This CEO Explains How She Went From Girl Scout To Running Her Own Business
According to the Girl Scouts’ “Award & Badge Explorer” guide, girls earn Daisy Petals between the ages of 5 and 7. These “petals” consist of 10 foundational life skills. Among them is the premise to “respect oneself and others.”
Knowing that respect is one of the most powerful tools in business, I wondered if there was a connection between what young Daisies learn and what they put to use later in life as entrepreneurs.
My research led me to Mia Medina, Girl Scout alum and founder and CEO of Gather Brands.
When did you first know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I am not sure I ever really knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur; I just knew that a career was very important to me. When I was a little girl, I would visit my dad during the summer. Every time I arrived, I would set up an “office” in the garage equipped with a desk, a telephone (real but nonworking), duplicate message pad (to take all the messages on my nonworking phone), and a duplicate receipt book to track all my sales. I actually don’t even remember what I was selling, but there was definitely enough velocity to keep tabs on. As I got older, my path changed a couple of times — nursing, outdoor industry, natural products, etc. — and here I am, Gather Brands.
What does your company do?
We are a sales consulting company that works with female-founded, women-owned brands in their efforts to expand into the Natural Channel of grocery retail. Gather Brands was launched out of necessity and passion. My necessity to create an income for myself after being laid off due to COVID, and my passion for emerging brands in the Natural Channel. I have always recognized that women create products out of purpose and/or passion. Oftentimes, the missing link for them is how to get their products on the shelf of retailers. That’s where we come in.
Describe how respect is an important trait and value your business?
Respect plays a huge role for me both personally and professionally. I am a believer that respect is one of those things where usually, you get what you give. Obviously on the personal front, we want to be surrounded by those who respect and appreciate us. That comes down to the very basic principle of treating others how you would want to be treated. It is very important to set boundaries for ourselves so that we are in relationships that are built on respect and trust. This goes the same for business. There are a lot of different aspects where this is concerned, some within our control, and some outside of it.
Do you remember any lessons or activities from your Girl Scout days?
While I can’t recall any specific activities from my Brownie/Girl Scout days, the overall feeling that comes to mind when I think about my time is one of inclusion and teamwork. We worked together for many years on projects from volunteer work, to selling our beloved Girl Scout cookies, as well as overnights and field trips. The feeling was always overwhelming excitement and acceptance — doesn’t get much better than that.
How did being a Girl Scout shape you as a female business owner?
Drawing on the above, there is an element that I gained from Girl Scouts that really made doing good feel good. I would go on to harness this feeling later in life through volunteering in a women’s shelter, and even more epic was the time I spent volunteering for Amigos de Las Americas, a junior Peace Corps that I now serve on the board of. I really believe that the foundation for this was from the time I spent as a young Girl Scout learning that, even at such a young age, I could make a difference, and I continue to want to keep making a difference in both my personal and professional life.
Gather Brands is a female-owned business focusing on women-owned and women-run companies in the CPG industry. For more information, visit gatherbrands.com.