Girl Scouts' Acevedo: 'We take girl potential and add programming'

The Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.'s interim CEO recalled how the organization was instrumental in her own success and said it can do the same for others.

Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.'s Sylvia Acevedo. (Photo credit: Betsy Farber).
Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.'s Sylvia Acevedo. (Photo credit: Betsy Farber).

NEW YORK: Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. interim CEO Sylvia Acevedo encouraged attendees of the PRWeek Conference on Thursday to get involved with her more-than-100-year-old nonprofit and invest in the next generation of leaders.

Ending her keynote speech on a personal note, Acevedo addressed attendees directly, saying they can contribute through monetary means, volunteer work, or by communicating its story. She shared her memories as a Girl Scout, how it influenced the way she views leadership, and why that should matter to communicators and their clients.

Acevedo said the Girl Scouts create a leadership pipeline, noting that more than half of female members of Congress are alums of the group, a figure on par with the percentage of women in business. The organization has more than 2.5 million members.

"Our business is we take girl potential and add programming, [which is] usually where other organizations stop," she said. "We add leadership programming and troop leaders that develop social capital, making sure they can turn activities and leadership into potential."

Acevedo recalled her early days in Girl Scouts, after she moved to New Mexico as a child and her troop leader encouraged her to pursue a badge in science rather than cooking. But after working for both, she came to a realization," Cooking is the same as science" in terms of procedure, precision, and trial and error.

She said the organization had a great deal to do with her own success, including graduating from Stanford University’s graduate engineering program, and it is well-positioned to help others.

"For America to thrive," Acevedo said, "for it to have the same kind of impact it had in the 20th century that allowed us to have so many women in leadership positions and technology positions, we have to have that same impact. So I ask you to join me."

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