Are you man enough to be a Girl Scout? Our CEO Greg Graves is — and he joins a cast of 13 other Kansas City leaders in a fun new campaign by Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri.

The Man Enough to be a Girl Scout campaign showcases men who are committed to helping girls change the leadership landscape by showing them they have what it takes to be great leaders, and encouraging them to pursue their passions. The campaign pairs local Girl Scouts with business and community leaders who share similar interests. For Greg and his partner, Amanda Munsell, that interest is STEM education.

In their video, Greg stresses the importance of encouraging more young girls like Amanda to follow a STEM path. He also shares what he sees as the most important attributes of a leader — attributes that are built through Girl Scouts programs.

Check it out.

Girls + STEM = So Much Potential

How amazing is Amanda? Think back to when you were in junior high or middle school. Did you aspire to be a nuclear scientist, discover a cure for cancer or become the first female pilot to fly to Mars?

Young girls have so much potential to succeed in STEM careers. Unfortunately, the statistics are discouraging. Women make up more than half of the nation’s workforce, but only a quarter hold STEM-related jobs. And even more troubling? Women are increasingly leaving the STEM workforce early in their careers.

We wholeheartedly believe STEM education is the future of our country. Engineers and other STEM professionals not only have the power to change the world through their work; they also make great leaders. That’s why the Burns & McDonnell Foundation is so committed to supporting STEM initiatives, both through our financial contributions and volunteer efforts. The possibilities available to kids who have a STEM education and pursue a STEM career are endless. And it’s up to all of us to show them that the sky’s the limit (or Mars, in Amanda’s case) to what they can accomplish.

What Can You Do?

This much is clear: If more young girls like Amanda choose to follow their STEM ambitions, we can move the needle on this trend. What can you do? For starters, get involved. Volunteer for organizations like Girl Scouts, regardless of your gender. Young women need mentors from all walks of life, and studies show that men can play an important role in helping girls reach their leadership potential. When girls succeed, society succeeds.

Working Together to Change the Leadership Landscape

We’d like to send a huge shout-out to the other Kansas City leaders who have declared themselves Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout:

Mike Brown, chairman, president and CEO, Euronet Worldwide

Peter deSilva, civic leader

John Dicus, president and CEO, Capitol Federal Savings Bank

Terry Dunn, founder, DD Ranch Leawood

Dave Hall, president, Hallmark North America

Cliff Illig, vice chairman and co-founder, Cerner

Mayor Sly James, Kansas City, Missouri

Mark Jorgenson, market president, US Bank

Albrecht Kissel, president and CEO, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica

Leo Morton, chancellor, UMKC

Danny O’Neill, owner and founder, The Roasterie

Bob Regnier, president and CEO, Bank of Blue Valley

Mark Ruelle, president and CEO, Westar Energy

Thanks to this group for making a public commitment to supporting this initiative and helping shape the female leaders of tomorrow. We hope more people are inspired to do the same. Be sure to follow the #ManEnough hashtag on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as the rest of the campaign is revealed.

Julee Koncak is director of the Burns & McDonnell Foundation and community relations director at Burns & McDonnell, where giving, volunteering and grant programs are focused on STEM education and other community initiatives.

Photo credit: Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri Facebook

Julee Koncak is director of the Burns & McDonnell Foundation, which strives to empower communities to become healthy and strong, with a strategic focus on inspiring the next generation of STEM professionals.