Girl Scouts of the USA Chief Executive Officer Anna Maria Chavez will be honored by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) with its Graciela Olivarez La Raza Award at the organization’s annual convention in New Orleans on July 23.
“I am deeply grateful to the National Council of La Raza for conferring this tremendous honor upon me,” Chavez said. “Latina girls may not have a legacy of Girl Scouting in their families, but I am living proof of what our program can do to help them achieve success. I hope that by encouraging more Latina girls to take part in the transformative experience Girl Scouts can offer, I am making Graciela Olivarez proud, and living up to the example she set as an advocate for opportunity and social justice for Hispanic women.”
Named in honor of Olivarez for her lifetime commitment to Hispanic women’s rights, the Graciela Olivarez La Raza Award is presented each year to an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution in promoting the interests of Hispanic Americans. Chavez, who serves as the first Latina CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, has championed issues important to Hispanic Americans throughout her career. She served as legal counsel for the Federal Highway Administration in Washington, D.C., and eventually as an attorney advisor in the Office of the Counsel to President Clinton. She then served in her home state of Arizona as deputy chief of staff to former Governor and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and later as the CEO of the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas and of GSUSA, where she has helped drive recruitment efforts among Latina girls.
“It is wonderful that Anna is being recognized by the largest Hispanic civil rights advocacy group in the country,” said Connie L. Lindsey, National Board Chair of the Girl Scouts of the USA. “Anna is deeply connected to her Hispanic roots, and has worked tirelessly to champion the growth and development of Hispanic girls in the Girl Scout Movement.”
Chavez is the recipient of many awards. She is listed among The NonProfit Times’ Power & Influence Top 50, and the 100 Women Leaders in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) by STEM connector. In 2012, she received the Chairman’s Award from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and earlier this year, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund honored her with its Excellence in Community Service Award.