More than 300 people attended Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s (GSGCNWI) eighth annual Smart Cookies Awards Breakfast on Sept. 20, 2017, at the Union League Club in Chicago. 

This year’s honorees were Rita Sola Cook, Midwest Region Executive, Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Chris-Tia Donaldson, CEO, Thank God It’s Natural; Katy Lynch; Co-founder of Codeverse; and Jennifer Sherman, President and CEO, Federal Signal. 

“This event provides us with the opportunity to honor innovators and entrepreneurs who have stepped outside of their comfort zones, defied gender stereotypes and pursued their passions,” said Kathy Scherer, board president for GSGCNWI. “It is exactly what we hope to inspire in every girl who becomes a Girl Scout.” 

During the breakfast, which raised more than $130,000, guests enjoyed LEGO robot demonstrations from Newton Busters, the GSGCNWI team that placed 10th at world championships earlier this year, as well as the chance to purchase Girl Scout Cookies from a solar-powered cookie booth built by Troop 60194. 

According to the National Science Foundation, half as many girls as boys are interested in STEM careers. While 50 percent of girls ages 7-11 found STEM subjects to be fun and enjoyable, this percentage dropped to 31 percent and 36 percent in the 11-14 range. 

“The older girls get, the more likely they are to be influenced by gender stereotypes,” said Nancy Wright, CEO of GSGCNWI. “But Girl Scouts is changing that. We help girls build their confidence, self-esteem and resilience so they have the necessary qualities to not only survive in male-dominated industries, but thrive.” 

To learn more about how you can get involved with Girl Scouts, visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org

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