EP. 119 Sometimes you need to leave basecamp to find the trail…. Leanna Clark and the Girl Scouts’ DreamLab
Laurie McGraw is speaking with Inspiring Woman Leanna Clark, CEO of Girl Scouts Colorado who paved the way for the first ever Girl Scouts DreamLab.
When you think about the Girl Scouts, what do you think about? Maybe your favorite cookie? (Thin Mints anyone?). But then in February of 2023, the CDC published a devastating report on US Teen Girls with 3 of 5 experiencing sadness or hopelessness. And then in March, the Girl Scouts, the oldest and largest girls’ organization in the US did something remarkable. They opened the Girl Scouts DreamLab. A first of its kind physical space built for girls, designed by girls where you can experience everything it means to be a Girl Scout.
What does it mean to be a Girl Scout? It means pushing limits, building resiliency and confidence, learning skills in key areas like STEM, in a supported and supportive environment. This space is meant to build the leaders of tomorrow.
We need solutions for the health and well-being of girls. And we need more Girl Scouts and more DreamLabs. And don’t forget to get your Thin Mints.
Hear Leanna talk about:
Her Career Journey
- Like a Girl Scout actually –many instances of really stretching for that next objective while armed with skills, confidence, and a sisterhood of support.
- Not your typical CEO background – POWERFUL but often under-appreciated skills of relationships that build partnerships and effective communication are foundational for a CEO
Girl Scouts: More than just Cookies…..
- …and campfires and crafts. It’s a premiere leadership organization.
- To be a Girl Scout means pushing limits, building resiliency and confidence, learning skills in key areas like STEM, in a supported and supportive environment.
- Ribbon cutting March 2023 in Denver. The First but not the last.
- A space where you can experience everything it means to be a Girl Scout.
- A place for Girl Scouts to meet and troops to gather. Also open to the public.
It’s hard to be a girl: 3 of 5 teen girls feel sad or hopeless (CDC)
- Girl Scouts can be one of the solutions and for the different stages a girl may be in.
- Recognizing a “rainbow of feelings”; what do healthy relationships look like; focusing on positive body image and providing the support of a community that is bigger than yourself.
Her absolute favorite thing:
- Spending time with any one of 1 million Girl Scouts in the US or 2 million across the globe
Leanna Clark is CEO of Girl Scouts of Colorado, the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. GSCO is a statewide nonprofit with 125 full-time employees, more than 22,000 members and 10,000 adults dedicated to building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. As CEO, Clark sets organizational vision and strategy, oversees all operations, and works to expand visibility and create opportunities for strategic partnerships.
Leanna has more than 25 years of business experience, including 12 years as a small business owner of one of Denver’s largest marketing and public relations firms, as well as roles in Denver’s corporate, foundation and nonprofit communities.
Most recently, Leanna served as Vice Chancellor of University Communications for the University of Colorado Denver. In this role, she served on the senior leadership team of an institution with more than 7,000 employees and 17,000 students, directing strategy and overseeing a team all internal and external communications and marketing as well as spearheading development of key community and business partnerships that advanced the university’s mission.
Before joining CU in 2010, Leanna founded and led PhilanthroTravel, a major division of the international nonprofit Project C.U.R.E. that works in more than 120 countries nationwide. In this capacity, she drove fundraising and designed and led nearly 20 trips to Cuba, Panama, Mexico, and Belize with U.S. business and community leaders, designed to help them experience travel to developing nations in a way that helps them give back.
She also directed communications and led the foundation for IMA Financial Group, one of the nation’s leading risk management companies. Previously, as principal and co-owner of marketing PR firm Schenkein, she ran one of the largest agencies in the Rocky Mountain Region, helping client organizations elevate their brands and protect their reputations, on a local, national, and international scale. She began her career as a Denver radio reporter and a TV reporter and anchor for an ABC affiliate in Nebraska.
Leanna currently serves on the boards of directors for the Denver Public Schools Foundation, the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Forum of Colorado, the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, and the RISE Society. She has served on a variety of other boards, including the Red Cross, Colorado Public Radio, and Public Education and Business Coalition.
Leanna has been recognized One of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Colorado by the Colorado Women’s Chamber and has been named a Woman of Distinction by the Girls Scouts of Colorado. She’s also been honored twice by the Denver Business Journal as a “PowerBook” award recipient and one of the “Forty Under 40” top young business leaders. She’s received national recognition from the Universal Press Syndicate as part of its “Workwise” Awards, honoring innovation and creativity among workplace leaders. In addition, she was named a ‘Woman of Achievement’ by the Association for Women in Communications.
A Colorado native, she holds a degree in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder.