“170+ countries. 10 million people. 35,000 events. Removing barriers and welcoming all.” That is the sum result of Global Entrepreneur week this third week of November...and Girl Scouts Eastern Washington occupied four of those 35,000 events. And 100 of our Girl Scouts were part of the 10 million people uplifting entrepreneurism globally.
Many thanks to my product sales team for setting up these inspiring events in TriCities, Yakima, Spokane and Pullman. Why was it important to put energy and resources into this flurry of financial literacy events for my Council? First, it is a core pillar of Girl Scouts and has been since cookies entered our bloodstream back in our early years of the sisterhood, 1917 to be exact. We have four core pillars and financial literacy is a central one. Our Girls are incredible cookie sellers and it is incumbent on us as a Council to improve their financial skills by training and education. We can stress financial education during cookie season but when we are the #1 Girl-led business in the world, it seems right to be part of Global Entrepreneurism week with 10 million of our closest friends.
Why else celebrate this week? Frankly, it is the right thing to do. America is unique on two counts--we are a country of freedom and free markets. Entrepreneurism, the ability to risk for reward, by using business principles underpincs free markets. It is an ethos that has driven American inventors to invent a light bulb, airplanes, and so much more. A popular holiday commercial from an investment firm says it well--entrepreneurism put a man on the moon and a phone in our pocket. Likewise, polio is nearly extinct on the planet...Jonas Salk's innovation spurred by our free market economy led to the vaccine in the 1950s. Steve Jobs once famously quipped: "Innovation distinguishes the follower from the leader." American innovation is born of our leaders and the promise of risk and reward has promoted this contagious American innovation for two centuries.
Girl Scouts has been part of that innovation for over 100 years when free enterprising Girl Scouts stated selling cookies in Oklahoma in the 1920s, and the rest is history. The power of the cookie has fueled so much of our movement and led to so many success stories. One out of every two Girl Scouts will be future successful business leaders. When our Girl Scouts practice entrepreneurism so early in their life, is it any surprise that they are not successful later in their business careers? Practice does make perfect. One benefit of being young entrepreneurs is learning early on to deal with failure. Every Girl Scout is told 'no' a multitude of times in cookie sales. Leadership is often taught through the lens of vision, organization, charisma, etc. but perseverance and dealing with rejection is a lesson not often focused on. Girl Scouts deal with more 'no's' than 'yesses' and learning that early on is why our Girls learn courage, confidence and character in buckets. Without a doubt, our program succeeds because we hit critical lessons as early as kindergarten. Does anyone think our top cookie seller, Mikayla Butler, will not be a success in life? Over 7,000 cookies sold, in her small community Post Falls.... She is an Entrepreneur with a Capital E.
Since our Council's founding in the 1930s, we have been pioneers even as one of the smallest Councils in America. In 2019, as we celebrated Global Entrepreneurism with over 100 Girl Scouts, we again became trailblazers, leaders in celebrating freedom and free markets. Risk and reward, our business license to success. 2020--here we come...would you like to buy some cookies please?
--Brian Newberry, GSEWNI CEO