When you think of great leaders having a lasting impact, Anna Maria Chávez, Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer for the National Council on the Aging, has created transformational change for millions of girls and women around the world. She was the CEO of the Girl Scouts and also one of the co-founding women, along with Sheryl Sandberg, and Condoleezza Rice to create the Ban Bossy Campaign. Anna’s servant leadership mindset started while growing up in Eloy Arizona, and she shares in this interview, how at the age of 12 years old, she decided to become a civil rights attorney. Joining the Girl Scouts at a young age, helped Anna to learn leadership skills, and gave her the chance to give back to the community. Listen to this discussion and learn about the influence our actions have on girls growing up, why having a mentor is so important, what it is like to be a “first of” leader and the challenges and benefits it can have on a community. At the end of our discussion, Anna encourages each of us to take action and create a lasting impact on our future.
10 Transformational Leadership Insights:
- What You Do Creates an Impression: “We can’t think about future leaders without thinking about the influence over girls and boys today. They are watching us…how leadership appears at the dais and the podium”- Anna Maria Chávez. Everything you do is making an impression on young people around you.
- We Need Diverse Leadership: “We need leaders from different perspectives”- Anna Maria Chávez. It is important to have different voices who collectively can come together and represent diversity.
- Share Resiliency with Others: Anna helped raise 2,000,000 girls as CEO of the Girl Scouts and also gave her son, a front row seat to witness resiliency in action. Anna’s son had the chance to witness what leaders go through on a daily basis.
- Ban the Word Bossy: Anna shared an insider look at creating the Ban Bossy campaign that featured Beyoncé. After receiving a call from Sheryl Sandberg, together with Condoleezza Rice, the three leaders established why it is so important to change the narrative for girls and how they are labeled. Anna shares how something happens around 3rdor 4th grade when negative messages dampen girls’ spirit. They stop raising their hand to fit in. By banning the word bossy, it helped change how girls are perceived and how they in turn, perceive themselves.
- Everyone needs a Mentor who sees raw potential. Anna shares how mentors have helped her throughout her career.
- Great bosses give their time and are patient. Anna shares how she is still in contact with her first boss who has had a lasting impact on her career.
- Mentors teach important lessons. Anna shares how “leadership is never done. It is a muscle that you continue to build and every day”.
- Young girls need a path to live their true potential. Anna viewed the Girl Scouts as the largest prevention program to help girls know their dreams are worth of it. While CEO, Anna gave girls hope, and told them “…you can do anything, become President or Secretary State…” and so much more.
- If we don’t invest in girls and also in boys early, it has an impact when they reach retirement. Now we are seeing a continuum of issues, because we didn’t invest in girls early on, it has an impact on women over 60. A women’s economic security is impacted over her lifetime.
- Older adults want to be independent. Anna learned early on in her career, how people born with certain attributes, wanted to be able to do things for themselves and needed access to programs that could help them.
At the end of the interview, we discuss how 60% of women over the age of 60 years old, feel financial insecurity. Here are steps you can do today to make sure you are prepared for retirement.
7 Actions You Can Take Today
- Start your financial planning now. Put something into retirement now, at any age, we should be planning for the future. Anna shares how a friend of hers says “Don’t buy shoes, Buy Buildings.” Make sure your nest egg is large enough for your future needs.
- You are paying into an infrastructure. You need to pay attention to economic policies in the world. Huge decisions are being made and everyone should make sure whoever you elect, represents your interests.
- Close the financial Pay-Gap. Men and Women are still not receiving equal pay– if you are the caregiver you have to cover expenses not only for yourself, but also for others you care for, and on average women make $300 less per month in retirement compared to men.
- Educate yourself. Raise the issues that are most important to elected officials.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to other women. Ask for advice, and make a plan to create financial security.
- Get involved. Read as much you can, volunteer, get on the board of a non-profit, or support someone who is running for office.
- Be happy about your choices. Get passionate about things you care about.
“We have a great future ahead of us”- Anna Maria Chávez
It is with sincere gratitude I thank Anna for this incredible interview. If you have any questions about these topics, and if I can help you on your journey, reach out to me and join our LinkedIn Group!
Anna’s Recommended Resource: NCOA.ORG is the oldest nonprofit advocating for adults aging.
Anna Maria Chávez is the Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer for the National Council on Aging, whose mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. In this role, she oversees the day-to-day operations of the National Council on Aging (NCOA), the nation’s oldest service and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health and economic security of older Americans. She ensures that NCOA’s fiscal, operations, fundraising, marketing, consumer experience, advocacy, human capital, technology, programmatic and organizational culture strategies are effectively implemented across all segments of the organization. Anna led the NCOA operations team in achieving NCOA’s 2020 social impact goal one year early in 2019.
Anna was promoted into this role after serving as NCOA’s Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Vice President for External Affairs where she led the teams responsible for marketing and communications, fund development, strategic partnerships, public policy and advocacy and the National Institute for Senior Centers.
Chávez developed the leadership skills growing up in Eloy, Arizona, that would propel her into a career of public service. Her desire to transform the world through servant leadership led her to Yale University, before pursuing a juris doctorate at the University of Arizona. She held numerous posts in President Bill Clinton’s administration and later returned to Arizona to serve then-governor Janet Napolitano.
Her success led to her appointment as CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, where she served from 2011-2016 as the first woman of color to lead the 104-year group with 2.7 million members in over 90 countries and 59 million alumnae in America. In 2016, Anna was named as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune magazine, cited for her vision and creativity in working to revitalize the Girl Scout brand for a new century and was named number 22 by Fast Company in its annual list of the most creative people in business.
Anna is one of the world’s top experts on women’s leadership, youth development, and aging issues and draws from her 25 years of public service and nonprofit leadership. She brings a wealth of experience from previous legal, public policy, nonprofit management, and brand management positions in Arizona, Texas, Washington, DC, and New York City.
Her keen insights and dynamic presentations have inspired thousands of individuals around the globe to lead authentically and has helped organizations work together more collaboratively and create dynamic impact. Anna has appeared on CBS News, NBC’s The Today Show, FOX News Channel, CNBC’s Squawk Box, CNN, Bloomberg Radio, NPR, and she’s a contributing writer on Huffington Post.