Talk about a trailblazer. Not only is Mexican-American businesswoman Anna Maria Chavez a Yale grad and an accomplished attorney, she’s now the first Latina to ever head the Girls Scouts of America.
Chavez (who was once a Scout herself) took over the 100-year-old organization late last year and is already working to push the Girls into the 21st century. One way that she’s doing it is by recruiting young Latinas to wear the brown and green uniform.
Anna Maria recently launched a new “Juntos Por Ella” campaign (dubbed “To Get Her There” in English), which promotes female empowerment within the pre-teen set. Nearly $1 billion is being set aside to get the initiative off the ground, which will offer guidance to Girl Scouts at home and abroad.
As of right now, the Girl Scouts of America is about three million strong. Chavez’ focus isn’t just to recruit new members, but to promote leadership among young women.
“As girls, we want the same things we wanted 100 years ago,” she stated. “We want to be happy, fulfilled, and have an impact in our community. I truly believe girls are the answer to the future of our country.”
Anna Maria is well-versed in the world of female empowerment. Coming from humble roots in Eloy, Arizona, she earned scholarships, held political office, and rose to Scout CEO before her 44th birthday. Beyond that, she’s also a proud wife and mother.
Her hope is that the Scouts will put a renewed interest in teaching fundamental life skills to its recruits. Right now, the Girls’ regular curriculum includes community service, finance training, leadership, and teamwork. They also teach their members to be very good saleswomen, as evidenced by the millions of boxes of Thin Mints consumed every year.
Chavez has overseen the inclusion of new merit badges too. In today’s world, a Girl Scout can be rewarded for digital movie making and assessing air quality. Anna Maria seems confident that, under her leadership, the organization can thrive and have a major impact on young women’s lives.
“Girls tell us they want to see role models,” she said. “I hope that we can give them hope.”
By Michael Lopez