader who will guide us to our next pinnacle of success.  Please join usin Edison on the 29th.

I am also so pleased that one of our corporate partners, TD Bank has helped to make this event possible.  TD not only helps us by offering low cost financial products to our troops and Council operation, but they also have a deep commitment to youth and women’s leadership development, and we are actively discussing all sorts of creative opportunities for their staff to volunteer and become more deeply involved in our Council.  Corporate partners like TD bring an incredible resource of time, talent and treasure to us, and over the coming years we hope to identify and engage many more businesses in our success.  We know that they are out there, just waiting to be invited to come learn more about us.  If you know of a business or business leader who we should be talking with, please let us know so that we can reach out.

In any Girl Scout Council, our most important and valued partners are our volunteers, and as you know recruitment season is upon us!  GSCSNJ Service Unit Leadership is actively working to set up troops and identify needs in their areas, and we are spreading the message far and wide that it’s a great time to join Girl Scouting.  Recently I had the opportunity to do a TV promotional piece for Comcast Newsmakers (below) – to get the word out.  Please help us spread the word and share this link with people you may know who may be interested in volunteering.

 I can’t wait for the new Girl Scout year to begin!  It’s upon us, and filled with new opportunities to learn, grow and share our mission with even more families and girls.  Hope to see you on September 29!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Girl Awards Ceremonies

Save the Date

Girl Awards Ceremonies

Seneca High School
110 Carranza Rd, Tabernacle, NJ

Silver Award and Girl Recognition Ceremony
Sunday June 14, 2015

Gold Award Ceremony
Sunday June 14, 2015