06 Apr Cybersecurity Companies Support World’s Largest Entrepreneurial Program For Girls
Girl Scouts of the USA’s national cookie sale is interrupted by Coronavirus, goes virtual
– Steve Morgan, Editor-in-Chief
Sausalito, Calif. – Apr. 6, 2020
$860 million. That’s how much money K-12 Girl Scouts brought in from cookie sales last year. That put the girls in second place, behind Oreo in their category, according to Sylvia Acevedo, CEO at Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA).
2020 was poised to be a banner year for Thin Mints and Do-si-dos until COVID-19 struck the U.S. midway through the girls’ three month selling season, bringing in-person sales to a grinding halt — and putting roughly one-third of their sales at risk.
Suddenly, the corps of 1.7 million girls, and 750,000 supervising adults, received marching orders from their leader — the troops were setting up shop online. Acevedo wasn’t going to let social distancing put a damper on the girls’ spirits.
If there’s a will, there’s a way. The Girl Scouts were determined, and they summoned up the courage to go all-in on a virtual sales model. Local troops across the country turned to homegrown e-commerce — a patchwork of email, digital cookie booths, social media, videos, and working the phones.
Acevedo, an author, entrepreneur, engineer, and rocket scientist, leads by example. She sent an email to her own contacts, including Cybercrime Magazine, informing that the Girl Scouts selling season was being extended, and how we could help:
“As you consider ways to uplift your neighbors, first responders, volunteers and healthcare workers, please consider showing your thanks with a gift of Girl Scout cookies. Here’s the link, and thanks for helping our girls see the ways people can come together during a crisis.”
Here’s the link she provided for corporate cookie purchases and donations: girlscouts.org/cookiecare
Cybercrime Radio: Sylvia Acevedo, CEO at Girl Scouts of the USA
Cybersecurity, cookie sales, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cybercrime Magazine responded to the call by placing a $1,000 cookie order — which was donated to Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare provider with 72,000 employees serving NYC, Long Island and Westchester.
Then we started dialing up our colleagues in the cybersecurity community. CyberArk, the leader in privileged access management, was first to respond, with a pledge to buy $1,000 worth of cookies for an organization in their hometown of Boston — which has a charter to feed children whose meals have been interrupted by school closings due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, who generously gives to numerous women in technology and cybersecurity not-for-profit organizations, answered our call and pledged $1,000 for cookies that will be donated in his local area.
One company was a step ahead of us. Ann Johnson, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s Cybersecurity Solutions Group (CSG), got behind Ken Malcomson, a chief security advisor on her team, in support of Girl Scout cookie sales in western Washington state. Johnson spread the word to other Microsofties who bought in — which helped the local area sell more than 20,000 boxes of cookies this season, double their target.
Acevedo told us that there are more than one million Scouts involved with cookie sales — and by participating they learn business skills including sales and customer service, and financial management.
It’s no surprise then that in North America, more than half of all successful female entrepreneurs got their start in GSUSA. Acevedo says that most female CEOs at U.S. corporations were Girl Scouts at one point in their lives.
GSUSA is long known for teaching girls how to build character and interpersonal relationships. With Acevedo at the helm, there’s been a major push in providing the girls with STEM education, and over the past two years that includes cybersecurity.
The results are impressive. One thousand Brownies signed up for the first cybersecurity program, and to date 128,000 girls have earned cybersecurity badges. Altogether, more than 1 million girls in K-12 have earned STEM badges.
The Girl Scouts have a lot of moxie, and it’s exciting to think that many of them are our future cyber fighters.
Getting involved with GSUSA’s national cookie sale is a welcome distraction, and yet at the same time it’s a way for us to help. If you’re inspired to buy and donate Girl Scouts cookies, then go to girlscouts.org/cookiecare.
Oh and if you decide to send the editors at Cybercrime Magazine a box (we’re all out), then our favorite is Thin Mints!
– Steve Morgan is founder and Editor-in-Chief at Cybersecurity Ventures.