This CEO Reveals What Helped Her Go From Girl Scout to Entrepreneur
Photo Credit: Marcos Castillo/Shutterstock
According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, girls with an entrepreneurial mindset have a set of qualities — like curiosity and confidence — that are linked to entrepreneurial success. The Girl Scouts’ definition of an “entrepreneurial mindset” merges innovation and strategic risk-taking with a focus on social impact and collaboration.
The conscious consumer in me, the one who actively seeks to support Women Business Enterprises (WBEs), wanted to explore this mindset further. What specific Girl Scout beliefs serve as the foundation to this way of thinking?
I decided to ask Connie Reuther, Girl Scout alum and CEO of Bay Corrugated Container.
When did you first know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
As a little girl, I always knew I wanted to do something special when I grew up, but I didn’t know exactly what it would be. When our family-owned business was undergoing succession planning and we were discussing who could take the reins of our company, I slowly raised my hand and said, “I think I could do it.” I have been the CEO for 16 years now, and I know that my persistent yet gentle nature has been key to growing the business.
What does your company do?
Bay Corrugated Container, which was actually established in 1964, operates as an independent corrugated manufacturer producing custom packaging for the automotive, food and beverage, consumer products, and retail industries. Packaging is a competitive space, but our ability to quickly adapt to change, create new and efficient solutions, and deliver excellent customer service has really helped us stand out. I was fortunate enough to have a “full circle” moment about five years ago. Bay Corrugated Container fulfilled an order for corrugated packaging that was used to pack and ship product from one of the Girl Scouts’ preferred snack co-packagers to one of the main cookie distribution centers.
Describe how "respect" is an important trait/value your business.
Respect really starts with our employees. We are open to everyone’s ideas and we respect them as “subject matter experts” in their own particular areas. Through our training programs, our staff develops a confidence level that is recognized by our customers on every level. Our customers appreciate the extra mile that our team goes to fulfill their orders, and it has been noted on many occasions.
Do you remember any lessons or activities from your Girl Scout days?
I went to Day Camp every year. What I remember most from Day Camp is that there was a list with jobs that needed to be completed, such as retrieving water, building a fire, setting up a tent, etc. Everyone had a job to do. However, if someone didn’t get their task completed, it wasn’t a big deal, everyone just pitched in. There were no complaints; we just helped each other. Teamwork among our troop gave me lifelong skills, especially as a future business leader. I am always happy to step up to help others.
How did being a Girl Scout shape you as a woman business owner?
My mom was a Scout leader, and at the time I didn’t think much of it. She got invited to go to a retreat to Our Cabaña, in Cuernavaca, just outside Mexico City, with other Scout leaders. As I watched her pack, I asked her why she was going, what the purpose was and was she going to talk about us [her troop]? She explained that she would be meeting with other Girl Scout leaders from all over the world, and that it was important to build her own leadership skills from people with diverse backgrounds and diverse ways of thinking. I remember being bewildered that my mother was a Scout leader for reasons other than supporting me. But looking back, learning the importance of personal development, not to mention diversity and inclusion, definitely helped shape my style of leadership.
Bay Corrugated Container is a WBENC certified, WBE, as well as an NMSDC certified MBE business. For more information, visit baycorr.com.