#AECOMBlueprint, #PressforProgress, Corporate Responsibility, Inclusion and Diversity, International Women's Day, United States

“We build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.” This was the line that drew me into my now nine years on the board of directors of the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland.

I’ve enjoyed this experience so much, I’m now starting my fourth year as board chair and president of the board of directors. There aren’t too many organizations out there that can keep my attention and passion around a mission like the Girl Scouts has. Especially now, with my day job is in Los Angeles and my home, and Girl Scouts commitment, in Ohio. I’m very fortunate to work for a company like AECOM, which has encouraged me to keep the commitment I made to this organization.

When approached to get involved with the Girl Scouts, I knew I would say yes to a board role. How could I say no to an organization whose focus is building a girl’s courage, confidence and character? I’d just finished volunteering as a mentor to a 14-year-old girl through Franklin County Children Services who was being bullied at school. It was a difficult situation, and her home life was not stable. “If only she had been in Girl Scouts,” I thought to myself. She would have had the resources and support to better cope with the situation. And that’s when my journey began.

During my time with the Girl Scouts, I’ve met some amazing girls and young women who will impact the world and their communities in tremendous ways. One person who stands out in particular, who I’ve worked with more closely over the past couple of years, is Taylor. I met Taylor when she was a junior in high school. She has a passion for journalism and television and wants to be a news anchor one day. Taylor started emceeing our large fundraising events at the age of 17. She would speak like a seasoned professional to rooms filled with hundreds of people and not break a sweat. Most experienced executives I know cannot do that.

Taylor is now a sophomore in college and over the past five years, she has been recognized in a number of ways. She served on the Ohio’s Heartland Board of Directors as a student member, was selected as one of only 12 National Innovators by Girl Scouts of the USA, and has been awarded her bronze and silver awards through Girl Scouts. Within her first two years at college, she hosted shows on college radio and television stations and served as a university ambassador — welcoming prospective and new students. This coming summer, she has an internship in Spain where she’ll add international experience to her resume. All of this by the age of 20. She’s just one example of the hundreds of young women I’ve witnessed excelling at what they love and pressing for progress in their career pursuits.

Being a Girl Scout is a lot more than cookies, camping and crafts. While selling cookies is what this organization is known for, the cookie sale experience teaches girls how to be entrepreneurs and builds their business skills and confidence. Girl Scouts as a whole provides incredible opportunities to girls around the world who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to experience them. Each member, during their scouting journey learns how to be a G.I.R.L.: Go-getter. Innovator. Risk-taker. Leader.

So, the next time you pass by a cookie booth or get asked to place an order, know that you aren’t just buying a box of cookies. You’re helping create opportunity and experience; you’re playing a part in building girls of courage, confidence and character who will be our future leaders.

This blog post is part of a series celebrating International Women’s Day 2018 and this year’s theme, #PressForProgress.

Originally published Mar 13, 2018

Author: Julie Holbein