“Hispanic attorney named new Girl Scouts CEO.” By Michelle Healy. USA Today. August 24, 2011. Building courage, confidence and character is the expressed goal of the 99-year-old Girl Scouts of America, which says it also teaches girls and young women the value and power of leadership and service through its programs and activities, including financial literacy, environmental conservation, math and science education and health. Girl Scouts “provides a pipeline to leadership in this country,” says Kathy Cloninger, the outgoing CEO, who is retiring after leading the organization for eight years. Although many know Girl Scouts for its “wonderful cookie program, Girl Scouts has a wonderful story of preparing women for leadership that may not be out there in the public domain,” says Chavez, 43, who has been CEO of Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas since 2009. Prior to that, she worked in numerous federal and state government positions, including as a deputy chief of staff for urban relations and community redevelopment for Janet Napolitano, former Arizona governor and current U.S. secretary of Homeland Security. Napolitano is herself a lifetime Girl Scout member. “It’s living the American dream to start as a girl member several decades ago and now be part of the national leadership team,” says Chavez, a Mexican-American who will be the first person of color to lead the group, which includes 2.3 million girl members and nearly 880,000 adult members. Like most non-profits, the Girl Scouts organization has been affected by the battered economy, but has remained strong, says David Thompson, vice president of public policy for the National Council of Nonprofits. Girl Scouts is “a premiere name-brand non-profit that has gone through transition, transformation, reorganization and restructuring. It’s led the non-profit community in that regard. It’s done a great job of adjusting its mission to where there are girls in need of support and leadership training,” he says.