Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Illinois Celebrate New Space

The Chicago Tribune recently caught up with Maria Wynne, chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, and toured the council's new space. The space, completed in July, is much less corporate than the Scouts' previous home in Union Station, Wynne said. Passersby can look up to the second-floor space and see the "trefoil canopy," a collection of green symbols familiar from the group's logo, arranged on what appears to be a sash on the ceiling.

Visitors enter the elevator lobby via "The Bridge," complete with a cozy brown-and-green bench and walls of reclaimed wood that connect the east and west sides of the space. Wynne's office is the smallest, an intentional move. The 54-year-old CEO said she wants girls to feel comfortable approaching her and often gives them a Girl Scout patch that says, "Got this patch when my Girl Scout CEO met me."

"They are their own CEOs in their cookie business," Wynne pointed out.

By building the new space in "the heartbeat of Chicago, squarely in the view of the community at large … (surrounded by) the Chase Plaza and all things economic and cultural," she was able to create a more vibrant and fitting atmosphere for the organization, Wynne said.

Wynne said, "Kids think out of the box," and that is what she and architecture firm Gensler did when they designed the space.