Lynne Fugate: Adapting to pandemic

Maria McHaleOur Town Leaders, West Knoxville

The pandemic forced businesses to adapt their models over the past year, including the community’s youngest entrepreneurs, the Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians. It is a cookie season unlike any other, but the nonprofit is fortunate to have CEO Lynne Fugate leading the way in true Girl Scout fashion with courage and confidence.

“While the pandemic presented many challenges, I embrace the opportunities it brought as well,” Fugate said. “These young girls get to learn new skills, such as e-commerce, fulfillment and digital marketing. Most importantly, the pandemic teaches them how to adapt to things beyond their control and be creative with solutions.”

Lynne Fugate

Fugate joined the Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians in 2016, after a 25-year career as a banker. She understands just how important a successful cookie season is to ensure funding for leadership development activities for the girls.

“Success this cookie season comes down to our ability to get the highly anticipated Girl Scout cookies in people’s hands, while keeping everyone safe,” Fugate said. “It can be difficult to plan anything during a pandemic, so we are thrilled that our Girl Scouts are able to run their cookie businesses in variety of safe ways.”

Fugate shared leadership tips that helped her navigate this challenging year.

“Embrace change head on,” she said. “Change is inevitable, so always expect it to come. Be quick on your feet and ready to adapt to change, both personally and in your organization.

“Be ready for what comes next. Always try to look ahead and have alternate options to meet your goal. Plan A usually never unfolds as we expect, so it’s smart to always have Plans B, C and D ready to implement.”

Fugate’s leadership also extends to elected office. She served on the Knox County school board from 2010-18 and currently is serving a four-year term as an at-large member of Knoxville City Council.

Maria McHale is an account executive for Moxley Carmichael.

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