Work and Money
From Girl Scout to CEO: Upside Thinking With Lisa Marie Platske
Girl Scouts is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with a research-proven program that helps them cultivate essential skills they need to take the lead in their own lives and the world. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), the foundation of the Girl Scout program, features a variety of fun, challenging, and experiential activities that empower girls as they develop various attitudes, skills, and behaviors essential to effective leadership.
Girl Scout alum, business owner, and CEO Lisa Marie Platske is a perfect example of the effect of the GSLE.
When did you first know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I never wanted to be an entrepreneur, because I didn’t even know it was an option. But, after I got married and left law enforcement, the first notion about it came from seeking opportunities that would provide freedom, fun, and flexibility. Teaching leadership how I understood it and offering strategies, wisdom, and insights — a new skillset — to leaders outside of law enforcement and government to increase their leadership IQ or acumen felt like a natural fit.
What services does your company offer?
Upside Thinking provides leadership coaching, consulting, and mentorship through events, retreats, and private work. Our clients are leaders, influencers, and world-changers. We offer a blend of business practicality with spiritual guidance as we focus on the internal journey leaders must take to excel in their organizations. We’ve been doing this for 18 years, and are rooted in the core values of excellence, accountability, and responsibility.
Which Girl Scout traits carried over into your business?
Honesty. You can’t have a business without it, much like you can’t build a castle on sand. A foundation of honesty is of utmost importance to have both “in-house” and in doing business with others; transparency and honesty allow for trust, which is the basis for all healthy relationships.
Courage. Courageous leadership is critical to being a leader worth following. If you intend to change the world, it requires courage while often serving to inspire others. As a business owner, there is a responsibility to oversee everything, maintain hope in the face of challenges, and then respond with creative action. This daily effort and commitment require courage, doing the hard thing that is right, rather than what might be easy or familiar. As a leader leading others, I believe it is important to set an example and live by the principles I speak about daily. When you embody it, you permit others to take courageous action of their own.
Service. Servant leadership allows you to make a positive difference in the world. When you choose to serve others for the overall good, you model that work for others, and the ripples go out to touch more lives.
Respect: This is interesting because it is both given and earned. It is a way of living that requires my being able to see myself and others through the eyes of love and with love… and hopefully, that is something that also earns me respect. Putting this fundamental quality into action creates a healthy and sustainable work culture.
Imagining that your professional life is a continuation of the Girl Scout program, what professional award/recognition ("badge") have you been the proudest to earn?
Badges of gratefulness and bravery.
Gratefulness has changed me, having me remember, see, and appreciate what I have. Bravery has enabled me to face what scares me and take action amid challenges and difficulties despite being afraid I may fail. It’s also allowed me to be more compassionate for myself and see the world from new perspectives.
What does the 110th Anniversary of Girl Scouts mean to you?
Thinking about the millions of women who have walked this path over the past 110 years is humbling. I’m honored to be part of an organization that has had a massive impact and influence on the planet for over a century. I’m grateful for my mom’s vision to sign me up years ago during a difficult time in her life.
How did being a Girl Scout shape you as a woman business owner?
Being a Girl Scout taught me how to be resilient before I understood what resilience meant. As a business owner, I often face challenges that may knock me down. From being a Girl Scout, the idea of “getting back up” is ingrained in me. Instead of giving up, I learn from a situation and figure out other ways to solve a problem while remaining committed to doing right — what I consider to be character. My business requires me to be flexible, and kind to myself and others on my team as we face something daunting. By meeting challenges and overcoming them, I strengthen myself and gain confidence and competence. And as I do my best, the company, the individuals in it, and the clients all “win.” Being a lifetime Girl Scout has me wired to be prepared, resourceful when I might fail, and still do good in the world regardless of the situation.
I am deeply grateful for the core values and experiences from my time with the Girl Scouts. Simply put, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.