Sylvia Acevedo – Entrepreneur, investor, business leader and rocket-scientist

By on , in Interviews, North America

There is a tremendous opportunity for women to be part of creating the future world we all share.

Sylvia Acevedo is an Entrepreneur, investor, business leader and rocket-scientist. She is passionate about building, scaling and leading market transitions. Startup mindset; global outlook. Devout believer in the power of transformation and disruption to change and improve lives, communities, organizations – and the world.

Author of Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist, which details Sylvia’s personal journey from the dirt streets of Las Cruces, New Mexico, to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the top executive tiers of Apple, Dell, IBM and other U.S. technology leaders.  

Most recently served as CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. One of the most enduring non-profits in the world, Girl Scouts supports more than 2.5 million members worldwide and generates more than $800 million annually through its iconic cookie program to support local Girl Scouting.

Committed to STEM as a critical platform for providing girls with the skills they’ll need for entrepreneurship, coding, cybersecurity, robotics, and leadership.

Chair of President Obama’s White House initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics in early childhood leadership. Driver of the Administration’s Early Childhood Dual Language Education Policy.

In a Nutshell: Tell us a bit about your job and what role technology plays in it?

Either professionally or as a volunteer, I have been committed to working to provide opportunities for the rising generation. With the world being rewritten, line by line, code by code, it is imperative that everyone, especially girls, get the STEM skills that they need to be the designers, creators, innovators and leaders of the future.

Where did your professional journey start and how did you get to where you are now?

I wrote a book for middle school students about my journey, called Path to the Stars. I first began working as a Rocket Scientist at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena, California. After that, I earned my master’s in engineering from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. I found myself at the launching off point of the internet era and had a career in technology working for Apple, Dell, Autodesk and IBM.  I started and sold a tech company with three other engineers and then began to work in the educational sector which led me to President Obama’s White House Commission in Education. I had served on the Girl Scouts of the USA national board for 8 years when they asked me to fill the interim role as CEO and then I became permanent CEO until August 2020. 

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career? 

The biggest transformations have been the mobile phone and now, the mass digitization of how we work, learn, play and interact.

When you think about ‘women’ and ‘technology’ what comes to your mind first?

The tremendous opportunity for women to be part of creating the future world we all share.

We always hear there are not enough women working in Tech. What needs to happen to change that, which steps should be done to achieve gender equality in tech? 

Many things, including STEM curriculums that are designed around girl’s interests which will then also build their confidence which allows them to gain competence. Protocols have to incorporate safety and security in their design and standards. 

Which was the best decision in your career?

Best decision was to study engineering. Then the second best was to invest in my professional development.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 14-year-old self? 

I would prompt her to dream even bigger dreams!

Sylvia Acevedo is an Entrepreneur, investor, business leader and rocket-scientist. She is passionate about building, scaling and leading market transitions. Startup mindset; global outlook. Devout believer in the power of transformation and disruption to change and improve lives, communities, organizations – and the world.

Author of Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist, which details Sylvia’s personal journey from the dirt streets of Las Cruces, New Mexico, to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the top executive tiers of Apple, Dell, IBM and other U.S. technology leaders.  

Most recently served as CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. One of the most enduring non-profits in the world, Girl Scouts supports more than 2.5 million members worldwide and generates more than $800 million annually through its iconic cookie program to support local Girl Scouting.

Committed to STEM as a critical platform for providing girls with the skills they’ll need for entrepreneurship, coding, cybersecurity, robotics, and leadership.

Chair of President Obama’s White House initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics in early childhood leadership. Driver of the Administration’s Early Childhood Dual Language Education Policy.

See more interviews of our amazing Gals.

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