Cristen Incitti: Expanding access to Girl Scouts

By Candice Wagener

It’s more than cookies. Girl Scouts is about powerful leadership development capacity. Cristen Incitti, chief operating officer for Girl Scouts of Wisconsin-Badgerland Council, wants to provide everyone the opportunity to reap the benefits of this empowering program.

Key statistics you should know: All three female U.S. secretaries of state, 90 percent of female astronauts, 73 percent of female senators and 50 percent of female business leaders were all Girl Scouts in their youth.

“We have these outcomes for Girl Scouts like nobody else,” says Incitti.

Motivated by the racial inequities in Dane County, it’s a real sticking point for Incitti that the traditional model of Girl Scouts leaves many behind. “There’s a lot of opportunity for us to do more. I want more girls to be able to participate, and we need to think differently about what that means,” she says.

Cost and time are two major barriers. Incitti is creating partnerships to cover memberships, uniforms and miscellaneous expenses for families in need. She’s also collaborating with after- school programs to bring Girl Scouts to girls, rather than making them come to Girl Scouts. Her goal is to enroll 500 more girls in 2019 and 1,000 by 2020.

While Incitti is very focused on youth, she is also passionate about bringing more adults into the organization. She’s upending the traditional model of parents (typically moms) as troop leader by opening the role to anyone in the community who is committed to helping youth.

Marci Henderson, CEO of Girl Scouts of WisconsinBadgerland Council, touts Incitti’s inquisitive nature as one of many strengths. “She has been instrumental in helping us update our strategic plan and prioritize inclusion and diversity,” Henderson says.

Incitti has a deep passion for social justice and a way of connecting that would make anyone a believer in her cause.

“Each step I take is centered on a deep commitment to human worth, value and dignity,” says Incitti. “I have spent my career and personal life striving toward building relationships, communities and solutions so everyone has what they need and can thrive. This, to me, is how we show love, how we advance as a community and why I do what I do.”

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