The program, Girl Scout Cookies and the Supply Chain, shows Girl Scouts how supply chain management impacts how and when products arrive in stores — while inspiring girls to see themselves working in the industry in the future. Girls from South Florida and around the country were awarded the patch Dec. 12 as part of a virtual event showing how the supply chains work (including the world’s largest girl-run business — Girl Scout Cookies).
The concept and curriculum used to teach the girls was developed through a partnership between GSTF, Ryder and the University of Tennessee’s Global Supply Chain Institute.
“Development of a new Girl Scout patch, particularly one as timely as supply chain management, is a real achievement,” said Lori Ross, director of girl experience for GSTF. “This was an incredible opportunity for us to partner with Ryder and the University of Tennessee to teach girls about this exciting field, especially because we can connect it to our own supply chain, cookie sales, and distribution, which the Girl Scouts pioneered.”
The 43 girls who earned the patch were actively engaged in learning the journey of a Girl Scout cookie, as well as other well-known products that rely on a nationwide supply chain, including Domino’s Pizza. They also heard from women in the supply chain and logistics fields about how the supply chain affects everyone’s lives.
Every year, Girl Scouts sell and distribute more than 200 million boxes of cookies nationwide and one billion worldwide. In South Florida, GSTF sells and distributes more than 400,000 boxes of cookies each year.
Through its charitable foundation, Ryder sponsors the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida, the University of Tennessee’s Global Supply Chain Institute and the university’s NeXxus Initiative, which focuses on creating a more diverse student body, including young women. Ryder provides annual scholarships to top NeXxus participants in supply chain fields, including 11 female students in 2020.
“Ryder is proud to partner with the Girl Scouts, who are truly pioneers in the workings of the supply chain,” said Amy Federman, executive director of the Ryder Charitable Foundation. “Working with two of our great partners to create this patch, we’re committed to attracting more women to the industry. Including girls in that effort ensures that the introduction to logistics and supply chain concepts starts early.”
Mary Long, managing director of the Global Supply Chain Institutes’ Supply Chain Forum at the University of Tennessee (UT), who has also held leadership roles with major brands including Domino’s Pizza, Pillsbury and General Mills, worked with GSTF and Ryder to develop the curriculum.
“Part of the curriculum strategy included young women who are top college supply chain students at UT to talk about why they chose the field,” she said. “Videos and live interaction with these students, alumni, and veterans like myself, made the program fun and relevant for the girls.”
Jessica Thomas, president of NeXxus, and the recipient of a Ryder Supply Chain Scholarship, led the effort, creating a video presentation for the girls. Thomas will graduate in 2021 and begin her career at PepsiCo.
“The goal is for these girls to learn, get excited about supply chains, and imagine themselves as leaders in the industry one day,” Thomas explained.
GSTF plans to work with the national Girl Scouts organization to roll out the Girl Scout Cookies and the Supply Chain curriculum to other local chapters in 2021.
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