The 43-year-old Ms. Chavez succeeds Kathy Cloninger, who is retiring.
Before she joined the organization's leadership in 2009 as head of Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, Ms. Chavez worked in many Arizona state- and federal-government agencies and served as an adviser on urban policy to Janet Napolitano, former governor of Arizona and now the U.S. secretary of homeland security.
Hispanic participation in the Girl Scouts has skyrocketed even as overall membership has declined. The number of Latina Scouts has grown 55 percent in the past decade, in part due to bilingual publicity campaigns and other outreach efforts.
Read more: Learn how Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts are meeting the challenge of making their organizations relevant after 100 years of operations.