Girl Scouts Appoints Christine Cea as Chief Communications Executive

Talking points on freezing thin mints, please?

From celebrating community to healthy living and entrepreneurship, the Girl Scouts are known for many things.

To some, they are immediately associated with cookies. For others, some 1.9 million of them, it is a life-changing organization that creates pioneering girls for a future generation.

There is a rich history behind the Girl Scouts’ first century — branding, messaging, creating and yes, selling all those diet-buster snacks in front of grocery stores. For its next century, or at least for the foreseeable future, it has someone new in charge of that branding and messaging.

Christine Cea HeadshotMeet Christine Cea, new chief communications executive of the Girl Scouts of America (and former Girl Scout herself), who will earn her PR badge from GSUSA chief marketing and communications officer Lynn Godfrey.

Cea made a nice name for herself as a senior director of marketing communications at Unilever for the past eight years. And then, as a global consumer brand marketing practice leader at Porter Novelli. In short, girl’s got skills.

We’re delighted to have Christine join Girl Scouts as the movement’s communications leader,” said Godfrey. “She brings a wealth of experience to our organization, and we know with her leadership, Girl Scouts will continue to spread our message to develop girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”

We spoke with Cea about her move, the Girl Scouts’ mission, and most importantly, returning “home” to make a difference.

From an Omnicom agency to a global brand clearinghouse of reputable brands, why the Girl Scouts now, at this point in your career?

In a word, purpose.

Working at Unilever as it evolved its business model, introduced its Sustainable Living Plan and in leading the marketing for the brand, a role with purpose for a mission-driven organization, was vitally important to me. Also, working throughout my career on iconic brands, Girl Scouts is in ideal combination of iconic brand and social impact.  

Girl Scouts
Source: Girl Scouts History
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As you are tasked with “developing girls of courage, confidence, and character,” how do you galvanize the country to want to know more about these girls and support their greater mission? 

By fostering a cultural conversation that speaks to societal needs and the role we play in meeting them. Painted on a Girl Scout-green wall in my office are the words “It’s all about the girls.” Nearly ten cents on every philanthropic dollar is spent on girl-specific programs.

There are reams of research that demonstrate how gender-balanced teams, companies and boards perform better. As much as Girl Scout cookies are beloved, the cookie program teaches skills like financial literacy and e-commerce. Girl Scouts is more than Thin Mints and Samoas, and more than any one program. We build skills of lifetime value. In needing more female leaders, we need more Girl Scouts – and their supporters.

As a Girl Scout boomerang, what humbles you the most — crafting the voice of the organization you love so much or the fact you finally get to serve an organization that has served you so well? And then why?

At the moment, I am most humbled by the virtual outpouring of enthusiastic responses from former colleagues to my joining the Girl Scouts of the USA.

It feels like It’s a Wonderful Life – to see your past reflected back in the people you have touched and toiled with along the way. It also reflects how cherished Girl Scouts is – and the scores of advocates we have and eager to tell their stories and ours. And, yes, how people do love our cookies.