For the first time in its nearly 100-year history, a Latina will lead the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.
San Antonio attorney Anna Maria Chavez, a first generation Mexican-American who vividly remembers joining the Girl Scouts at the age of 10, will become the national organization’s chief executive officer during the group’s 52nd convention taking place in Houston later this year, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
“I’m ecstatic and overwhelmed by this historic opportunity,” says Chavez, a graduate of Yale University and the University of Arizona College of Law who has worked in the administration of former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, the current secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. “I truly understand the significance of my appointment. It says anything is possible in this great country.”
Chavez, who will serve as only 19th leader of the organization in its century of existence, has served as CEO of the Girl Scouts of Southwest since 2009.
Even though most people know Girl Scouts for its “cookie program, Girl Scouts has a wonderful story of preparing women for leadership that may not be out there in the public domain,” says the 43-year-old Chavez, who lives in San Antonio with her husband and 9-year-old son.
Southwest Texas council board Chairwoman Jackie Gorman-Johnson calls Chavez “the new face of the Girl Scouts.”
“She is who we are. The demographics of our country are changing, and for the first time, we’ll have a woman of color leading the organization. I’m excited,” Gorman-Johnson told the newspaper.
Patricia Diaz Dennis, who was the first Latina to serve as national board chairwoman of Girl Scouts USA, described Chavez as a “terrific role model for all American girls, but especially for Latinas.”
The Girl Scouts, which is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, has approximately 3.2 million members, including 2.3 million girls and 880,000 adults.
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