Thursday, February 12, 2015

Girl Scout Chief Executive Director Maria D. Tejera retired effective February 13, 2015

Hired in 1982 as a membership marketing specialist, Maria’s skills and previous experience in child development propelled her as she advanced to the position of director of membership.  She was ultimately hired as the Girl Scout CEO in 1992, shortly before Hurricane Andrew took aim at South Florida, devastating Girl Scout properties.  Due to her tenacity and firmness, the Girl Scouts were the very last FEMA claim settled after Andrew.    The administrative service center was rebuilt as was the Barbara Moore Program Center, but FEMA kept denying the claim for the four cabins at

Camp Choee.   Thanks to her, the cabins were indeed rebuilt, but were moved to a more secluded location on the camp away from the front gate and included air conditioning, showers, and fans for the new generation of Girl Scouts.  In addition, Maria made sure that the youth in the community received Girl Scout programs in an effort to provide some normalcy to their shattered lives as many lived in “tent city” during their own home rebuilding efforts.

As CEO, Maria guided not only Girl Scout staff and volunteers in the operations of the council but also was a trusted and loyal partner with area funding agencies, foundations and with local businesses and corporations.  After putting the properties back together after Andrew, she went on to face a string of hurricanes in the early 2000’s that impacted the properties once again.  Through her determination she worked again with FEMA to settle claims, rebuild more devastated sites all while gaining the confidence of partnering agencies and funders.  She was determined to create stability for Girl Scout families, staff, and volunteers.

A respected Girl Scout CEO across the nation, Maria was frequently asked by Girl Scouts of the USA to serve on nationwide task groups and was selected by the national organization for the Core Business Strategy Task Group which met over the course of several years to design the merging of Girl Scout councils nationwide. 

Maria has served the board of directors of well throughout the years, working in partnership with hundreds and hundreds of community leaders who served on the Girl Scout board.  Her 33 years of service to the Girl Scout Council of Tropical Florida, Inc. is commendable.  She exemplified the true qualities of the Girl Scout world….honestly, fairness, integrity, good character, and excellent morals and ethics.   She was the face of Girl Scouting in our community and our friend for 33 years. 

Maria’s planned retirement will allow her to spend more time with her family especially her five year old granddaughter, who is a new Girl Scout and attended summer camp last summer. 

The Girl Scout staff and board of directors held a retirement party for her complete with a fun “roast”.  She was reminded of several funny incidents throughout the years, given amusing gifts along with a case of her favorite Girl Scout cookie, the Samoa.  Her staff presented a custom designed trefoil shaped pearl necklace while the board and Girl Scout volunteers attending, presented her the Girl Scout 100th Anniversary Lladro Special Edition Brownie Girl Scout and the customary retirement watch so that she will be on time in her retirement!

We wish you all the best, Maria!