Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Strong Latina Women
As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, it’s important for us to look back and celebrate some amazing Latina Girl Scout alums, as well as a few incredible Southern Arizona-native Latinas making strides in Tucson! These barrier-breaking and world-changing women are role models not only this month, but every day of the year.
For us here at Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, recognizing this month’s significance means recognizing each and every Latina within our council— from girls, to volunteers, to staff. It has been almost an entire year since I joined the GSSoAZ team and, as a young Latina myself, I was inspired to see a workplace filled with so many strong, successful women who looked just like me. As our presence within the LatinX community continues to grow, we are determined to increase engagement and continue serving them through our unique programming and several participation pathways.
As a Latina Girl Scout, girls benefit from the multiple opportunities they are offered and skills they learn, that they may not otherwise have had the chance to. In 2018, 87% of girls reported that Girl Scouts helps them make a difference in the world. We truly believe in making Girl Scouts accessible to all girls, and know that the women below are prime examples of what Latina girls can do with courage, confidence, and character!
As the first U.S. Supreme Court Justice of Hispanic heritage, and a proud Girl Scout alum, Justice Sotomayor is the ultimate No-Limit Latina— inspiring us to reach for the stars in our careers and never back down from a challenge. As a passionate advocate for defendant rights, criminal justice reform, and equality for all, Justice Sotomayor is working hard to make the world a better place for all of us, and we’re so grateful.
While Sotomayor leads in the courtroom, our beloved Girl Scout alum Ellen Ochoa leads in the sky! The first Hispanic woman to go to space as part of the nine-day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1993, Ochoa is a talented engineer, former NASA astronaut, and former director of the Johnson Space Center. Ellen inspires us to believe in ourselves and go for our goals no matter how out of reach they may seem at first.
Next up— the unstoppable Dolores Huerta! Another proud Girl Scout alum, Dolores is an outstanding labor leader and civil rights activist who co-founded the National Farmworkers Association (along with Cesar Chavez), now known as the United Farm Workers of America. She is a fierce defender of workers’, immigrants’, and women’s rights, and an awe-inspiring Latina who reminds us that change is possible even against incredible odds and long-standing power structures.
Of course, there’s also Girl Scouts of the USA’s bold, brave, glass-ceiling-shattering former CEO, Sylvia Acevedo. A system’s engineer by education, Sylvia began her career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she was part of the Voyager 2 team. In addition to her work as a rocket scientist, she’s held top leadership positions at Apple, Dell, IBM, and other U.S. technology leaders—talk about an incredible career! And what's more, she spent a phase of her career advocating for Spanish-speaking families by creating education, health, and workforce development programs across the country. A committed advocate of STEM and the power of education to transform lives, Sylvia brought this critical focus to her four-year tenure as GSUSA’s CEO, paving the way for dozens of new badges that prepare girls for a future beyond their wildest dreams.
Let's talk local! Our current Tucson mayor, Regina Romero made history in 2019 when she was the first Latina to be elected mayor of the city. Her story truly personifies the American Dream for Latinas all across Southern Arizona. Regina was raised by immigrant farmworkers in Somerton, Arizona (Yuma County!), and is the youngest of six children. She became the first member of her family to vote and the first to graduate from college! Regina shows us that the difference between a dream and reality is courage, hard work, and deep-rooted confidence!
And last, but FAR from least, Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona's very own CEO! Kristen has been with the organization for 12 years in a variety of leadership roles, most recently serving as Interim CEO. She is a native Tucsonan and proud graduate of The University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. Her previous corporate career experience led her to managing multimillion-dollar revenue streams. Twelve years ago, an opportunity arose with the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona in which she was able to combine her love of sales and marketing with her passion for empowering girls and women as entrepreneurs. In her previous roles with Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, Kristen led the Cookie Program, Retail Stores, Operations, Membership, and has grown annual revenue for the organization by $1.2 million. Kristen is active outside of work with community organizations, schools and her church. She and her husband, Joseph, have two beautiful children, including a future Girl Scout-to-be. Our very own fierce leader is an incredible role model for all girls everywhere!
These incredible women are a huge inspiration to us and to every Latina who wants to see herself reflected in the faces of accomplished leaders! Their successes (and setbacks!) show girls that they, too, can accomplish anything they set their minds to.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona
Note: Some source material was taken from Girl Scouts of the USA and https://www.votereginaromero.com. Girl Scouts of the USA and Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona are both non-partisan organizations.