Paola Avila named Cool Woman of 2018

Posted: April 6th, 2018 | Featured, News | No Comments

By Mary Doyle

Girl Scouts of San Diego recognizes alumni that make a difference

Paola Avila of Bay Park will be honored on Friday, April 13, as one of Girl Scouts San Diego’s Cool Women of 2018. The honorees were selected for the personal and professional achievements that make them consummate role models for girls.

Poala Avila is being honored as one of the Girl Scouts San Diego’s Cool Women of 2018. (Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts San Diego)

The 18th annual Cool Women luncheon and ceremony, held at Coasterra on Harbor Island, will begin with registration and a reception at 11:15 a.m. Event proceeds will support programs that help empower girls to use their voices, develop a strong sense of self, step outside their comfort zones, and build resilience.

As a child, Paola Avila was a Girl Scout, and she also volunteered for the organization when her daughter was a member.

She has nearly 20 years of experience in public policy, community outreach, and government relations. As vice president for international business affairs for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, she focuses on advocacy of domestic and international public policies that enhance economic prosperity through trade, commerce, and robust international relationships. She works to secure San Diego’s position as a top global competitor and represents the business community on distinguished panels throughout the nation.

Avila is a member of the Civic San Diego board of directors, chairs the Border Trade Alliance, and serves on the International Boundary and Water Commission Citizens Forum. By participating on the board of directors for the Foundation for the Children of the Californias, she helps support the Hospital Infantil de las Californias, a collaboration between Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Dea Hurston is a playwright who is an advocate, patron, and past board member of Diversionary Theatre, Malashock Dance, The Old Globe, San Diego REP, Young Audiences and many other local arts organizations. (Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts San Diego)

Formerly, she served as deputy chief of staff for San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy, advising on economic development policy and binational affairs; owned a public affairs consulting business; and was a staff adviser on water, energy and economic development for Senator Ben Hueso. Avila holds a bachelor’s in economics from the University of California San Diego.

The other members of the Cool Women Class of 2018 are also Girl Scout alumnae. They include:

Jeannie Hilger, vice president of Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Communications business, who established the Adelante Engineering Academy at Northrop Grumman’s San Diego site to build a stronger STEM pipeline for Latinas and inspire students to pursue STEM careers by providing them with hands-on activities;

Dea Hurston, a playwright who is an advocate, patron, and past board member of Diversionary Theatre, Malashock Dance, The Old Globe, San Diego REP, Young Audiences and many other local arts organizations.

Laura Shawver is president/CEO/director of Synthorx, Inc. and founder of The Clearity Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides genetic analysis for ovarian cancer patients to match them with the most effective drugs; and

Caroline Winn, chief operating officer of San Diego Gas & Electric, who serves on the management council and board of directors of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the boards of the Western Energy Institute and the UC Davis Energy Efficient Center.

“Our organization provides girls with the world’s best girl leadership experience, in an inclusive, girl-led space that empowers them to take the lead,” said Girl Scouts San Diego CEO Carol M. Dedrich. “By shining a spotlight on these extraordinary Cool Women, we are inspiring today’s Girl Scouts to reach their own potential.”

During the luncheon, Ana De Almeida Amaral, one of the “Emerging Leader Girl Scouts” participating in the Cool Women event, will introduce Avila. The High Tech High School junior is basing Avila’s introduction on their recent, one-on-one meeting.

The day’s activities will also include a morning mentoring session for all 30 Emerging Leader Girl Scouts. They were selected for participation on the basis of their potential and the outstanding achievements that are already making the world a better place. The teens will gain insights about careers, education pathways and overcoming challenges from some of San Diego’s most successful female executives and community leaders, including Avila and other members of the Cool Women of 2018.

For event tickets, visit or call 619-610-0807.

—Mary Doyle is the director of Communications for Girl Scouts San Diego and Imperial Valley.

—Girl Scouts of the USA is the nation’s preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with a mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts San Diego has more than 35,000 girl and adult members in San Diego and Imperial counties who benefit from year-round activities and training. Headquartered in Balboa Park, Girl Scouts San Diego maintains two camps in the Cuyamaca Mountains, a program center in Escondido and a service center in Carlsbad. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, join or learn more, visit

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