Natissia Small helping prepare girls for future success as CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri

by | May 16, 2024

Small stepped into the role of CEO in April 2023 after nearly 28 years working at UMSL, most recently as vice provost for access, academic support and workforce integration.
Natissia Small

Natissia Small is the CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. (Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri)

Hometown: Charleston, Missouri

Major: MEd in Secondary Education-Adult Education, 1999; MEd in School Counseling, 2007; EdD in Education Policy and Leadership, 2016

Current Position: CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri

Fun Fact: Small enjoys cooking and gardening.


It’s the girls who have provided Natissia Small the most inspiration over the past year since stepping into her role as the CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri.

She’s had the privilege of presenting several girls with the prestigious Gold Award for applying all that they’ve learned in their years of scouting to try to help address problems in their communities, and she’s often been able to watch girls showcase real lessons in leadership and entrepreneurship. 

“It’s been great to watch our girls break through barriers and stand out with their shoulders back and their heads held high,” Small says. “Girl Scouts is so much more than cookies, camp and crafts. Seeing girls develop confidence, leadership skills and a sense of community is the driving force behind what we do.”

As CEO, her day-to-day schedule involves a dynamic mix of strategic organizational oversight and engagement with various stakeholders. Each day brings new opportunities with a blend of unique responsibilities, all aimed at fostering an inclusive and empowering environment for girls, starting as young as age 5 and continuing into adulthood, to thrive. It’s a fulfilling role that Small is honored to hold.

“Girls who participate in any of our services are being prepared for their future,” Small says. “Providing girls with access to resources, exploratory experiences and holistic support through a variety of programming and camps allows them to become the leaders we all need for tomorrow. Our girls learn entrepreneurial skills and strengthen key competencies to promote their ability to be the well-rounded leaders we need today and within our future workforce.”

Those were things that motivated Small throughout her nearly 28 years at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Much of that time was spent on fostering college and career readiness, including more than a decade directing the Bridge Program, and she ascended to the role of vice provost for access, academic support and workforce integration. Along the way, Small earned three degrees from the university.

Small is grateful she gets to continue to help young people build a foundation for future success. Her new role has in some ways widened her reach, as Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri serves more than 36,000 girls in 28 counties each year. It covers an area that stretches from Kirksville in the north to Pevely in the south and includes a lot of rural communities like where she grew up in Charleston, Missouri.

“Being a part of an organization that recognizes the potential within each individual to be seen, heard and valued,” Small says, “while actively working to provide them with the tools and experiences to unleash their full capabilities, is overwhelmingly fulfilling.”

This story was originally published in the spring 2024 issue of UMSL Magazine. If you have a story idea for UMSL Magazine, email magazine@umsl.edu.

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Steve Walentik

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