Women’s History Month Luncheon: It’s more than Cookies
By Michelle Eberhart
WEST POINT, N.Y. (March 2, 2016) — The Women’s History Month luncheon took place at the West Point Club March 2. Guest Speaker, Anna Maria Chãvez, CEO of Girl Scouts of USA, spoke to cadets, staff and faculty about the importance of instilling confidence and leadership values at a young age.
Chãvez was born in rural Arizona and grew up as a Girl Scout. Although her grandmother, who was born in Mexico, and her mother were never Girl Scouts, both knew they wanted Anna to succeed.
“My parents wanted me to beat the odds,” Chãvez explained. “They knew Girl Scouts developed leaders of the future.”
At the age of 12, Chãvez decided she wanted to become an attorney, a feat which she later accomplished after receiving her bachelor’s degree from Yale University and her juris doctorate at the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona.
After working for the President and Vice President of the United States and two Arizona State Governors, Chãvez decided she wanted to go back to her roots and become the CEO of Girl Scouts.
Why? Because Chãvez, while working for the state of Arizona, helped the Governor put together capital budget plans for prison beds based on the fourth grade dropout rate.
“We were investing more in prison beds and foster care than we were on education,” Chãvez said.
She knew she wanted to empower girls, not incarcerate them.
“If you currently look at the leadership positions in the United States,” Chãvez began. “Women who are running corporations, leading the military, you will find (Girl Scouts) alumni in key positions.”
By joining an organization that teaches leadership, teamwork and confidence, it allows young women to realize how bright their futures can be.
Chãvez remarked that the number one thing she hears from women CEO’s is that their first business transactions began with selling Girl Scout cookies.
But it’s so much more than cookies.
“(Girl Scouts) are about creating the future leadership pipeline in this country,” Chãvez said.
By creating a network of future leaders, it allows girls to inspire one another to take on leadership roles.
Not to mention, leadership roles that effect the increasingly diverse military.
“As you lead your troops and you lead your organizations, you will get to know the importance of ensuring that you do have a diverse workforce,” Chãvez said to the cadets. “Whether its gender balance leadership, whether it’s from an ethnicity standpoint, a religious standpoint or just a philosophy standpoint, the best teams in the country are built from a very diverse group of individuals.”
Class of 2018 Cadet Tia Borrego left feeling inspired after listening to Chavez’s insight.