Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chavez has recently been nicknamed “Cookie Monster.” And it’s not because she really, really likes Girl Scout cookies.
A group of employees who are not happy with their new leader — who came into the role in November 2011 — have called for Chavez’s resignation. Reports have flooded in that the organization has been in turmoil since Chavez, 45, took the reigns.
A mere five weeks after her duties as the head of the Girl Scout of the USA began, she began her series of firings. She let go the vice-presidents of the organization first. Instead of adding personal reasons, Chavez reportedly made it clear that the positions were no longer needed. She didn’t hire another vice-president — that role remains vacant after Chavez claimed it obsolete.
While, according to Chavez, most people smile when she tells them she works for the Girl Scouts, few employees are smiling. Now, upper level employees who were fired have begun to speak out.
One anonymous letter reads: “We come to work to serve girls, not to play a game of corporate ‘Survivor.’ ”
Another employee was taken aback when Chavez — who is married and has a son — clearly stated that a new cultural norm demanded that work come before family. “That came as a big surprise,” wrote the ex-employee, “given that we’re a very family-oriented organization and we want young women and girls to aspire to be balanced leaders.”
Chavez also announced publicly that all employees are being overpaid. The last CEO of the GSUSA made over $300,000 annually. It has not been reported how much Chavez makes.
“We are more than cookies, camps and crafts. Our movement is about developing young women into leaders and visionaries; women who will change the world for the better. If we were no longer able to inspire girls, encourage them to dream big about the future and help them achieve their goals, then we were no longer fulfilling the promise of our mission.”
Chavez refers to herself as “Eagle 1” and has subsequently earned the nickname “Ego 1,” according to former employees.
Chavez claims that the Girl Scouts have “struggled to maintain the engagement of adults” as the “stay-at-home mom model, long the source of so many of our wonderful volunteers, gave way as more and more women entered the workforce.” She added, “In short, societal changes threatened the relevancy of Girl Scouting as an American institution. In order to survive, we had to change, too.”
Chavez was promoted to national director after serving as CEO of the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas. Before that, she worked for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who was then governor of Arizona, as a deputy chief of staff. Prior to that, she was director of intergovernmental affairs. She is the first Hispanic director of the Girl Scouts organization.
The Girl Scouts of the USA do not have the same policies and guidelines as their “brother organization,” the Boy Scouts of America.
Joan Wagnon, treasurer of the board, said it was aware of the complaints about Chavez.
“The board is addressing it,” she said.