On Wednesday, the Girl Scouts announced that Anna Maria Chávez will take over the position of CEO in November. She will be the 19th chief executive of the nearly century-old organization, but the first Latina at its helm. “I’m very proud of my Latina heritage,” she said in a phone interview with Latino Voices on Wednesday.
Raised in a small town in southern Arizona by her Mexican father and Mexican-American mother, Chávez herself donned the iconic green sash at age ten. She rushed home to tell her grandmother that she wanted to join Girl Scout Troop 304. Although her “Nana” had never heard of the Girl Scouts, she let Chávez join, and shortly thereafter she went on her first trip outside of her small town with her Girl Scout troop.
While the Girl Scouts are perhaps best known for their cookie sales, Chávez says the organization is really about giving girls opportunities. She attributes much of her personal success to the early influence of the organization. Her first camping trip “sparked her sense of adventure” and gave her the confidence to take larger risks later on in life. She went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, and a law degree from the University of Arizona Law. After serving as Deputy Chief of Staff for Urban Relations and Community Development for former Arizona governor and current U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Chávez was appointed Chief Executive of the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas in 2009.
Chávez believes the country “has never needed Girl Scouts more than it does today.” She hopes that in this role she will be able to “ensure that girls who don’t have opportunities, get opportunities.” Kathy Cloninger, the current CEO of the organization believes Chávez will lead a “historic moment in the life of the Girl Scout movement as it turns 100 years old.” Connie Lindsey, the Chair of the National Board of Directors, described Chávez as a “visionary leader” with a “track record of success and a strong leadership story of her own.”
While she wouldn’t commit to adding a Mexican wedding cookie to the future menus any time soon, Chávez was quick to point out that their Dulce de Leche cookie already reflected Hispanic representation in the organization she will soon lead.
Source: Aol Latino