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Rise to the Top: Mary Vitek of Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council

Published Mar 13, 2023 by Brina Morales

Photo of Mary Vitek, CEO of Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council

In this episode of the Partnership's Rise to the Top podcast, we're speaking with Mary Vitek, CEO of Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council. Mary is responsible for one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the nation, which serves approximately 35,000 girls and 15,000 adults across 26 counties in Southeast Texas.

Host and Partnership Chief Development Officer Katie Pryor talks with Mary about her career journey, her current role which she's held for nearly 25 years, family life and what drives her as a community leader.

Mary also shares some of the challenges young women are facing today and the impact the council has made on the greater Houston region.

Launched in 2021, the Greater Houston Partnership's Rise to the Top podcast aims to amplify the insight of accomplished female leaders in the Houston region. 

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Learn more about the Partnership's female-focused business resource groups Executive Women's Partnership and Women's Business Alliance

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Houston Female Leaders Gather to Celebrate International Women's Day at 12th Annual Rise to the Top Event

The Partnership’s 12th annual Rise to the Top event convened over 600 attendees this week to hear a dynamic discussion among diverse female leaders on how the Houston region can embrace equity. “Although International Women’s Day was Wednesday, the Partnership continues this global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women by coming together to detail what it means to rise to the top,” Chief Development Officer and Senior Vice President of Member Engagement Katie Pryor said.  Today there are 44 female Fortune 500 CEOs in the U.S., which is up from 41 in 2022. Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey said the Partnership’s Board of Directors is currently 26% female and the Partnership staff is over two-thirds women. “Houston has made great strides in terms of women represented in leadership positions,” Harvey said, adding female representation must improve. The panelists covered a wide range of topics including juggling priorities with such tremendous responsibilities, how to be change agents for creating inclusive workplaces, and the challenges and triumphs of their personal career journeys.  Katie Pryor served as the moderator for the event’s panel discussion featuring: April Bailey, Regional President, Central Texas, Amegy Bank Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young, President, Texas Southern University Shiva McMahon, Executive Vice President, International Operations, Woodside Energy Maria Rios, President & CEO, Nation Waste Inc. While embracing equity was this year’s theme for International Women's Day, “transformation” was the recurring word during the discussion to describe how we can move equity forward.  “I'm going to encourage us to build upon the equity conversation to transformation," Crumpton-Young said. She applauded the efforts to move the focus from equality to equity but encouraged attendees to push the conversation further by focusing on the transformation aspect and how it can lead to action.   Creating a more inclusive workplace was another topic of discussion. McMahon said we should tap into empathy as we look to support and amplify others. “We have to transform and make the table a lot bigger to make room for more seats – that’s how we can make people feel welcome.”  Other impactful takeaways included the topic of prioritizing, especially as accomplished women in various industries.  Bailey revealed she struggled with anxiety until she finally pursued the help she needed. “People look at you in these positions and they think you have it all together. But we don’t,” Bailey said. Crumpton-Young also reiterated this sentiment, saying “I think I was liberated the moment someone told me that ‘no true balance exists.’” The Partnership is committed to addressing diversity and equity in the Houston business community through the One Houston Together initiative. The second-ever One Houston Together Regional Assessment, which serves as a critical tool for business planning and advancing progress on DEI, launches on April 1. “The regional assessment provides the only local data available that takes an intersectional look at how women and ethnic minorities fare in the Houston workplace,” Harvey said. Rise to the Top is the signature event of the Partnership’s Business Resource Group, Women’s Business Alliance (WBA). To learn more about getting involved, click here or contact
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New Partnership Members in February

The Greater Houston Partnership welcomed 18 new member companies in the month of February. The Partnership works to connect companies with resources, information and networking opportunities to help increase business while also providing a platform to influence the direction of the region.  New members who joined in February include: AES: AES is a next-generation energy company with over four decades of experience helping businesses transition to clean, renewable energy. Website. AFR Furniture Rental: AFR carefully crafts the details of every furniture rental experience while providing the highest degree of service and versatility to its clients. Website. AMOCO Federal Credit Union: AMOCO is one of the largest credit unions in the Houston/Galveston area and works to serve the financial needs of its members. Website.  Bloom Energy: Bloom Energy's flexible, future-proof technology generates lower-carbon energy today while laying the foundation for a net zero tomorrow. Bloom works to empower businesses and communities to accelerate toward a decarbonized future. Website. Elmore Public Relations, Inc.: Elmore is a team of highly experienced and invested communications professionals who are dedicated stewards of its client's story, providing the spark and indispensable engine that connect clients to success through strategic communications. Website. Enchanted Rock: Enchanted Rock's reliability-as-a-service offering provides C&I&I customers with ultra-clean, ultra-quiet backup generation via natural gas microgrids. Enchanted Rock currently owns and operates 343 MWs, 73 of which are in the Houston area. Website.  Insgroup: As a top 100 broker, and one of the most trusted insurance brokers in Texas, Insgroup delivers sophisticated solutions that are ideally positioned to offer superior customization, insight, and personalized attention to its clients. Website. Inventure: Inventure transforms the client experience in design and architecture by creating smart, human-centered spaces achieved through a dedicated partnership with its expert team. Website.  JBJ Management: JBJ Management is a public affairs firm that provides strategic support services that include: government relations, public engagement, equity compliance, and full-service media production. Website.  Matchstick: Matchstick is a Houston-based, agile talent search partner that understands finding the right person goes beyond job descriptions. Its collaborative and nuanced approach to executive searches ensures that its clients will find the right fit, every time. Website.  Nino Properties: Nino Properties is a recognized leader in the corporate relocation industry, welcoming domestic and international newcomers, as well as local consumers who desire to buy, sell, rent or utilize fully furnished temporary housing. Website.  Phelps Dunbar LLP: Companies with business interests across the South turn to Phelps Dunbar for counsel on their legal needs. With 13 office locations in the U.S. and in London, Phelps Dunbar serves clients in the region's major commercial centers. Its 350-plus lawyers focus on six core areas: labor and employment, litigation, business, admiralty, insurance coverage and healthcare. Website.  Raymond James and Associates, Inc.: Raymond James and Associates is a global financial services firm, focused on providing trusted advice and tailored, sophisticated strategies for individuals and institutions. Website. Sino Biological US: Sino Biological is an international reagent supplier and service provider. The company specializes in recombinant protein production and antibody development. All of Sino Biological's products are independently developed and produced, including recombinant proteins, antibodies and cDNA clones. Website.  TETRA Technologies, Inc.: TETRA Technologies is an energy services company focused on well completion and late-life production enhancement and decommissioning; integrated chemicals operation that supplies feedstock to energy markets, among others. Website.  Vitrian: In order to address a dynamically evolving biomanufacturing environment, Vitrian has created a comprehensive solution to address the unique needs of the industry, including workforce development, process development, and facilities solutions. Website. Vopak North America, Inc.: Vopak is an independent infrastructure provider that serves energy and manufacturing markets offering significant growth opportunities to its 1,000+ customers, including new products and services. Vopak works to improve access to cleaner energy and feedstocks for a growing world population, ensuring safe, clean and efficient storage and handling of bulk liquid products and gases. Website.  Whitmire & Munoz LLC: Whitmire & Munoz is a women-owned public affairs firm focused on local and state governments and communities within the greater Houston region. Website.  Click here to see the Partnership's Membership Directory. To learn more about membership with the Greater Houston Partnership click here, or contact
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