Some call it a best-kept secret in leadership recruitment; others call it a business incubator with a 105-year track record. We just call it Girl Scouts.

In Greater Los Angeles alone, there are 40,000 Girl Scouts in the pipeline set to lead in industries where research tells us we need them most: academia, medicine, business, athletics, startups, STEM, and government.

As the largest girl-focused nonprofit in Southern California, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles prepares girls in grades K–12 for a lifetime of leadership through access to impactful experiences, programs, and connections. Not only are Girl Scouts learning skills (like coding, robotics, public speaking, or budgeting)—they are also gaining the confidence and resilience needed to overcome challenges they’ll face in their industries.

Effective management, less corruption, higher profits, and more bills passed in Congress: These are all outcomes tied to female leadership. Leadership, the Girl Scout way, encompasses traits like grit, problem solving, and empathy. In Girl Scouts, girls learn that taking charge means taking action—and this carries into adulthood. In fact, 76% of female U.S. senators and 52% of women in the U.S. House of Representatives were Girl Scouts. And, many successful businesswomen were once Girl Scouts as well, including YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and IBM CEO Virginia Rometty.

Below are just some of the recent stories of Girl Scouts here in LA who are demonstrating leadership as power with purpose. Imagine what they will do as adults in our board rooms, classrooms, science labs, and government offices.

Sasha, Brownie Girl Scout, Grade 2 – Nonprofit founder

Like a Girl Scout, Sasha has channeled her passion for painting to give back and lift up others. Through her nonprofit, the Sasha Project LA, she collects donations by selling hand-painted denim and donating her proceeds to the art therapy programs at Children’s Hospital LA. “Girl Scouts teaches me to be considerate and caring and to help make the world a better place,” she says. After building a robotic car with her Girl Scout troop, she is now thinking about adding technology to her creations.

Rebecca, Sofia, Jenna, and Joan, Senior Girl Scouts, Grade 10 – Architects

As middle schoolers in 2016, these determined Girl Scouts aimed to refurbish their school’s drab cafeteria to earn the Girl Scout Silver Award—this requires troops to develop a project that will change their neighborhood for the better. But with a local designer as their mentor and a benefactor interested in funding a rebuild, their project grew wings: The girls learned architecture, graphic design, and blueprinting. After interviewing community groups and presenting their ideas to school administrators, they completely redesigned the structure to include a new bathroom, bistro-style café, and more. The construction of the space designed by the middle schoolers begins this month.

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