Ana Margarita “Cha” Guzmán, Ph.D.
President, Palo Alto College
Leadership in Education
I am the first woman president of Palo Alto College on the South Side of San Antonio. We serve approximately 9,500 students (65 percent of who are female) with an annual budget of $25 million. I lead a team of 250 faculty and staff to provide academic programs and services on and off campus in south San Antonio, Bexar County and surrounding counties in South Texas. Prior to assuming that role in 2001, I served as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Education during the Clinton administration.
What can you tell us about your Girl Scout experience?
I was a Girl Scout in my native Cuba. I loved having a day set aside after school where I could play with other little girls and learn.
Do you remember your Girl Scout Troop Number?
No, I only remember it was in Havana, Cuba.
How did being a Girl Scout prepare you to be the leader you are today?
Even though I was only a Girl Scout for a short period of time, that experience and others later in life, provided me with leadership skills that have been the foundation to serving my community for over 30 years in various capacities at universities, community colleges, and secondary educational institutions.
Do you have a special story/memory of being a Girl Scout?
I was only a Brownie for a short time because I was a chubby girl and I believed the uniform didn’t look good on me. That was one of the first early experiences in which I realized I could make my own choices. Even though my mom did not want me to quit.
With the 100th Girl Scout Anniversary upon us, what would you tell a young girl today about the value of being a Girl Scout.
Actually, my granddaughter Eva Margarita, is a Daisy. I recently told her how proud I was of her being a Girl Scout, and bought many cookies from her this year.
What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie?
Thin Mints forever!