Marie Gieringer has served as the CFO of Girl Scouts-Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas since 2015. She oversees accounting, product program, retail and troop finances.
Before Girl Scouts, Gieringer spent seven years at a regional public accounting firm, JPMS Cox PLLC. While there, she obtained her CPA license and served clients in several industries with nonprofits as a primary niche.
Gieringer graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a double major in accounting and personal financial planning. She is a graduate of the American Institute of CPAs’ Leadership Academy. She was also part of the Arkansas Society of CPA’s inaugural Emerging CPAs’ Conference and Women’s Leadership Summit committees. She serves on the society’s board of directors.
Gieringer was a member of the 2011 class of Arkansas Business 20 in Their 20s.
How has the Boy Scouts allowing girls into their organization affected the Girl Scouts, if at all?
It hasn’t significantly affected us. Girls enjoy being in a girl-only organization. Our model is centered on being girl-led, learning-by-doing and cooperative learning, which resonates strongly with today’s girls. Girl Scouts remains focused on building courage, confidence and character.
What is the relationship between the business community and the Girl Scouts? What benefits do they offer one another?
Girl Scouts has deep connections with the business community. Many businesses serve our girls as program partners, providing girls exciting program opportunities that center on their areas of expertise. Girls elect to pursue their path of programming through our Discover, Connect and Take Action model. Business partners provide girls a variety of things to “discover,” they “connect” with those with specialized expertise, and they “take action” to engage in a program centered on that interest.
What challenges does the organization face amid COVID-19, and how is it dealing with that? Has the pandemic afforded the organization new, unexpected opportunities?
Girl Scouts has a history of adapting and persevering. Our girls, volunteers, staff and board were innovative as they determined new ways to keep girls and volunteers connected and keep the Girl Scout experience going strong. Our girls were still earning badges, speaking up for what they believe in, helping their communities, working on higher awards, participating in the skill-building Cookie Program and spending time together outdoors.
As we come out of such a difficult time in our world, we recognize girls’ interests have shifted. We continue to evaluate how we can meet girls where they are and focus on programming that interests them. One thing we became keenly aware of during this time is the mental health of the girls we serve. We took steps to adjust our programming regarding their physical ability to join in and where they are mentally. Now, more than ever, Girl Scouts fills a vital need for girls to connect and remain engaged in their increasingly complicated world.
What are the key things the Girl Scouts want to teach its participants?
We focus on five critical outcomes: healthy relationships, a strong sense of self, positive values, community problem-solving and challenge-seeking. These outcomes result in a happier and healthier girl who is more engaged in school, a robust job applicant and an active and engaged citizen.
How does the organization plan to grow in the next 10 years?
Girl Scouts moves as quickly as our girls do. We are constantly adapting our programming and delivery model to meet girls where they are and keep pace with today’s girls’ needs. We are also focused on giving volunteers the tools they need to succeed, which we will continue to modify moving forward. Volunteers are the key to our ability to grow. They are our critical transaction, leading our girls as confident and caring role models.