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Sylvia Acevedo          

Engineer, Rocket Scientist & Technology Leader; Early Childhood Education Advocate; Corporate Director at Qualcomm; Former CEO of Girl Scouts USA

Sylvia Acevedo, a distinguished leader, has left an indelible mark across diverse industries, excelling in corporate and public sectors as a trailblazer. Beginning her career as a rocket scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Acevedo's journey took her through executive roles at renowned companies such as Apple, Autodesk, Dell, and IBM. Her tenure at NASA fulfilled her lifelong dream of contributing to the space program through her work on the Voyager 2 mission. Internationally, Acevedo pioneered some of first fiber technology network installations outside the USA and played a pivotal role in enhancing the software distribution business across Latin America.

Today, Acevedo serves on the Board of Directors for two public companies, Qualcomm and Credo Technologies, and two early stage companies, and Ambri Battery.

Beyond her corporate achievements, Acevedo's unwavering commitment to public service is unmistakable. During her tenure as CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA from 2016 to 2020, Acevedo's transformative leadership left an indelible mark. She spearheaded the organization's most significant program expansion in over a century, introducing 146 new badges and programs in STEM, Outdoors, Entrepreneurship, and Civics. This initiative resulted in the earning of over one million STEM badges by girls in rural, urban and suburban communities.

Before assuming her leadership position at the Girl Scouts, Acevedo was a co-founder of a software startup, REBA Technologies, which was acquired. Subsequently, she directed her efforts towards enhancing educational outcomes through grassroots educational initiatives. Beginning in Austin, Texas, these campaigns expanded nationally, delivering vital resources to millions of parents and students. President Obama selected Acevedo as a White House Education Commissioner where she led a change in Federal Policy in early childhood education. Her leadership as a White House Education Commissioner and her receipt of the Ohtli Award from the Government of Mexico in 2010 for her work in parental engagement in education in the USA underscore her monumental contributions to the field of education.

Acevedo’s leadership and impact have garnered prestigious accolades such as the Captain of Industry Leadership Award from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the esteemed title of "Cybersecurity Person of the Year" by Cybersecurity Ventures in 2019. Forbes has honored her as one of America's Top 50 Women in Tech, while InStyle magazine recognized her as "Number 7 on the Badass 50: Women Who are Changing the World." In December 2022, Bloomberg featured her as one of the top 100 Influential Latinos.

To inspire the rising generation, Acevedo authored the bestselling middle school memoir, "Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist," imparting the values of perseverance and ambition in the pursuit of excellence to live your life potential.

Acevedo is a graduate of New Mexico State University, holding a Bachelor's degree with Honors in Industrial Engineering. Notably, she stands as one of the first Hispanics, male or female, to earn a graduate degree in Engineering from Stanford University. Her commitment to education and STEM leadership has been further acknowledged through an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Duke University in 2022 and an Honorary Doctorate from Washington College in 2020.

Speech Topics

Trailblazing Leadership: Igniting the Path to Success

In today's dynamic business landscape, we need leaders who break barriers and drive transformational change. Join us for an impactful fireside chat, ""Trailblazing Leadership: Igniting the Path to Success"", led by an acclaimed global leader Sylvia Acevedo This talk dives into the heart of audacious leadership, showcasing how it sparks innovation and resilience. Through personal anecdotes and captivating storytelling, our speaker challenges conventional perspectives, inspiring new ways to imagine opportunities for career advancement and explore new ideas. This session isn't just about leadership - it's about the courage to maximize you and your organization’s potential to make a lasting impact. Join us to be inspired, enlightened, and empowered to ignite your journey towards trailblazing leadership. Embark on this mind-expanding exploration and engrain a trailblazer's spirit into your leadership ethos.

This fireside chat will be an inspirational charge to your leadership ethos, instilling a trailblazer's spirit into your corporate DNA. Come prepared to be inspired, enlightened, and empowered to blaze your own trail in leadership and beyond.

Innovation Unleashed: Accelerating Your Competitive Advantage

Join us for a vital session, ""Innovation Unleashed"", led by Sylvia Acevedo, highly awarded leader known for transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. In an ever-changing business environment, staying competitive demands relentless innovation. Sylvia will demystify how to leverage this power to drive growth and stay ahead of the curve even in the most challenging environments. This talk isn't just about innovation—it's about boldness to transcend boundaries, creativity to envision the unimaginable, and tenacity to bring visions to life. It's about redefining the way you see and create value through captivating storytelling of hard learned lessons. Embark on this journey with Sylvia, and you'll leave not just inspired, but equipped with actionable insights to foster innovation and secure your competitive edge in today's dynamic world.

Igniting Change: The Unstoppable Journey of Hispanic Leadership with Sylvia Acevedo

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are thrilled to present an inspiring dialogue with one of the most formidable leaders of our time, Sylvia Acevedo. Celebrated globally and recognized by Bloomberg as one of the world’s most influential Latinos, and spotlighted in Smithsonian's book “30 Inspiring Latino/a’s that have shaped the United States,"" Sylvia embodies the strength of Hispanic leadership. In ""Igniting Change"", Sylvia recounts her remarkable trajectory—from her early days as a rocket scientist at NASA, to a prominent technology executive at Apple, IBM, and Dell, to a dedicated White House Education Commissioner under President Obama, and to her inspiring tenure as CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. Her tenure at Girl Scouts was transformative, integrating STEM programming and leading the charge as over 1 million Girl Scouts earned STEM badges. Today, Sylvia is a pioneering global leader on numerous corporate boards.

