On September 13th, our council (Girl Scouts of Northern California) hosted a cookie-inspired cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception in San Francisco, called Celebrating Entrepreneurship, which celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of women—in the Girl Scout Cookie program and beyond. I had the chance to attend this amazing event and left feeling extremely motivated by the accomplished women in the room, so I wanted to share some of the highlights with those of you who were unable to join us. (I know this is a little different from the type of posts we usually publish on The Trailhead, but it’s just too awesome for me to keep to myself!)

As the night started, we were all able to roam the room and visit booths, staffed by local GSNorCal girls, where we could learn about everything that our girls are doing to change the world, from travel to robotics to making, and so much more. It was so fun to interact with some of our girls, hear their stories, and learn about their dreams for the future. If the girls from this event are representative of the leadership and drive of Girl Scouts around the world (which I know they are!), I am more than confident that, with Girl Scouts, our future is in great hands.

After visiting with the girls at their booths, we had the opportunity to hear from a girl-moderated panel of the Bay Area’s most inspiring entrepreneurs and leaders, including Leah Busque (TaskRabbit Founder and Executive Chairwoman), Jessica Herrin (Stella & Dot Founder and CEO), Katrina Lake (Stitch Fix Founder and CEO), and Raquel Amezquita (GSNorCal Ambassador and top cookie seller). During the panel, they shared lesser-known stories of their first jobs, what inspired them to become entrepreneurs, and what advice they’d give to young women looking to a future career as an entrepreneur. A recurring theme in their responses? No one is more or less “qualified” to start their own business—if you’re passionate about how your dream for a new product or service could change the world, you just make it happen!

Panelists

Now, for my personal favorite part of the night… We had the honor of being joined by Dr. Christine Darden who shared the incredible story of her career in STEM, leaving all of us inspired beyond belief! Haven’t heard about Dr. Darden yet? Well, let me just take a moment to give her a formal introduction:

Dr. DardenDr. Darden is a mathematician, data analyst, and aeronautical engineer whose career at NASA Langley Research Center spanned nearly 40 years, focusing on sonic boom research. (Can you say go-getter?) She is one of the few African-American women known as NASA’s “Human Computers,” whose contributions greatly impacted the NASA Space Program in the early 1960s—one of the game-changing “Hidden Figures” to stand on the shoulders of the women featured in the 2016 Oscar-nominated film.

Amazing, right?! Check out Dr. Darden’s keynote speech, in which she looks back at how she used Girl Scouts’ G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) framework to test her limits, push the envelope, and lead groundbreaking research at NASA:

See what I mean? Dr. Darden is a true G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) and I feel so lucky to have had the chance to learn from her. What do you think is the most stand-out message from her speech? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

What’s next?

  • Share this video with the girls in your troop! It could be just the nudge they need to pursue their passion in STEM.
  • Check out the GSNorCal Activity Finder to find events focused on STEM or business and entrepreneurial skills in your area.
  • Did Dr. Darden leave you feeling fired up about empowering the women leaders of tomorrow? Find out more about how you can Fund the Future by donating to Girl Scouts.

Marissa VesselsMarissa Vessels—Marissa is a lifelong Girl Scout, Gold Awardee, and Marketing Manager at Girl Scout of Northern California. Though she’s originally from Southern California (Yay, Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council!), she moved to the East Bay to attend UC Berkeley and never looked back. One of her favorite things about Girl Scouting in the Bay Area is all the incredible hiking and camping options available to girls who love to explore the great outdoors.