Like many trailblazers before her, Jane Hershiser began as an introverted girl just waiting on an opportunity to break out of her mold. “In kindergarten, she started to learn about Girl Scouts,” says Jane’s father J. “So she went to a ‘Roundup’ and became part of a troop. Her mom became a troop leader.” That same year, Jane began selling that one commodity that America has been fascinated with for decades, Girl Scout cookies. “In her first year as a Daisy, Jane sold about 300 boxes,” says J. “From then on, she wanted to sell more.”
As she developed a passion for the Girl Scout values and way of life, the middle school student worked her way through the ranks from Daisy to Brownie to Junior to her current role as a Cadette. During these transitions, Jane took the initiative to become familiar with her product, study her market, and hone her selling skills. To date, Jane has sold more than 18,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies over the last 5 years. Last season alone, she sold 6,708 boxes.
Now in her third consecutive year leading all cookie sales in sixteen counties, Jane’s success is largely due to the skills she has learned through Girl Scouts as well as her family’s support. “I’ve gained a lot of confidence and courage,” says Jane. “She’s even spoken publicly about her success to more than three hundred people,” adds J.
Through many camping trips, Jane has learned invaluable skills like sailing, swimming, wilderness hiking, archery, and kayaking. “I’ve even learned how to properly use a pocket knife,” she proudly adds.
When it comes to the cookie program, her dad says, “It all comes down to being a good salesperson, showing up, and smiling.” According to Jane, certain written and unwritten rules of engagement always apply. “We always have to wear our troop number and have a list of cookie flavors and a price list where everyone can see them,” says Jane. “But having a Gold Star cookie booth also means knowing the cookie ingredients, always wearing our vests, and never sitting down.”
Between the skills she has learned through Girl Scouts and her own determination, Jane’s future looks prosperous. “I am actively raising money, because in my near future I am planning to go to Europe. I will also start my Program Aide training next spring to learn to become a counselor,” says Jane. “But long term, I plan to stay in Girl Scouts until I become an Ambassador. I would really like to build a career in sales when I grow up.”
Jane also hopes that her success will inspire other young girls. “I am an average girl from a normal family. Anybody can be successful if they put the work in. If I can do this, you can too.”
Photography by David Steele