11 Mar 2016
Girl Scouts: Preparing Girls to Empower Themselves

Christine Schoppe
(MBA 2015)

On the 104th birthday of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Christine Schoppe (MBA 2015) discusses her time with the organization, and its long legacy, wide-reaching network, and inspiring mission. Schoppe was herself a 13-year Girl Scout and joined the organization last year as a 2015 Leadership Fellow.

Girl Scouts was founded more than 100 years ago. How is the organization and its mission different now than in the past? And what sorts of things are you working on to carry that mission out?

Christine Schoppe: While the organization has changed and continues to transform today to meet the needs of the modern girl and her family, what I love most is that the DNA of our organization and its mission has remained the same. For the last 104 years, Girl Scouts has reached across class, cultural, economic, and ethnic boundaries to ensure all girls have a place to grow and develop their leadership skills. We aren’t just empowering girls, we are preparing girls to empower themselves.

As a member of our strategy team, I am embedded in many of our teams across the organization to help implement the elements of our three-year strategic plan. The most challenging question we are trying to answer is: how can we bring greater consistency to our program delivery? With volunteers leading our girls across the 112 Councils in our federated model, we know girls are not all having the same experience and achieving the same outcomes. This work requires us to examine our program, the tools and training we provide our volunteers, and potential alternative program delivery models to complement the volunteer model.

What’s some of the best advice you’ve received in your career and since starting work at Girl Scouts? How does that inform the direction of your career?

CS: There is a theme to the career advice I received during my time at Girl Scouts: “Success comes when providence meets perspiration.” I work with exceptional professionals and human beings at Girl Scouts. Every single one of them will tell you that their experiences, whether inside or outside the organization, have led them to be in place as leadership during this transformative moment in our organization. Just a year out of HBS, it is tempting for me to get wrapped up in what the future holds. Therefore when I think about my career, I do look ahead, but I intentionally adjust my focus back to the present and give everything I have to the work at hand. My experiences and efforts today will enable me to better serve tomorrow.

What’s especially unique that you’ve learned in your time at Girls Scouts?

CS: Even as a Girl Scout alum myself, I was surprised to learn that I am one of approximately 60 million living Girl Scout alumnae. What an incredible, intergenerational network and sisterhood to be a part of!

Where do you see yourself and Girl Scouts having the biggest impact in the future?

CS: Seventy-eight percent of our members agree that because of Girl Scouts they’ve become a leader in more activities with friends, at school, in their community, and at work. I think that Girl Scouts is better positioned than any other organization to develop female leaders who are going to close the gender gap in the C-Suite, corporate boards, government, technical fields, and other industries.

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