Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA)announced that interim leader Sylvia Acevedo has been named permanent CEO of the 105-year-old organization, effective immediately. The appointment comes after a thorough nationwide search, during which many highly qualified candidates were considered.
A lifelong Girl Scout and longtime business leader, Ms. Acevedo has held the title of interim GSUSA CEO since June 2016. Before that, she was secretary of the GSUSA Board of Directors. She is an enduring champion of girls' and women's causes who brings to the organization a deep understanding of the youth leadership market and the evolving needs of today's girls. Ms. Acevedo has also advocated for Hispanic, Asian, and other minority populations in the U.S. throughout her career and is a White House commissioner on the Presidential Initiative for Hispanic Educational Excellence.
Said GSUSA Board President Kathy H. Hannan, "The organization is thrilled to have someone of Ms. Acevedo's caliber, passion, and proven dedication lead GSUSA. Sylvia's track record as a leader and commitment to girls' leadership development are unparalleled—and her calm and determined guidance has helped GSUSA through a transitional period. The organization has emerged stronger, more united, and with renewed focus and real momentum as a result of Sylvia's leadership. She is deeply committed to the future of every girl and is the ideal choice to lead the Girl Scout Movement."
Ms. Acevedo has already been instrumental in curtailing declines in Girl Scout membership, including by supporting targeted outreach to African American, Hispanic, Asian, and other U.S. minority populations and backing major technological advancements, which are increasing Girl Scouts' exposure among new and diverse girl populations.
"Today it is easier than ever to join Girl Scouts and benefit from our unparalleled leadership programming," said Ms. Hannan, speaking to the heightened role of technology at Girl Scouts. "This is behind the momentum we want to continue building with Sylvia at the helm."
"I am truly honored to have been selected for this role," said Ms. Acevedo. "Throughout my career, I have been deeply committed to helping girls cultivate the skills they need to excel in life. I firmly believe they can change the world, and that at this decisive moment in time, we need their courage, confidence, and character more than ever."
Ms. Acevedo continued, "Girl Scouts has always been an important part of my life, helping me as a young girl to develop the skills to become a leader. My focus [at GSUSA] has been to raise the profile of the Girl Scout Movement and mission, with the targeted aim to grow membership. So I am excited to be able to move forward with the initiatives I launched with my colleagues over the past year, and to keep our momentum going strong."
A longtime advocate of STEM education for young women, Ms. Acevedo also has background as an engineer, including experience working for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories, IBM, and Dell, which will help Girl Scouts raise its profile among Silicon Valley companies and expand external support of STEM activities—a key component of the organization's programming. She has served as the Board Chair for the Austin Community Foundation, and as a strategic consultant to companies that wish to use technology to capitalize on demographic trends, and she was formerly president and CEO of Communicard LLC, a firm that used innovative technology to harness market trends.