Lidia Soto Harmon has a proven track record of success in the corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors. In 2010, she was appointed CEO of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital after serving six years as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. The Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital is the largest council in the country and serves as the area’s preeminent leadership organization for girls. With 87,000 girl and adult members (girls in grades K-12), the Council covers the Greater Washington Region, which includes the District of Columbia and 25 counties in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Lidia is directly responsible for developing strategies to achieve the organization's vision and mission. She directs a $18+ million operating budget with 121 employees located in six offices, and a volunteer structure that includes over 27,000 dedicated adult volunteers. As CEO, her priorities are to develop a strategy to recruit and build girl and adult membership in the region, create a culture of philanthropy to cultivate donors from the corporate and private sectors, and serve as the organization’s spokesperson to empower youth and establish positive and effective relationships inside and outside the organization. Lidia was responsible for leading the largest celebration in the history of the Girl Scout movement. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts, on June 9, 2012, 250,000 people attended the Girl Scouts Rock the Mall event on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Girl Scouts from every zip code and around the world gathered for this spectacular sing-along in the nation’s capital.
In her former role as COO, Lidia was directly responsible for membership services, adult volunteer development, public relations, and girl programs. To her credit, she created many innovative programs to reach girls from underserved communities. She developed an annual conference, Encuentro de Chicas Latinas de las Girl Scouts, which reaches young Latina girls, inspiring leadership and academic success. She convened girls from the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County to Howard University to attend an annual conference, Your Turn to Lead, to encourage leadership skills and academic success. Ms. Soto-Harmon also developed the DC Step Showcase to celebrate the rich history of African-American stepping traditions. Today, the annual event is enjoyed by Girl Scouts throughout the region.
Prior to joining the Council, Lidia served as senior vice president of community development for First Book, a national children’s literacy organization dedicated to getting new books into the hands of children from low-income families. She served as the deputy director of the President’s Interagency Council on Women, chaired by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, at the U.S. Department of State, where she represented the United States at various United Nations conferences including the annual United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women. She was instrumental in the federal response to “Beijing Plus Five,” the five-year follow-up to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women. Lidia traveled to Peru, Thailand, and Switzerland as a State Department official to attend United Nations preparatory meetings. She was also the senior director of the Fannie Mae Foundation’s Targeted Outreach Department, designing the first corporate nationwide multilingual strategy to reach new immigrants to promote homeownership in the United States in the late 1990s.
Lidia is vice chair and trustee of the Migration Policy Institute, an independent think tank dedicated to the analysis of the movement of people worldwide; as the governance chair for the Meyer Foundation; on the board of directors of the Greater Washington Board of Trade; and on the executive committee of the International Women’s Forum, where she co-chairs membership. She was honored to represent Girl Scouts when throwing out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals Major League baseball game in 2014.
Lidia was a 2018 Fairfax County Commission on Women History Month Honoree for fighting discrimination of women and girls of color. She also received the Walker’s Legacy Award with the African American Mayors Association for Achievement in Economic Development. In 2017 she was named by Drew University a “Drew Gooder” for her work to empower girls. She was identified as one of the nation's top 90 female mentoring leaders by Women of Wealth magazine in 2011, Notimujer of the Week by CNN en Español for her work to reach young Latinas, a Woman Who Means Business by the Washington Business Journal, and recognized by Capitol File magazine as one of DC’s most influential leaders. She received the Regional Mujer Award (Woman of the Year) by the National Hispana Leadership Institute in 2012, and the Woman of Vision Award from the Junior League of Northern Virginia. Lidia is a recipient of the Wayne T. Anderson Award for Distinguished Public Service from George Mason University School of Public Policy. She is a member of the 2007 class of Leadership Greater Washington.
Ms. Soto-Harmon grew up in Latin America and the United States. She earned her master’s in public administration from George Mason University and her bachelor’s from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. She is married and has two adult bilingual children.