Through sharing her life’s journey, Sylvia underscores the resilience, courage, and relentless persistence that have characterized her trailblazing career. With her inspiring narrative, she illuminates the powerful role that these traits play in fostering innovative leadership and effecting meaningful change. This talk is more than a personal story—it's a celebration of the power of the embracing your potential, who you are and its transformative impact on leadership. Sylvia inspires you to embrace and celebrate your own potential, using it as a source of strength, resilience, and innovation.

Prepare to be inspired by Sylvia Acevedo's compelling story of resilience, innovation, and unwavering commitment to transformation. This is a rare opportunity to learn from a leader who has repeatedly shattered glass ceilings and continues to inspire the next generation of leaders. Don't miss this unique chance—join us in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month through an empowering narrative that is sure to embolden and motivate.

Radiant Rise: Sylvia Acevedo's Inspiring Journey of Female Empowerment and Leadership

This Women's History Month, join us for a thrilling dialogue with Sylvia Acevedo, a leading figure who has continually broken barriers and redefined women's leadership. Recognized as one of the world’s most influential Latinos by Bloomberg, and 7th on In Style's Badass 50: Women Changing the World,"" Sylvia's story is a beacon of inspiration for women around the globe.

In ""Radiant Rise"", Sylvia shares her remarkable journey, from her early career as a NASA rocket scientist to being a tech executive at giants like Apple, IBM, and Dell. Not stopping there, she served as a White House Education Commissioner under President Obama and as the innovative CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. Here, she instilled a passion for STEM among a generation of girls, resulting in over 1 million STEM badges earned under her leadership. Today, Sylvia stands as a triumphant Latina on several corporate boards.

Sylvia's tale isn't just a personal success story—it's a testament to the power of every women's resilience, courage, and unwavering persistence in the face of challenges. Her trajectory serves as an empowering narrative for aspiring women leaders and disruptors. Join us to celebrate Women's History Month with Sylvia's inspiring story. Get ready to be moved, empowered, and motivated to rise to your potential, This is more than a session—it's a celebration of female empowerment and leadership that will inspire you to ignite your own trailblazing journey.

Career Acceleration

For the driven mid-level executive with eyes on the C-Suite as well as the new hires with dreams of the top, the journey can often seem like an uphill battle - filled with complexities, fierce competition, and sometimes, uncertainty about the path ahead. This is an unparalleled opportunity to learn directly from a leader who has tread this path successfully and is now committed to lighting the way for others. Welcome to our enriching session, "Career Acceleration. Unleashing Leaders Potential to the Top".

Your mentor on this journey, a trailblazing leader with a wealth of diverse industry leadership experiences that started as a rocket scientist at NASA, and then who carved an enviable path of innovation and leadership as a tech executive at IBM, Apple, and Dell. Sylvia pivoted to public service leadership where she became a White House Education Commissioner and then CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. As CEO, Sylvia spearheaded the most extensive program rollout in its history, with over a million STEM badges earned by Girl Scouts during her tenure. Now serving on board director roles in Fortune 150 public and private companies, she offers unique insights into the nuances of attaining and succeeding all the way to the C-Suite.

However, the path to the top isn't always smooth. It's filled with humbling experiences, stumbles, and lessons, each one molding the leader in unique ways. Through her own experiences, Sylvia seeks to provide you with invaluable wisdom, helping you navigate your path with resilience and adaptability.

Embark on this inspiring journey with us and accelerate your progression to the top tiers of leadership. This session is an extraordinary chance to refine your leadership style, uncover personal growth opportunities, and equip yourself with the knowledge to successfully navigate the complex journey of leadership. Let's pave your path to success together.


How Sylvia Acevedo Defied Barriers to Become Girl Scout CEO
Sylvia's early life experience with Girl Scouts helped to guide her own future," said McKay. "Decades later, as CEO, those experiences formed her vision of the immense impact the Girl Scout Movement could make, at scale, to open opportunities for girls and women in STEM.
Bloomberg News | Sylvia Acevedo
Sylvia Acevedo is an entrepreneur, investor and space scientist. She is the author of Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist, which details her personal journey from the streets of Las Cruces, New Mexico, to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and to the highest executive levels at Apple, Dell, IBM and other leading US technology companies. Acevedo was Executive Director of Girl Scouts USA, a non-profit organization that supports girls around the world and generates over $800 million annually through its iconic cookie program to support local Scouting. She was Chair of President Obama’s White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics in Early Childhood Leadership and Policy Leader for Dual Language Early Childhood Education. Acevedo currently serves on Qualcomm’s Board of Directors.
Sylvia Acevedo Inspires Students in Garrison Lecture “My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist”
Students gained a lot of wisdom and encouragement from Sylvia Acevedo, more than can be captured in one article. She talked about her accomplishments working for NASA and meeting President Obama, but the emphasis was on her passion for science and mathematics and entrepreneurial skills she gained as a child and how they carried over into her adult life. Overall, it was inspirational to hear her explain how anyone can create opportunities for themselves, pursue their passions, and help their community.
The Power of Women, Featuring Sylvia Acevedo
This week for The Power of Women, Lisa Gable chats with Sylvia Acevedo, former CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, rocket scientist, and Corporate Director, to talk about optimism, resilience, and how women can apply and use both to achieve their goals.

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