The Atlantic

From Girl Scout to Girl Scouts' CEO

Anna Maria Chávez, the former leader of an organization she loved as a child, on the mentors who shaped her career

Source: Paul Morigi / Getty

Anna Maria Chávez joined her local Girl Scout troop in Arizona when she was 10 years old. In her 40s, she would return to the Girl Scouts to begin her tenure as the first woman of color to lead the 105-year-old nonprofit. That was after she graduated from Yale and the University of Arizona’s law school, and after she worked as a lawyer in the Clinton White House and as the director of intergovernmental affairs for Arizona, under Janet Napolitano, then the state’s governor.

It was in 2011 that Chávez started as the CEO of, an often gendered term that can put down girls who demonstrate ambition.

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