Sarah Gormley: Positioning the Girl Scout Brand for the 21st Century
VP, Brand Marketing, Adobe
CMO, Girl Scouts of the USA, Previously SVP, Communications & Marketing, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia; IMAX Corporation; National Financial Partners
Innovating in Field of Work:
• Sarah is building a new team at the Girl Scouts, initiating a shift from marketing being viewed as “logo shop” to an invaluable partner in supporting revenue generating campaigns and extending and protecting the beloved Girl Scout brand.
• She’s leading the Marketing strategy in the “digital disruption” at the 103 year-old non-profit. In 2013, GSUSA began making significant technology investments, introducing a new operating model with 112 councils to modernize, simplify and improve the ability to serve volunteers and girls. The results of this effort include a centralized, Movement-wide database, web platform and an online volunteer toolkit that makes year-long troop planning tools available via mobile.
• This year also marked the launch of Digital Cookie, which added an online channel to the iconic Girl Scout cookie program, helping girls develop digital marketing skills in addition to decision-making and money management.
• Sarah developed a new brand platform, personality and voice that informed all of the content and design Movement-wide for the transformation underway. In a world where girls and parents have endless choices, she saw the need to better articulate the Girl Scout brand value in a girl-friendly manner and deliver a consistent brand experience.
• Sarah believes in measuring performance and her team saw an 85% increase related to Marketing‘s ability “understanding needs of the customer” and deliver “strategic counsel” year-year.
• The digital cookie launch secured nearly 4 billion media impressions at the time of launch, which in turn lead to increases in both site traffic, leads directed to local councils and ultimately sales.
• As a testament to her leadership in the incredible changes underway at Girl Scouts, Sarah was invited and gave a keynote speech at the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit in March of this year.
• Sarah has learned a lot and excelled in male-dominated industries, and uses that experience to teach young women in challenging professional environments
• For the past two years she has participated in a mentoring program to help young women take their next step and is active in mentoring men and women alike.
• She spoke last fall at DePauw University on what it takes to navigate your first job, negotiate a salary and get paid what you are worth.
• In June, she spoke to a group of young woman at Squarespace about career challenges early on, the power of networking and both the myth and magic of finding a mentor.
• She never wavers in her clear and concise counsel and willingness to share with individuals she meets. In fact, she started a book club with 20-something women in 2005 (when she wasn’t in her 20s!), because she was interested in their perspectives. She has since become a friend, mentor and coach to many of them!
Reinvention / Risk / Momentum:
• Promoted after one year on the job, Sarah has already left a huge mark on GSUSA as a part of her ability to rethink and design her own career trajectory. While she started her career in communications consulting, she has branched out to think about how to operationalize and monetize huge business and brand initiatives. She has seen the marketing world expand and shift and is transforming herself as quickly as the industry.
“In today’s marketing environment, you have to learn something new everyday and challenge yourself.
Nobody has all of the answers. It’s “‘transformation, commiseration and celebration.’”