Three keys to leadership
Girl Scouts leader shares skills to help girls, adults

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

April 3, 2015

Girl Scouts Wisconsin Southeast CEO Christy Brown speaks about leadership to members of the Waukesha County Business Alliance in Brookfield on Thursday.
Katherine Michalets/Freeman Staff   

BROOKFIELD - The Girl Scouts are about much more than crafts, cookies and camping - they are about creating leaders and making the world a better place, said Christy Brown, CEO of Girl Scouts Wisconsin Southeast.

Brown shared her three keys to leadership with members of the Waukesha County Business Alliance at the Sheraton Hotel on Thursday morning. The keys are: discover, take action and connect.

With her background as an attorney and in human resources, the Girl Scouts’ focus of empowering females appealed to Brown. She said she was only a Brownie for a short time as a girl and since then the organization has evolved. In its mission statement, the Girl Scouts say they strive to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who also make the world a better place.

Brown said Girl Scouts have evolved to have a science, engineering, technology and math focus. The Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast started a partnership with Milwaukee Area Technical College eight years ago, and during one event the girls learned how to be arborists.

Seventh-grader Arianna Carella, left, receives the Girl Scouts of the USA National Lifesaving Award in 2012 from Girl Scouts Wisconsin Southeast CEO Christy Brown, right. 
Submitted photo  

The three keys for leadership are as applicable to Girl Scouts as they are to adults, she said.

“Discover,” she said, includes finding a strong  sense of self, developing positive values, gaining practical life skills and seeking challenges.

For one Girl Scout, what she learned through scouting helped to save her grandmother’s life. Seventh-grader Arianna Carella learned what to do in an emergency situation and how to talk to emergency personnel. Brown said after Carella recognized her grandmother’s medical need, she called 911 and collected her grandmother’s insurance records and prescriptions. Her actions earned her the Girl Scouts of the USA National Lifesaving Award in 2012.

Under “leadership,” Brown said, it’s important to realize one’s strengths and talents, to anticipate future opportunities, increase one’s knowledge base and try new things.

“You will have progressed to a state where you feel confident,” she said.

Mentoring, sponsoring

It’s also important to mentor and sponsor.

“Mentoring and sponsoring others is one of the most important things that can help a person in a career,” she said.

Mentoring, Brown said, doesn’t have to be an older person helping a younger person or a more experienced employee sharing ideas with a less-experienced person.

Sponsoring another person occurs when someone recognizes an opportunity and recommends that person for it.

“My support group is my friends and family. They can be very helpful, too,” said Brown. “My support people are very honest with me.”

A support group should include people with different perspectives who will be frank, and don’t necessarily have to get along with each other, she said, comparing them to a personal board of directors.

It’s also important for a Girl Scout or adult to take action and not to be afraid to raise their hands or try something new.

“For Girl Scouts, this is really tied to our mission,” Brown said. “It’s really about making the world a better place.”

Women who have been Girl Scouts have higher levels of self-confidence, volunteer more and have a higher income, which applies across all races, she said.

The Girl Scouts' mission:
Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.