It’s not every day you get to pick the brain of a top executive. But if you’re a Cookie CEO, it’s part of the job description.
Last week, Wendy Davidson, president of U.S. Specialty Channels for The Kellogg Company and Tribute to Achievement honoree, met with a few Cookie CEOs, the top five cookie sellers for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
During the meeting at the Chicago Gathering Place, Davidson, who’s a former Girl Scout, shared business tips, words of wisdom and lessons learned with the young entrepreneurs.
“The leadership skills that you’re learning in Girl Scouts are so important. Everything I’ve learned along the way has prepared me for what’s next,” she said. “Community involvement is also important. Communities don’t happen by accident. They happen when people lean in and invest. You’re doing that already in your communities and I hope you carry that with you.”
As part of her role with Kellogg, Davidson oversees the bakeries responsible for producing the iconic Girl Scout Cookies.
“For me, it was like coming full circle,” she said. “I was at the Louisville [Kentucky] bakery and I was like a little kid. I got to see them make the Thin Mints and got to try one hot off the production line. I was giddy. I think I have one of the best jobs ever.”
Once the Cookie CEOs are in pursuit of their dream jobs, Davidson advised them to “always lend a hand before you need a hand.”
“As you move forward, reach back and help the people behind you,” she said. “Your giving back never stops and your need to receive never stops.”
After their meeting with Davidson, the Cookie CEOs took her advice to heart and payed it forward by sharing cookie-selling strategies with younger Girl Scouts from the GirlSpace program, which brings the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to girls in at-risk communities.
“Girl Scouts has opened a lot of doors for me, so I’m really glad I stayed with it,” said Nina Grotto, a 17-year-old Cookie CEO who raised nearly $18,000 to send about 4,500 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to members of the armed forces through the Gift of Caring program.
Davidson also met with the GirlSpace Girl Scouts, participated in their healthy living program and answered questions about her role with Kellogg.
“One of my favorite parts about my job is partnering with Girl Scouts to help grow and develop future leaders, so that one day you can all take my job,” she said.
Davidson will receive the Luminary Award at this year’s Tribute to Achievement dinner on Monday, April 25. For tickets and more information, please visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.