What if Girls Ran the World?


August 12, 2010

Girl Scouts of the USA
Shonda Prince

New York, N.Y. — On August 11, 2010, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) hosted an engaging panel discussion with young women leaders entitled, "What If Girls Ran the World?" at its headquarters building.

The annual event, opened to external audiences for the first time ever, was moderated by Kimberlee Salmond, senior researcher, Girl Scout Research Institute, and gave audience members an opportunity to hear—and ask questions about—the views of six impressive high school and college-age Girl Scouts: Malia, Vivian, Antonia ("Toni"), Taylor, Angeles, and Morgan. Many of these young women completed major public service projects in the course of earning the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award, and all discussed their views on everything from healthy body image to how leadership is defined.

When asked about the biggest issue facing girls today, Taylor acknowledged "pressure from society to change the way girls see themselves. It seems as if society wants women to see themselves as objects and not people—and to objectify ourselves constantly."

Angeles had this to say about defining leadership: "In order to be a great leader, a leader must lead—and follow. There are many aspects to leadership. For example, (President) Obama is a positive leader, because he is trying to bring greatness to this country. A negative example of a leader was Hitler, who was a leader for all the wrong reasons."

Added Vivian, "Leadership is about creating an environment that fosters growth and development. Leadership is not about power over others, but about empowering others to be the best they can be."

Kathy Cloninger, chief executive officer of GSUSA, remarked that she was "jazzed" about the event's topic, continuing, "Those of us in Girl Scouts have been thinking about leadership much more intentionally over the last several years … and we know that this country and this world will be a much healthier place when women and men are co-leading all of our institutions and companies in the public (and private) sector."

GSUSA International Commissioner Debra Nakatomi, founder of Nakatomi & Associates, addressed the room of 150: "At Girl Scouts, we embrace our very important role of being the voice for girls. Girls provide really good insights for learning and informing our work. They are making important decisions that shape all of our futures."

Some of the audience members included representatives of P.L.A.N., U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, generation ON—Points of Light Institute, Girls Learn, Unilever/Dove, and more.

To see a recorded Web stream of the "What If Girls Ran the World?" event, please visit www.ustream.tv/channel/what-if-girls-ran-the-world.

About Girl Scouts
Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with 3.3 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls' healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls living overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect, or donate to Girl Scouts, call (800) GSUSA 4 U (800-478-7248) or visit www.girlscouts.org.