International Women’s Day Interview with Marcia Jerding
I am Elyssa Nagle, a Senior Manager in the audit practice and I’ve been in the industry for about 8 years. As part of the firm’s celebration of International Women’s Day, I had a chance to interview Marcia Jerding, Partner, about her service on the board of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. We talked through her experience being involved with the Girl Scouts and her work as a mentor for women.
Q: How did you first get involved with the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta organization? What made you want to join their board?
“In life there is time, space, and resources to do a lot of things, and I hit a point in my career and life, where I was able to use my overall desire and passion to give back to take on something like this. I have always had a passion for women’s initiatives and overall success of women and girls. Girl Scouts presented itself to me in a number of ways.
I did not have the opportunity to be involved in Brownies or Girl Scouts when I was younger, and it was something I had long desired to do. When this opportunity presented itself, I of course jumped at it.
As part of the interview process I had to figure out where my passions were and what types of skills I could bring to the table. One of the most important things was my ability to network in the community, paired with my passion to level up women and girls, it seemed like the best fit.
I love that the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta currently serves over 33,000 girls.
What I don’t love, is that there is a long waiting list of girls that need to be served.
Now more than ever, it is important to be able to meet our girls where they are and to provide them opportunities to grow their skill sets, to give them access to models and mentors, and for us to do the appropriate thing and open up doors for our girls along the way.
That is really the story of how I got involved.
Along with being part of the board, I assist with thought leadership, coming up with ways to reinvent the Girl Scouts to keep up with our ever changing times. I am part of the audit committee and fund development committee and I have the privilege of collaborating with leaders across Atlanta, as well as a strong management team at the Girl Scouts, to move this organization forward.”
Q: How has the JL culture supported/inspired you to volunteer?
“One of the things all people love about JL is how we support our community. You can immediately feel the culture when you step inside the organization. Because supporting our community is so important at JL, we really allow the time and space for individuals to do that.
I love that there is so much flexibility in how we’re able to go about our roles at JL, that we have the space to step outside and immerse ourselves within the community in whichever capacity we see fit.
Those things combined, at this point in my life, allow me to use the skills I have developed over time, a lot from professional services, and a lot from JL, to benefit another organization.
It’s really combining the tone at the top about supporting our community, and the flexibility and teamwork that goes along with the culture itself to allow us to do things that we are passionate about outside of our career.
In addition to the culture and flexibility JL provides, the past several years, the Georgia office has decided to make a monetary contribution to the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, along with other local organizations, as part of our holiday giving. It’s inspiring to see the office, including all of the men, 100% support me and my involvement with the Girl Scouts.”
Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
“Just do it! The opportunity to serve on any type of board is a tremendous growth opportunity. Not only are you bringing something valuable to an organization that they might need, you are also learning about yourself.
Your ability to be creative and think and solve pretty big issues will help you grow.
A side benefit of that is that you are going to grow your network. Networks are so important in your life, whether you are trying to get your child into a private school, trying to integrate yourself into a certain church, or simply trying to make change in your community. The bigger and broader your network is, the more you are able to have an impact.
Any type of board scenario is going to allow you the space to collaborate, the space to build your network, and more than anything grow you personally. I would tell anyone to consider serving in this capacity, because there is so much you can do for your community.
Giving back to your community is our responsibility as humans, and one of the most powerful things you can do.
Being involved with the Girl Scouts has shown me what it means to impact change. We are providing girls with the confidence, courage, and character to become whatever they want to be. The reward from doing this type of work outweighs any sacrifice you might have to make. You will gain perspective and change lives in the process.”
Q: Are there any upcoming events you’d like to share that your organization is hosting?
“I would encourage you to check out our celebration of International Women’s Day. Also, we will be celebrating the vital role of women in American history during the month of March as we celebrate Women’s History Month.
We are also in full swing with cookie season, also known as entrepreneurial season in my opinion. We are supporting our girls in this endeavor by teaching them how to bring a product to market and get it into people’s hands. They learn so many skills through this particular opportunity and also are able to bring funds back to their troop and create growth opportunities all year long.
We are also celebrating our Gold Award winners, here in Atlanta, in March. A Gold Award is a significant endeavor that an individual girl embarks on during their Girl Scout journey, which includes a large service project, among other things. The project is usually about 1-2 years and is designed to bring value into the community. This award is the highest accomplishment in Girl Scouts. This award is a tremendous achievement and our girls that have earned this award really deserve this celebration. There is an opportunity to volunteer at this event. If you are interested you can sign up here.
The rest of the year we are focusing on continuing to bring opportunities to our girls in this virtual space we are currently in and create the opportunity for them to continue to grow, have access to role models, and really meet them where they are in terms of personal growth.
If you are interested in other volunteer opportunities (in person or virtual) we have many available, so please reach out! I’m happy to share a handout with these opportunities if you are interested.
Our girls are meeting virtually, however, there are still some live opportunities for them to meet, socially distanced and safe. There are 3 camps and we are holding a host of events throughout the weekends, whether it is learning to horseback ride or bringing a troop in for a small group activity.
We are looking forward to what kinds of live camps we can host this summer. There is still a lot going on for what we are able to provide to our girls, so check out our website or our social media pages (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) to see what we have going on.”
I thanked Marcia for talking about how she became involved in the Girls Scouts organization and how she impacts the lives of so many girls in the Greater Atlanta community.
After my interview, I checked out Showmethecookies.com to see where I could order Girl Scout cookies to support our local girls. All you have to do is enter your zip code and you’ll see where cookies are sold locally, or you can order them online. You can also donate cookies to health care workers and front line heroes in your area.
Learning about how women like Marcia devote time to their career, family, and community is an inspiration to me and I hope you are also inspired by Marcia’s passion to help girls and women find success and happiness in their endeavors.