Girl Scouts 1Companies need to understand their customers’ needs and wants to successfully sell their product – whether it’s a multi-million-dollar aircraft or a $4 box of Girl Scout cookies. 

Girl Scouts Learn Business Savvy at Cookie University

Tue Jan 19, 2016 at 04:45 PM

Girl Scouts 1Companies need to understand their customers’ needs and wants to successfully sell their product – whether it’s a multi-million-dollar aircraft or a $4 box of Girl Scout cookies.

Customer insight was just one of several business concepts taught to about 200 area Girl Scouts attending the recent Cookie University at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

College of Business faculty members, along with student volunteers, spent the day training girls ages 5 to 18 to be smart saleswomen during this year’s cookie season. In its third year at Embry-Riddle, the event was organized by Dr. Dawna Rhoades - chair of the college’s Management, Marketing, and Operations department – along with the Office of Community Outreach and Summer Programs and Girl Scouts of Citrus.

A Girl Scout alumna herself, Dr. Rhoades and her colleagues used Girl Scouts’ materials to deliver lessons about customer service, marketing, money management, creativity and entrepreneurship. Other participating faculty and staff from the College of Business included: Dr. Scott Ambrose, Cheryl Cunningham, Kathryn Cunningham, Dr. Tamilla Curtis, Pamela Daniels, Shirley Fedorovich, Jenny Hinebaugh, John Ledgerwood, Dr. John Longshore and Dr. Bert Zarb.

Dr. John Longshore, an assistant professor of management, encouraged the girls to listen to clues, ask questions and learn from those who don’t buy. He also let the girls in on a secret – moms aren’t the only ones who buy cookies.

“Dads like cookies too,” he said.

Girl Scouts 3One of Longshore’s young students, 10-year-old Cecelia McCabe of Altamonte Springs, said she learned how to ask people to buy cookies. And for people who don’t want to keep the cookies, Cecelia said they can donate them to soldiers in the military.

Since 1917, the Girl Scout Cookie Program has been an integral part of Girl Scouts’ focus on financial literacy and business skills by teaching leadership development, financial skills, and personal growth. 

Memories of cookie selling and other Girl Scouts experiences inspired civil engineering junior Kirsten Fawcett to spend part of her weekend volunteering at Cookie University.

“It was definitely a good way to prepare myself for things like going to college,” she said of Girl Scouts.

Fawcett said cookie selling helped her develop people skills, while other Girl Scout activities taught her about management by working in group settings.

“You don’t realize the skills you learn from Girl Scouts until you’re using them,” Fawcett said. “It (Girl Scouts) definitely forms you into a different person.”

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at

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