magazine-category: Alumni

A Breath of Fresh Air

Tayuanee Dewberry with Girl Scouts

Tayuanee Dewberry Brings Positive Attitude, Business Acumen to Reintroduce Girl Scouting

Spend just five minutes talking with Tayuanne Dewberry, and she will inspire you to tackle any problem. Her smile, her energy and her positive attitude are contagious.

In April 2021, she became the chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts Hornets’ Nest Council in Charlotte, N.C. “This is an amazing opportunity to work with the oldest girl-serving organization in the world,” stated Dewberry. “I absolutely took this position because of the challenge lying ahead of the organization as a whole but particularly here in the Hornets’ Nest Council, as well.”

Dewberry brings 16 years of experience, 15 of them as executive director, working with the non-profit, Right Moves for Youth in Charlotte a support program helping students develop skills to succeed in school and life. “I really enjoy being in these types of positions, growing people and being able to invest and coach them along,” she related. “I had the opportunity to work with some amazing people and to mentor some young talent.”

After leaving Right Moves, she was executive director at Temple Israel in Charlotte, helping them navigate the COVID-19 pandemic by installing a state-of-the-art camera system, and a cloud-based phone system. “If you know anything about Conservative Judaism, they don’t use technology during their Sabbath/Shabbat,” she explained. “It was a practice of what’s more important, preserving the ritual or connecting with the people. That was an absolute joy, an opportunity to use my business experience and acumen to impact positively a community that was reeling from the effects of the pandemic.”

Embarking on the journey with Girl Scouts, Dewberry has ideas on how to breathe new life into the organization. Through the contacts she made in the community at Right Moves, Dewberry hopes to diversify Girl Scouts’ base of volunteers. Instead of relying only on the girls’ moms to be involved, she wants to engage other community organizations and corporate partners as troop leaders and assistants.

The Girl Scout experience is the premier leadership opportunity for young girls, and we want to re-establish ourselves in the community as the organization that you want your young girl to be a part of.

Tayuanne Dewberry, ‘97, ‘09

“We have the opportunity to reintroduce Girl Scouting to a market that may not have understood exactly what it is,” she asserted. “When people think about Girl Scouts, they think about cookies, but the cookie program isn’t about cookies. It’s about instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in young girls, and who does business better than we (women) do. We are the ultimate business professionals. We run homes, we run companies. The Girl Scout experience is the premier leadership opportunity for young girls, and we want to re-establish ourselves in the community as the organization that you want your young girl to be a part of.”

Tayuanne DewberryAdditionally, Girl Scouts is sharpening its focus on activities in science, technology, engineering and math. “We have diversified the offerings of Girl Scouts to meet the needs of the 21st century girl,” Dewberry expressed. “I want people to understand that we are trying to break down walls and kick in doors, and create opportunities for young girls. I’m excited about being a part of that, just being a catalyst for change and equitable practices for young girls. There are some gems out there, some leaders who are in the making, and Girl Scouts is in the forefront of creating that.”

The combination of her GWU degrees—a bachelor’s in business administration management information systems (1997) and a master’s in counseling with an education specialist certification (2009)—has prepared her for leadership. Further, as a member of the GWU women’s basketball team, she learned the value of working as a team and doing your best in all situations.

“I was trained in the business school and many of the principles that I use to this day are things that I sat and listened to in Dr. (Glenn) Bottoms’ class or Dr. (Anthony) Negbenebor’s,” she advised. “Later, I went back and got my master’s, and I can’t tell you how impactful that was to embed those theories in my business practice. People might say those things don’t go together. Those things have absolutely been the magic blend for me.”

Continuing to reflect on her education, she concluded, “I would not be the success I am and would not have been able to achieve many of the milestones that I have without the impact of my experience at Gardner-Webb, and the support that I have gotten even after leaving there.”

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