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Whitney H. Smith, CEO and Founder

Whitney is the visionary Founder of Girls For A Change. Her inspiration for Girls For A Change springs from nearly a decade of experience in the leadership of innovative and progressive programs for girls and women. Her experience working with girls in juvenile detention and group homes has shaped her vision for a different world for girls and women. Envisioned as a highly collaborative and community-based model, Girls for a Change evolved out of Whitney’s work as the Chair of the Girls Coalition. In this role Whitney developed a powerful collaboration of over 75 community based organizations, legislators and individuals serving girls in Santa Clara Country. She has been honored by the Commission on the Status of Women and featured as one of ’s leading change agents. She was recently selected to attend Harvard Business School’s Nonprofit Strategic Management Program and awarded a scholarship to Hewlett Packard’s Leadership Initiative Program.

Prior to joining the GFC staff full time, she was the Director of the Santa Clara County Office of Women’s Advocacy (OWA). Since 1989 OWA has identified current and emerging trends and needs for women and girls, influenced the local and state legislative process and created public awareness about women’s and girl’s issues. Whitney was Program Director at Girl Scouts of Santa Clara County where she managed programs and services for 18,000 young women. A fearless social change agent and innovator, Whitney began her career in college where she initiated and developed the first Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) student support group and LGBT Faculty Allies group in the Pennsylvania State University system.

Whitney is skilled at creating strong and strategic organizations with deep community support. She shares her experience with other organizations as an active consultant in the areas of program development, nonprofit organizational development, fund development and outcomes evaluation. She is an artist and photographer. A tireless advocate for social justice and the unlimited potential of girls and women, Whitney speaks frequently to diverse audiences on social change, youth activism, and girls and women in leadership, including presentations at Simmons School of Management, The Women’s Leadership Alliance, Mills College, Arizona Foundation for Women, Women’s Fund, DeAnza College, and The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs.


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