Frances Hesselbein is the President and CEO of the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute (briefly known as the Leader to Leader Institute and founded as the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management) and is its Founding President.
Prior to founding the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute, Hesselbein served as the CEO for the Girl Scouts of the USA. Between 1965 and 1976, she rose from volunteer troop leader to CEO and held the position of CEO for fourteen years (1976–1990). Hesselbein was the first chief executive to come from the within the field in 67 years. She is credited with leading a turnaround for the Girl Scouts, increasing their minority membership and establishing the Daisy Scout program for the youngest girls accepted into the Girl Scouts.
During her tenure, the Girl Scouts attained a membership of 2.25 million girls with a workforce of 780,000, mainly volunteers.
Hesselbein attended the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown Junior College in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and is the recipient of twenty honorary doctoral degrees. She is editor-in-chief of the award-winning quarterly journal Leader to Leader and is the editor, coeditor, or author of twenty-eight books published in twenty-nine languages. Hesselbein has traveled to sixty-eight countries to represent the United States. She is the author of Hesselbein on Leadership and My Life in Leadership. She also helped to found the Hesselbein Global Academy for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement at the University of Pittsburgh.
In 1998, Hesselbein was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work with the Girl Scouts of the USA.