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Tough Cookies: Leadership Lessons from 100 Years of the Girl Scouts Hardcover – October 18, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 181 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118000048
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118000045
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place."

The Girl Scouts' Mission Statement sounds simple enough. But organizing 2.3 million girls and 880,000 adult members to execute a strategy of turning today's girls into tomorrow's leaders is hardly a jaunt in the woods. It takes an efficient, focused, and determined organization that knows who it is and where it's going. Tough Cookies captures the essence of this iconic institution and the principles that have sustained its 100-year history of success.

Less than a decade ago, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) faced a coming crisis. Girls were changing, and Girl Scouts struggled to fit into the modern family's busy schedule. On top of that, the organization's unwieldy structure, comprised of 300 disparate councils, undermined its ability to deliver leadership to girls. GSUSA needed to reassert itself as an institution that mattered. In order to execute its strategy, it would need to undergo a restructuring virtually unprecedented in the non-profit sector, merging its 300 councils down to 112 that would each serve tens of thousands of girls.

Full of inspired wisdom, Tough Cookies describes Girl Scouts' transformative journey to become an integrated, unified movement for girls. Learn how this massive non-profit addressed its most pressing challenges, including how to:

  • Rebrand itself not just as a gaggle of cute girls selling cookies and camping, but as the most important organization for girl culture

  • Create the world's best personal leadership development model for girls

  • Provide efficient and effective governance to deliver scouting to girls

  • Make it easier for volunteers to lead troops

  • Attract donors

  • Remain democratic and mission-focused throughout the merger process

Millions of American businesswomen, thought leaders, and politicians received their first lessons in salesmanship, money management, marketing, teamwork, and fulfillment from Girl Scouts—as will millions more to come. Discover how lessons from Girl Scouts of the USA can help your organization achieve such lasting success.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Tough Cookies

"Tough Cookies makes it clear how badly we need more women in leadership today—and offers a compelling road map for getting where we need to be. If you care about the future, read this book."
Ilene H. Lang, President & CEO, Catalyst

"Remarkable and essential! In Tough Cookies, Kathy Cloninger draws on a rich blend of personal experience, wide-ranging research, and on-target insight to show how to tap America's most valuable potential resource: the leadershippotential of girls. I can't think of a better resource for the Year (or the Decade) of the Girl."
Sally Helgesen, coauthor of The Female Vision and author of The Female Advantage

"Guided by a transcendent mission and Kathy Cloninger's courageous leadership, the Girl Scouts have transformed themselves for a new century. Tough Cookies is a compelling story of organizational renewal—told from the inside—that will serve as an inspiration for all leaders everywhere."
Willie Pietersen, author of Reinventing Strategy

"For the millions of former Girl Scouts who continue to live the Promise, Tough Cookies touches our hearts. For the millions who are just learning about the Girl Scouts, this book helps chart a bright future."
Frances Hesselbein, President and CEO, Leader to Leader Institute; former CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA

"Tough Cookies shows what vision, courage, and an unflinching dedication to mission can accomplish. Kathy Cloninger makes it clear that the Girl Scouts—and girls—rank high among our nation's treasures."
Johnnetta Betsch Cole, PhD, President Emerita, Spelman College and Bennett College for Women

"Kathy Cloninger has captured the excitement and boundless promise of the transformation of Girl Scouting. If you want to know how to make a great (and irreplaceably valuable) organization greater, this is the book for you."
Connie Lindsey, Executive Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Northern Trust


More About the Author

Kathy Cloninger (New York, NY; www.girlscouts.org) is the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA). On her arrival at Girl Scout headquarters in 2003, Cloninger launched a sweeping transformation of the entire Girl Scout Movement, renewing and revitalizing its commitment to developing girls' leadership capabilities, and implementing a new strategic business plan affecting every major area of organizational activity: programs, volunteerism, brand, funding, and structure/governance.

Under her leadership, Girl Scouts has completed a nationwide merger of local affiliates. This restructuring effort, virtually unprecedented in the nonprofit sector, has greatly enhanced the organization's ability to deliver programs and services to girls. Cloninger is a recognized leader in the not for profit sector, serving on boards of the National Assembly of Human Services, the National Council for Research on Women, American Humanics, ad Leadership 18. Cloninger was named to the NPT Power and Influence Top 50 by the Nonprofit Times in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Customer Reviews

Well done, a fun and motivational read.
Ronda Beaman
I'm a Girl Scout leader with a career in program management so I thought this would be a great book to hit both those points.
Rebecca
I have met & have listened to the author recently and she is awesome to listen to.
T. Patton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ronda Beaman on October 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As someone who experienced the power and promise Girl Scouts can offer, I applaud the compilation of inspiring stories that can inspire and ignite interest in scouting today, As director of leadership studies at a major university, it is refreshing to see women's stories of leadership, courage and conviction.As author of a memoir that honors the role Girl Scouts played in helping me get through a challenging childhood, i took solace and felt a kinship with the essays presented in Tough Cookies. Thanks to Girl Scouts, the stories in this book prove that we don't crumble! Well done, a fun and motivational read.
You're Only Young Twice: 10 Do-Overs to Reawaken Your Spirit
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By greenlady1 on January 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a Girl Scout Volunteer or parent of a Girl Scout and are having a difficult time understanding all the changes being made in the organization, then I suggest reading this book. It's written in plain, oridnary language, easy to understand terms and lots of relatable situations. I as a volunteer Facilitator for our council read this book and it made everything seem so much more clear to me, as to WHY things are changing the way they are, which had never really been explained in quite the way this book does it. It's well worth the money and helps you understand the direction the our National CEO is taking us into the future..
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca on November 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I'm a Girl Scout leader with a career in program management so I thought this would be a great book to hit both those points. It did, but the problem is that it seems that the book is intended for a lot of different audiences and doesn't cover any one set of interests in great detail. It was interesting to see GSUSA from a top-down perspective, but the ever-present "give us help" message was still in there. From a business perspective it touched on some great points, but didn't delve into any of them enough to make those topics transferrable to another organization.

It's definitely worth a read, but I went in with too high of expectations. Kathy is a great storyteller.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Inquiring Mind on November 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The focus on business, marketing and leadership discourages today's girls from going into the fields of art, music, writing, science, inventing and many other areas where people prefer to work, and do better work, alone. Business and marketing essentially sell what loners have created, people who have the quiet and time and encouragement to experiment and fail, dream and create. Not all girls are alike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Katherine C. Stevenson on January 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent information and analysis of Girl Scouts USA transformation to the needs of 21st Century young girls. Quite impressive statistics about the long reaching benefits of girl scout programs in preparing girls and women to take leadership roles throughout American business and culture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By evanlucky13 on November 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
We all know and love them, and hardly anyone loves any t ime more than girl scout cookie time. But we often forget that this orgnaization's business model is nothign short of spectacular. We don't just like these cookies we LOVE them. Truly an amazing example and read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By yoderconni on November 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kathy Cloninger, most recent CEO of GSUSA, is awe-inspiring. She inspired us as our CEO, and she continues to inspire us through her book. She was and is instrumental in turning the image of Girl Scouting from a group of cute girls selling cookies and camping to being the pre-eminent leadership development program available to girls in the United States and the world. All 3 million current Girl Scouts and 5 million alumna owe her a world of gratitude.
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