Going. Ahead. With Gage: Interview with Kursten Mitchell, CMO of the Girl Scouts of Central Texas

“By bringing more girls into Girl Scouting, we will help more girls embrace their ambition and their potential, and our community will be better for it.”

It’s time for another GAWG and the last one of 2019! My interviewee is Kursten Mitchell, the CMO of the Girl Scouts of Central Texas, a person I look up to daily, a badass woman in leadership and marketing, and an all around phenomenal human — enjoy the read!

As the CMO of the Girl Scouts of Central Texas, what’s the big impact you hope to make on the organization and the young girls who are a part of it?

My number one goal as the CMO of the Girl Scouts of Central Texas is to help bring more girls into Girl Scouting. In my professional life, as well as in my personal life as the mother of three Girl Scouts, I’ve witnessed the tremendous impact the program has on girls — encouraging them to try new things, develop their confidence, and practice leadership. A lot of people think of Girl Scouts as cookies, camps, and crafts, and we certainly do those things. But girls gain so much more through their Girl Scout experience. By bringing more girls into Girl Scouting, we will help more girls embrace their ambition and their potential, and our community will be better for it.

What are 2 goals you have for the Girls Scouts in 2020?

In 2020, I’d like to:

  • Help more people understand the relevance of Girl Scouting today — understand what it’s really all about and the benefits.
  • Encourage more people to financially support Girl Scouts so we can serve more girls.

“Companies with more women in leadership are more profitable and that teams that embrace diversity (in its many forms) are more creative.”

As a woman in leadership, what trends are you excited to see more of in 2020?

I’m excited to see more organizations embrace the value of positioning women in top leadership roles. The unfortunate reality is that this trend is not up and to the right, but it’s being talked about more and more, and I do foresee a change. Studies show that companies with more women in leadership are more profitable and that teams that embrace diversity (in its many forms) are more creative. There are tangible benefits to equity and inclusion, and I look forward to seeing more organizations purposefully build teams in recognition of these facts.

What’s your secret passion?

I’m not sure if it’s a secret, but I love road tripping. The U.S. is an amazing, big, and beautiful place, and you see so much more of it and with a lot more detail and nuance on a road trip.

What’s something you’ve learned in your career that’s inspired you to keep pushing forward?

You are infinitely more likely to get what you want if you go/ask for it than if you don’t.

“Innovation without failure is just luck.”

How do you encourage creative and innovative thinking?

Creative and innovative thinking happens when you make it clear that you know good ideas can come from anywhere (and you mean it), and when you make it safe for your team (including yourself) to fail, because innovation without failure is just luck.

“Leadership is an attitude, a way of being, and a way of thinking.”

What advice do you have for young women working towards being in leadership roles?

Leadership is an attitude, a way of being, and a way of thinking that isn’t achieved simply by being placed in a leadership role. If you aspire to be a leader you can practice and demonstrate leadership attributes everyday in every role. So always take advantage of that ability to practice. And as I mentioned above, ask for what you want.

What is one of the most difficult decisions you’ve made in your career and what did you learn from it?

One of the most difficult decisions I’ve made was to leave a job because of cultural and philosophical differences. As I’ve grown in my life and career, I’ve learned that no matter how great your set up is, if you’re not personally aligned, it’s hard to continue on.

I love book recommendations to help me grow in my career and challenge my thinking – What books would you recommend as a must-read for career growth and/or just fictional fun?

Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of business books, but I love Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage. For fictional fun, I encourage people to revisit YA fiction. You’ll miss some great books if you skip the YA section just because you’re no longer a young adult. Read We Were Liars and you’ll see what I mean.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next #GAWG!

— Gage Grammer

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