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Scouting a Path for the Next Generation of Leaders

Scouting a Path for the Next Generation of Leaders

Penske Women's Network members recently hosted the “Take the Lead 2016” leadership training event at Penske's corporate headquarters in Reading, Pennsylvania, for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania.

In strong, confident voices that belied their slight frames, several little girls made their best elevator pitch before a gathering of scouts and leaders from the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (GSEP) and members of the Penske Women’s Network (PWN).

With a tight grip on the microphone and one last deep breath, the youngest scouts spoke about the things that were important to them, including their love of scouting.

It was one of many activities as part of “Take the Lead 2016,” a leadership training event hosted recently by the PWN at Penske’s corporate headquarters in Reading, Pennsylvania, which included sessions on interviewing, networking, presentation skills and dining etiquette.

The training was to prepare the girls for “Take the Lead 2016,” an event to honor area female leaders, which allows the scouts to showcase their networking, and presentation and public speaking skills as they serve as master of ceremonies, award presenters and hosts.

“The point of this is to let girls build their confidence and be comfortable in a business setting,” said Carla Hickey, senior director of community partnerships and giving for GSEP. “Not every 7-year-old, 10-year-old, 12-year-old has had that opportunity.”

Nearly 50 girls from the Berks County area participated in the event, where PWN members served as “table coaches” and facilitators guiding the girls through the activities that offered tips on interviewing, networking, the power of a good handshake, and how to make a good presentation -- skills to help scouts grow into the leaders of tomorrow, demonstrated by the leaders of today.

“They could see opportunities for women to present, to discuss, to be professional and confident. It gave them an opportunity to do the same in front of the people and the coaches at the tables,” said Emily Day, vice president of process improvement in the internal audit department and a co-coordinator of the event.

“It gave them an opportunity to be at the front of the room to do their presentations. I think that is the kind of thing that really is important,” she said. “That experience is what you build on and what you grow to become a leader for tomorrow.”

Exposure to women in varied roles within Penske also sent a message.

“It is important that girls see and talk with professional women. Even the little ones need to understand that women have professional roles in varying capacities, to know what kind of careers are available in a business setting,” Hickey said.

“Our mission is to build girls of courage and character who make the world a better place. This is one way to build their courage and confidence,” she said.

By Bernie Mixon