Today we’d like to introduce you to Chelsea Wilkerson.
Chelsea, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My path to Girl Scouts was winding, with over 20 years in the nonprofit sector. I began my nonprofit career facilitating after school programs for Spanish speaking children in Minneapolis/St. Paul. I quickly became enamored of the nonprofit sector and the meaningful career opportunities available. From after school programs, I moved into program and fund development. I moved to Miami in 2004, where I worked in fund development and organizational capacity building for a few organizations. Prior to Girl Scouts, I served as Executive Director at Casa Valentina for a few years, and then, Director of Program Innovation and Fund Development for Our Kids (the former lead agency for foster care in Miami and the Keys), I’ve been with Girl Scouts for just over three years and could not be happier. Being part of an organization that stands for girls, is girl-centered and girl-led is the perfect place for me.
Has it been a smooth road?
If the road is smooth, something is wrong! Of course, it has not been smooth, but it has been incredibly rewarding to see the positive impact I can make in my community. Professionally, the biggest struggle has been always wanting to do more, faster. Building organizational capacity is slow going, launching new and effective programs takes time, and being intentional and deliberate about how to allocate resources takes incredible patience. Personally, the biggest struggle has been balancing career with family. I am a single mom with two amazing children. I want to give my all to my children AND my work. Making that happen is a constant balancing act – one that I will never perfect, but I do my best.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida story. Tell us more about it.
I have the incredible honor to serve as CEO of Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida. Girl Scouts is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Nationwide, Girl Scouts began in 1912, with the first Girl Scout troop forming in Miami in 1923 – Alligator Troop 1 in Coconut Grove. Being a part of the legacy of Girl Scouts is an incredible responsibility. Girl Scouts has an impressive track record in preparing girls for a lifetime of leadership. Stewarding this legacy while ensuring that today’s girls are getting the best Girl Scout experience possible is critical. I believe there are so many things that set Girl Scouts apart – our legacy of positive impact, our commitment to preparing girls for lives of leadership, our work in Life Skills, Entrepreneurship, STEM, and Outdoors – all of this grounded in a girl-led, girl-centered space differentiates Girl Scouts.
Is there something we can do as a city to improve the outlook for businesses like yours?
Girl Scouts in Miami share so much in common with their sister Girl Scouts across the country, yet there is always an extra Miami-flare! In our diverse, multi-cultural community we have the opportunity to bring Girl Scouting to first-generation Americans. In other communities, most people know about Girl Scouts (and our delicious cookies) because their mothers and grandmothers were part of the program. We cannot make that assumption here in Miami, with over half of our community being born out of the U.S. We continue to engage the community and spread the word about the opportunities available to girls through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. We have found people to be responsive, interested, and excited about their daughters being part of our work. Our membership has grown the past two years in a row, and we project another year of growth in 2020!
- Address: Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida
11347 SW 160 St
Miami, FL 33157
- Website: www.girlscoutsfl.org
- Phone: 3052825030
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @girlscoutstropicalflorida
- Facebook: @gsctf
- Twitter: @gsctf