Cloninger, the chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of the USA, believes that no matter how much times have changed, a great benefit of being a Girl Scout is still "the single-gender setting,'' she said. "For girls to have a bit of time where they can do certain activities with only girls around, not (in) a coed setting, makes a big difference in their confidence.'' But don't think this means Cloninger ever expects a girl to be second fiddle to a male peer. In her new book, Tough Cookies, in which Cloninger details her work in reshaping the Girl Scouts for the 21st century, the Texan makes her case for how the organization strives to create "a leadership pipeline'' toward better balance in American decisionmaking.
What's on your nightstand?
I usually keep a business book going and one novel. My business author is Jim Collins. When you read my book, you'll read about how he influenced our core strategies with his Good to Great books. I'm reading now his How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In. Instead of studying companies that are great, he studied how some companies have fallen and how they've recovered.
And you have a novel for pleasure reading?
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. It's just a wonderful book. I haven't read much about the Japanese-Americans and Chinese-Americans during World War II. … I seem to do my book shopping in airports. I recently beelined to a bookstore, and I loved the description so I bought it. It's a wonderful story so far.