A FORMER GIRL SCOUT’S ADVICE TO THE NEXT GENERATION OF BUSINESS WOMEN
CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Amy Dosik, shares her advice and insights to inspire the next generation of women in business.
5 Minute Read
When we hear the words “girl scout,” it tends to conjure up images of adorable little girls in cute uniforms selling boxes of cookies – this is far from the whole story though.
The Girl Scouts of the USA (better known as simply the Girl Scouts) has been integral in the empowerment of millions of girls all around the country. The youth organization aims to prepare girls of various ages to empower themselves, as well as promote compassion, courage, confidence, character, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
With a solid team of trusted adult volunteers, mentors and millions of alums as guides, Girl Scouts are aided in finding their voices and making changes that affect the issues most important to them, helping to mold them into the leaders of tomorrow.
One of these esteemed mentors is Amy Dosik, a former girl scout and current CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. Since becoming a leader of the organization, Dosik has and continues to play a critical role in developing America’s future entrepreneurs, c-suite executives and business innovators.
Introducing Amy Dosik, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta
Amy Dosik heads the Greater Atlanta chapter of the Girl Scouts, which forms part of the larger Girl Scout movement in the United States, as well as the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts – an organization that sees scouts and guides in hundreds of countries around the globe.
Since earning the CEO position eight years ago, Dosik is responsible for the strategy and success of the organization, as well as ensuring that the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta keep “moving at the speed of girls” – a motto that both her and the institution abide by – and providing their members with the tools and skills they need to be successful adults in college, their future careers and overall community life.
Once a girl scout, always a girl scout
“We truly do believe that once a girl scout, always a girl scout,” Dosik smiles. As a former girl scout herself, Dosik has first-hand knowledge of how going through the program can change your life for the better. And as many other Girl Scout members have done before her, she is now paying it forward by guiding and shaping young minds.
“It all starts with a box of cookies,” Dosik says, as she reminisces on the foundations of who she is today. “I was six years old and my mother said she would not sell the cookies for me. And so, I had to learn to do it myself. I had to get over my fear of talking to adults. I had to make a plan because I had a big goal. I want to sell a lot of boxes of cookies. And by gosh, I did it.”
And it’s as simple as that. One lesson learned years ago has carried her into the CEO position of one of the most successful organizations in America's history. But she’s not the only great leader that the Girl Scouts has produced.
Over the last 110 years, the Girl Scouts have garnered 50 million alumni in the United States alone. Dosik shares with us that this number includes every female Secretary of State, three-quarters of the female Members of Congress, and almost every female astronaut that has flown to space. Not to mention that 80% of female tech executives were once part of the organization. “Girl Scouts go on to do really cool things in life,” Dosik smiles.
She emphasises the latter with a tale of a 16-year-old high school student who invested her community service time distributing food at a local homeless shelter in Atlanta, and from there, went on to start her own successful non-profit that provided toilet paper to all the homeless shelters in Atlanta, and even a few as far as New York and New Jersey.
And that is the power of just one girl and girl scouting. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the many stories that Amy Dosik can tell about the amazing achievements and accomplishments of Girl Scouts in Atlanta and across America. “They’re identifying real-world problems and solutions, and it is just super inspiring to see.”
Leading in a female-dominated space
Naturally, the Girl Scouts organization predominantly consists of female leaders, being a girl-serving entity. “As you might imagine, it makes for a different dynamic in the workplace,” Dosik notes.
Before becoming the CEO of Girl Scouts of Atlanta, Amy Dosik spent many years as a tax attorney, where she worked in a predominantly male-dominated field. When questioned about the changes she experienced once entering the Girl Scouts industry, she had this to say: “It’s interesting what happens when you have more women at the table. Communication goes up, cross-functional collaboration goes up, respect for different ideas and experiences goes up.”
Dosik continues to note the stark differences that women display when being in a male-dominated environment versus a female-dominated one. “When you look at single-gender education and all girl schools, you see very different types of things happen, and those environments are really breeding grounds for leaders who go on to develop skills and be successful.”
In other words, when women are in an environment where they know that they have a seat at the table and that their voice matters, you’ll see them thrive. “We have had a number of our staff members at Girl Scouts go on to actually be executive directors or chief executives of other non-profits here in Atlanta and beyond.”
Advice for tomorrow’s leaders
The CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta is a goldmine for great inspiring stories and even better advice. We asked her what pearls of wisdom she had for the next generation of female leaders, and two pieces of advice stood out.
The first is to take risks and fail more. “I think for many women in particular, they tend to sometimes play it a little bit safe.” Dosik wants women to start taking risks, get outside their comfort zone and try something new, like “maybe applying for a job they don’t feel entirely qualified for.” She notes that one of the best things she did for her career was to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and to lean into getting outside her comfort zone. It’s a lesson she continues to pass on to the Girl Scouts. “Failure is not the end of the world. You can pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going.”
The second piece of advice is to make sure women have both a mentor and a sponsor. As Dosik says, “both are important and they’re different.” She defines a mentor as someone who can help guide you on a path, while she likens a sponsor to a bus driver – someone who knows what your career goals are and can open doors to help you get there.” Dosik firmly believes that sponsorship is the missing element for many women, and can be provided by organizations diversifying their pipelines for women and all other minorities. “It’s not only just the right thing to do – it's a business imperative.”