Kristen Mattie has been involved in Girl Scouts for eight years. This Finance Director at Microsoft co-founded a Brownie troop when her oldest daughter was in second grade. Since then, she has founded another troop, taken on volunteer leadership roles within her service unit, and significantly amplified her impact through Microsoft’s volunteer time matching program.
Today, Kristen shares her thoughts on the power of Girl Scouting, volunteering, donating, and employer matching programs.
Why Girl Scouts?
I was not a Girl Scout growing up. I only knew Girl Scouts from what you hear as an outsider: cookies, leadership programs for women and girls, things like that.
I was really passionate about having our oldest be involved in something, so I started a [Girl Scout] troop with my co-leader, and neither of us knew anything. We created a troop because we wanted our daughters to be Girl Scouts, experience strong female leadership, and be involved [in something meaningful].
Now [Sophia’s] a freshman in high school, and she’s still a Girl Scout. She still wants to participate even though her friend base is starting not to be involved as much, as we often see at the Cadette age level (6-8 graders). She’s so passionate about [Girl Scouts], and I love that I’ve instilled this in her. When she turns eighteen, she wants to be a counselor at [Camp] River Ranch.
When our little one, Kate, went to kindergarten, I knew I wanted to start her out earlier than we started Sophia. So we started Kate as a Daisy, and I created her Daisy troop. I knew with a full-time job and everything else I do volunteering—I tend to overextend myself because I want to—I knew I couldn’t lead two troops. Sophia had just finished her second year of Juniors (4-5 grade Girl Scouts). We disbanded that Junior troop, and all of our members were absorbed into another troop. Then I started Kate’s Daisy troop.
For the last three years, I’ve been the Fall Product Program coordinator for Service Unit 420. I’ve also volunteered at Rainbow Adventures, the volunteer-led day camp in our service unit. I’m involved in the planning for that right now and how we’re making it virtual. I’ve been a unit leader for the past two years with Rainbow Adventures. It’s so fun. I love it.
Those are my three current things: Rainbow Adventures, Fall Product, and troop leader. I’ve also volunteered to stuff mailers at the [former] Bellevue Office. And then I donate to Girl Scouts, and I go to Glamp.
I take on too much, and I love it!
I want my daughter to see that women can be important, that women can have leadership roles. I firmly believe that women-only or girl-only organizations really empower girls to be confident. I went to an all-girl high school. I think this type of environment is important for a certain type of people. So I want my daughter to see that. I want her to know that she’s important. My two most important resources are my money and my time. I want to put that into things that are important to me.
I’m really heartbroken by everything that Girl Scouts were hit with during this pandemic. We see it in our own cookie sales—we’re selling about a third of what we normally do. That’s just the impact on our troop. Seeing the decisions Girl Scouts of Western Washington had to make, like staff reductions and selling the horse program, was heartbreaking.
I think it’s so important to volunteer and donate because Girl Scouts has been around for so long. We need it to be around forever.
Why Volunteer Matching?
I am so fortunate to be at Microsoft. We have the most generous volunteer matching [program] of possibly any company. That’s such an amazing benefit, and I want to make sure that I’m taking the time to ensure that the organizations that I volunteer for receive that additional benefit. It costs me nothing. And it’s an amazing, generous benefit that Microsoft has—$25 dollars an hour for any volunteering we do. That’s why in the past, I’ve reached out to Girl Scouts so much and asked, “Do you have any volunteer work I can do?”
I have a finite amount of time, but I can always give a couple more hours to volunteering with Girl Scouts, and then that gets the organization $25 an hour.
I’m super passionate about making sure we’re capitalizing on that. Microsoft wants to give money [to nonprofits]. They wouldn’t have this benefit if they didn’t want employees to utilize it. I’m such an evangelist for making sure we’re using it. It only costs me 30 seconds to go in and log [my volunteer hours]. I’ve logged hundreds of hours for Girl Scouts. From all the cookie sale stuff I do to every time I lead a meeting—everything.
Girl Scout Highlights!
The Cookie Sale is my favorite because of how it sparks joy in my daughter. We attend, on average, about 15 [cookie] booths in a normal year. That’s a lot for a little kid. Even when [Kate] was a Daisy, we would do 15 booths. That’s 30 hours—just my daughter and I.
I do as many [cookie booths] as possible because Kate wants to do it, and Sophia loved to do it pre-pandemic too. So we maximize the booths. Because these girls are learning financial literacy, they’re learning customer service from an early age, dealing with customers, and learning that it’s okay to ask and have somebody say no. I think it is super important for girls to learn to be okay with hearing no and not feel that they’re less worthy because somebody said no.
Seeing my nine-year-old when a customer says no—she just shrugs it off and bounces to the next customer. There’s no fear. When I think back to when I was a young girl, I was so shy. Painfully shy! I would have never spoken to a stranger. When I see these Girl Scouts that are comfortable reaching out, it’s just incredible. Selling cookies is important to me because it gives them those skills and confidence.
I also love Glamp because it’s fun for adults to [participate], and it raises a lot of money [for camp scholarships]. I didn’t have the opportunity to be at camp because I wasn’t a Girl Scout. [Glamp] gives me a chance to sleep at [Camp] River Ranch, to understand the beauty of the camps, to get that experience, and then it really pulls at my heart. I want this to continue forever for the girls, so raise the paddle!
Thank you, Kristen, for sharing your Girl Scout story and for your generosity in volunteering, donating, and matching! Every contribution of time or money makes a huge difference for local Girl Scout youth.
Are you ready to make a difference, too? Join us on Sept. 11 at Glamp, our annual fundraiser for Girl Scout camp scholarships! This year’s hybrid event features an evening garden party hosted by Guardian Cellars and Baer Winery. Don’t miss out!
Are you a Girl Scout volunteer? Find out if employer volunteer matching is available to you! Just like Kristen, a few more minutes of your time can greatly magnify your impact on Girl Scouts.
Note: We invest in our community through Girl Scouts. Our community represents every race, ethnicity, income level, sexual orientation, ability, and religion; reflects a spectrum of gender identity; and connects across geographic locations. Read about our diversity and equity efforts or our LGBTQ+ FAQ.