Nancy Nygren, Justine Senna, Anna Maria Chávez: Girl Scouts of Orange County CEO Nancy Nygren and 16 year old Justine Senna from Yorba Linda chat with Anna Maria Chávez. (September 7, 2012)

Leaders from the Girl Scouts of America shared advice on gender equality in leadership to more than 100 community and corporate leaders at a forum last week in Newport Beach.

Voice for Girls 2012, hosted by the Girl Scouts of Orange County and presented by United Healthcare, at Pacific Club on Friday, included several speakers who addressed the importance of leadership for young girls.

Keynote speaker Anna Maria Chavez, Girl Scouts of the USA chief executive, encouraged community leaders to advocate and mentor today's young girls so they can be inspired and prepared to be tomorrow's leaders.

When addressing the country's most difficult problems, both men and women should contribute their perspectives. At the forum, Chavez said that with just 16% of Congress and 2% of Fortune 500 being female, achieving that balance is going to take a long time.

Girl Scouts of Orange County Chief Executive Nancy Nygren agreed and urged local business and community leaders to share that information with their colleagues.

JoAnn Deak, author, educator and psychologist, shared a message that male and female brains are designed differently. She said that for girls to reach their full potential, parents and educators should encourage them to take risks while they are young.

A panel discussing issues females face while in the workplace concluded Voice for Girls.

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