More than 50 million Americans are alums of the Girl Scouts of the USA. But since the organization’s founding in 1912, former Girl Scouts never had an efficient way to connect with each other in a common place.
Thanks to a collaboration between Girl Scouts and LinkedIn, however, that will change in the coming months. On Thursday, Girl Scouts announced the formal launch of the Girl Scout Network on LinkedIn.
The page, which is separate from Girl Scouts’ company profile on LinkedIn, is meant as a hub for alums to receive updates about the organization, learn about how to advocate for girls’ and women’s empowerment, and eventually connect directly with each other. The Girl Scouts also plans to analyze public data from member profiles, such as education and leadership experience, to identify career trends, and use those insights to inform their programming for young Girl Scouts.
“We had really been stuck with [the question], ‘How do we reach our alums?” said Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of the Girl Scouts. “LinkedIn created the platform, and we’re using it in a way that fits our movement and model.”
In the past, Girl Scouts of the USA couldn’t easily maintain a relationship with former members after they completed the program. Now Acevedo sees potential for those alums to stay engaged with the organization via LinkedIn, using the site to tap into a network of fellow alums as well as learn about opportunities with local councils.
The Girl Scout Network began as a pilot project last year and has since assembled more than 2,400 members. For now, alums can “follow” the Girl Scout Network and look to make connections with other alums by reaching out to those who like or comment on posts.
There is no way to view the network’s members, but there are plans to develop sub-groups over the summer that people can join in order to make professional connections. That keeps in line with LinkedIn’s approach to prioritizing member privacy and asking users to opt-in to groups with a networking focus. People who join those sub-groups can see the full membership list.
Alyssa Merwin, vice president of Sales Solutions Americas for LinkedIn and a former Girl Scout, said the collaboration with Girl Scouts is a way for LinkedIn to continue giving women “the opportunity to support, encourage, and help each other.”
Merwin said that any member data collected and analyzed by LinkedIn or Girl Scouts would be public information contained in people’s profiles and would reflect their engagement with the Girl Scout Network page. Additionally, analyses would be based on aggregate data instead of individual user data. Insights gleaned from that analysis could include emerging career skills as well as gaps between people’s abilities and what companies want from their employees.
“The Girl Scouts could develop programming and curricula to prepare girls for the future,” Merwin said.
Acevedo, who jokes that “your first resume is really your sash,” is excited to use LinkedIn data to help current Girl Scouts.
“We want to make sure we’re continuing to develop programs, badges, and journeys for the girls, so they have the right skill-set to be really successful in the 21st century,” she said.