New York City: Top leaders in PR, writers for tech, founders, executives and scientists came together for Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored to brainstorm everything about how ideas are created and exchanged, so its no surprise that the topic of “girl power” and how to engage females in business came up. And who better to lead the way than the Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A?
Anna Maria Chavez grew up in the small, rural town of Eloy, Arizona. She described her early interactions with a local girl scout troop and how it helped her form beliefs around changing the world and making a difference: “When I explained to my Nana that I wanted to join the girls scouts her first response was no way. The words ‘scout’ and ‘troop’ ‘uniform’ and ‘camp’ did not resonate with my family. As Nana said we came from ‘camps’ but I knew that this was something powerful.” Chavez estimates that only 21% of individuals think they can make change and the Girls Scouts of the U.S.A only serves 8% of girls in this country, both numbers that are much too low, “We need to change this… 50% of the world will be girls. Girls are the future”
If the word “girls” makes you uncomfortable, it goes almost unnoticed at the conference. Carol Cone, in charge of Edelman Business and Social Purpose, states almost too confidently, “Its not about girls or the Girl Scouts, its about creating a larger umbrella about girls and leadership. Its about the cause.” Cone, who has built a career on cause induced marketing campaigns, goes on to talk about “Cause Marketing” and the next wave of consumerism, “Our Edelman Trust Barometer finds that after price and quality, the way consumers pick products is based on purpose… the future of trust is built upon social performance. Businesses must place a equal interest on society as business operations.”
Cone and Chavez bring up a very good point about the future of business: it will require community collaboration. While both women support lifting “girls” and encouraging them to pursue their dreams, they see grassroots community organization as a powerful tool for consumers and business, “but we have to wonder though… why are girls opting out of such things.” Chavez highlights, “we need to provide a platform.”
So is that it? Is being part of a “troop” the next way we see ourselves as community organizers?
As more “girls” understand that our limits are actually unlimited how will that also shape consumer marketing and cause marketing? We already know the power of little girls in uniforms selling us cookies, image when they start selling us other things, or even better inventing them.
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