Ensuring Girl Entrepreneurs SHINE!

When it comes to cookie sales, a personalized sales pitch, customer follow-up and a successful delivery are all key to Girl Scout success. In fact, those same skills lead to a powerful sales person in any industry. Girl Scout cookie dad, Shawn Muller should know! He’s a real estate agent and has served as cookie dad for Troop 545 for the past 5 years. What makes Shawn such an awesome volunteer is his application of skills he uses in his job, combined with a passion for helping his daughter (and her Girl Scout sisters) succeed. Because of volunteers like Shawn, girls are becoming the CEOs and sales leaders of the future!

Shawn became his troop’s cookie dad about 5 years ago when they needed someone with financial experience. His daughter, Maya, was in kindergarten and this was his first experience with Girl Scouting. Though his first year was intimidating, he jumped in and found resources to make it a great experience.  “The cookie manager training [at GSKSMO] was definitely helpful in terms of getting my comfort up, but I learned a lot of lessons that first year,” Shawn said.

Despite having some of those hard lessons to learn, Shawn got 100% troop participation in the program that first year and continues to have amazing success. As a cookie dad, he finds being organized helps everyone. At the first cookie meeting, Shawn gives out a wall calendar with the cookie dates already marked and a quick reference guide to make it easier to understand and manage for busy parents.

“One of my big things was just making sure parents understood the information. The wall calendars came from my day job as a real estate agent, I always send out wall calendars in December, so it was an easy thing to do,” Shawn said.

Shawn loves being cookie dad because it allows him to spend time with his daughter in an activity she’s passionate about. “On the most basic level, [Girl Scouts] makes her happy. She’ll come home from a troop meeting or an extra activity and she’s always excited and feeling like she accomplished something,” Shawn said.

For Shawn and Maya, the cookie season especially has become a chance for them to work together and for him to teach her sales skills. “This year, someone made an online order, so I took the opportunity to teach her about follow-up. She recorded a short video message and sent it to them on Facebook Messenger and that got a really good response. Now she’s learning that showing appreciation is important,” Shawn said. What an awesome way for dad and daughter to bond while teaching Maya to be an awesome G.I.R.L.?!

After 5 years on the job, Shawn has learned a few things. One of his best tips for increasing sales and helping the community is Cookie Share. “When the girls are asking for someone’s business, it’s such an easy thing to also say ‘I’m raising money in support of the Veterans’ Hospital and Harvesters, would you like to donate some boxes?,’ most of the time, people will say ‘yes.’ That charity aspect is important and I try to help my troop remember that as they sell,” Shawn said.

This amazing cookie dad loves his role as a volunteer and to other Girl Scout dads, “I’d say, 100%, dads should get involved in Girl Scouts and not be afraid of it. It’s so important for the girls to see that dads are interested and involved,” Shawn said. Without our amazing volunteers – moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends – Girl Scouts would not exist. So thank you to Shawn and all the other amazing cookie parents who make this program a success!

Do you have some awesome cookie season tips to share? Comment below!

The Power of Finding Yourself

Spotlighting Girl Scout Alumna Mackenzie Williams

Outdoor experiences are at the heart of Girl Scouting and help girls discover themselves. From leadership to physical fitness, Girl Scouts learn to be independent, strong women, in part thanks to outdoor activities and camping adventures. Most importantly, girls learn to rely on themselves in the outdoors. For Girl Scout alumna, Mackenzie Williams, living a life of adventure in the outdoors has turned into an exciting career of travel and independence.

Mackenzie started Girl Scouts as a girl in the Olathe/Desoto, KS area, but found her particular troop wasn’t a right fit for her. “I wish my parents had enrolled me in Girl Scouts sooner and treated it like you would soccer, something you just do. I didn’t join Girl Scouts until I asked and looking back, I wish that it had been part of my life earlier,” Mackenzie said.

At the age of 19, Mackenzie started travelling the US by herself, filling a personal need to travel and be outdoors. While it made her parents nervous, the experience changed her life. “When you get way out of your comfort zone and put yourself in different situations you learn about yourself in unique and different ways that you wouldn’t experience any other way,” Mackenzie said. During these travels she found a passion for the outdoors and getting people to experience nature.

At 21, she was able to work as a wilderness ranger in California’s Sequoia National Forest. “I’m very passionate about women doing jobs that are considered ‘male jobs,’ like being a park ranger. I had a hiker say to me ‘wow, women can do this job?’ and I remember saying ‘yes, we sure can!’” Mackenzie said. She was one of the strongest hikers on her team, averaging a mile ahead of the group, all despite being only 5’ and one of only two women on the team. Talk about an awesome G.I.R.L!

Today, Mackenzie is back in Kansas finishing her degree in Psychology at the University of Kansas. She plans to return to nature in the summer and become a ranger again. Recently, Mackenzie reconnected with her troop leader Leslie who opened the door to the outdoors when she was a younger Girl Scout. The two decided to have Mackenzie come speak to the girls about solo travel, independence and being a woman in a male-centric career.

 

Mackenzie talking to Leslie’s troop about her experiences with solo travel and being a wilderness ranger in 2017.

“[In Girl Scouts] you are learning these skills, which at the time you have no idea how important those lessons will be when you are older. It’s those little things, those skills, that knowledge, that builds a foundation for girls,” Mackenzie said. That’s why she loves coming back and reconnecting with Girl Scouts to share her knowledge and inspire girls to learn about themselves through solo travel and trying new things.

We thank Mackenzie and all the amazing G.I.R.L.s who are out there showing the world that there’s not job a girl can’t do AND coming back to share that knowledge with Girl Scouts today. It takes a village to raise a Girl Scout and Mackenzie is being part of that support system, encouraging independence and adventure. Thank you, Mackenzie! And AWESOME troop leaders like Leslie change girls lives. We are so incredibly honored to support volunteers like Leslie! Thank you, Girl Scout volunteers for growing these  G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers and Leaders)!!