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Prior to accepting her current role as chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of the USA, Ms. Chávez served as chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas. Before joining Girl Scouts, she was deputy chief of staff for Urban Relations and Community Development under former Governor of Arizona and current U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. In this position, she promoted the governor's policies, programs, and initiatives through coordination and partnership with city, county, and tribal governments; federal agencies; and community organizations. Ms. Chávez served as the governor's policy advisor to the Arizona Department of Housing and advised her on strategies for coordinating housing and economic development; she also counseled the governor on issues impacting the Latino community. She was a catalyst for the creation of the Raul H. Castro Institute, a "do tank" focused on issues affecting the Latino community in Arizona with emphasis on education, health, and human services, as well as leadership and civic participation.
Before her deputy chief of staff appointment, Ms. Chávez served as Governor Napolitano's director of intergovernmental affairs from November 2003 to January 2007. She was also in-house counsel and assistant director for the Division of Aging and Community Services at the Arizona Department of Economic Security. As assistant director, she provided oversight for programs targeting food distribution for the hungry, shelter and supportive services to victims of domestic violence, refugee resettlement services, and shelter services for the homeless. Additionally, she oversaw the state's adult services programs, including adult protective services.
Ms. Chávez entered state service after working as senior policy advisor to former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater. Prior to this appointment, she served as chief of staff to the deputy administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in Washington, D.C. Ms. Chávez was also previously chief of staff for SBA's Office of Government Contracting and Minority Enterprise Development. In this position, she provided direct policy, program, and managerial support to the offices of Government Contracting, Size Standards, Technology, and Small Disadvantaged Business Certification and Eligibility. In addition, Ms. Chávez served as an advisor to senior SBA and White House officials on a variety of policy issues including civil rights, affirmative action, minority and small business development, procurement reform, and electronic commerce.
From 1996 to 1998, Ms. Chávez acted as legal counsel for the Federal Highway Administration in Washington, D.C. She was instrumental in developing departmental policies in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Adarand v. Peña and assisted with the reauthorization of the agency's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program as part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). Ms. Chávez also served as an attorney advisor in the Office of the Counsel to the President.
Lauded for her leadership, Ms. Chávez is among The NonProfit Times' Power & Influence Top 50 and has been recognized as one of the 100 Women Leaders in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) by STEMconnector. She is the recipient of the 2012 Chairman's Award from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Women of Excellence Award from the Women of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting. In addition, the Arizona National Guard presented Ms. Chávez with the Adjutant General's Medal and the Diversity Champion Leadership Award.
Ms. Chávez holds a juris doctorate from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona and a bachelor's degree in American history from Yale University. Bar admissions include the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, Arizona Supreme Court, and U.S. Supreme Court.