MILWAUKEE — The Girl Scouts have been empowering girls since 1912, before women could even vote. It’s only fitting that one of the new leaders of the organization in Wisconsin is making history herself.

What You Need To Know

  • Ana Simpson is the first Latina serving as CEO for the Girl Scouts of Southeast Wisconsin

  • Simpson's years of volunteer work focused on organizations helping women and children

  • Her goal is to impact more young girls and women in underserved areas

Ana Simpson is the first Latina serving as chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of Southeast Wisconsin, which serves nearly 12,000 girls in the Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha areas.

Once a girl scout leader herself, Simpson comes into this role after helping lead the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. Her years of volunteer work focused on organizations that help women and children, such as La Casa de Esperanza, La Familia de Arte, Family Service of Waukesha and TEMPO. She was also appointed by Gov. Tony Evers to sit on the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and Capability.

“I knew that were certain youth-serving organizations that I would love to be a part of because of the mission and the impact that they’re making, and the Girl Scouts was at the top of that list,” said Simpson. 

She grew up in the Spanish Harlem neighborhood of New York City. When she was in middle school, her family moved to Milwaukee. She is the daughter of immigrants, with roots in Puerto Rico and Spain.

“When I think of that immigrant story, it is a source of pride from the fact that being in a position like this is living that American dream that so many immigrant families have for their children and grandchildren,” said Simpson. 

(Spectrum News 1/Katarina Velazquez)

She said she is proud that the Girl Scouts chose her for this role, and that the girls the organization serves can see proof that women of all backgrounds can earn important leadership roles.

“For me, diversity in roles such as this are critical in communities like Milwaukee,” said Simpson. “That’s why it’s so critical for organizations like Girl Scouts to ensure that in our staffing models, we are also representative of the communities that we’re serving.”

From the very beginning of her career to now, Simpson has tried to always mentor young women coming up behind her, trying to help them rise, as she does. She said getting to do that in a bigger scope with the Girl Scouts is a privilege.

“We are creating opportunities for our girls to augment what they’re getting through their regular academics, but that’s why it is so important that we continue to do a better job every year of reaching communities that are underserved,” she said. “Those are the girls that need us the most.”

It’s a need Simpson is determined to meet, so every girl and young woman in every neighborhood gets help unlocking their full potential.