The purpose of this blog series has always been to shine a light on those strong women and allies in our community that are inspiring us to step outside of our comfort zone and pursue leadership in business and around Tucson. I usually have a chance to speak to these leaders and ask them questions about their thoughts on women in leadership, and to find out what inspires and drives them. It is an awesome process that always has me walking away with a renewed drive to do better. This month, the process was a little different. While I was honored to have known her, I did not get to speak with her about this spotlight - sadly, Denise Birger passed away suddenly, and far too soon, on September 9th.
I did, however, get a chance to hear from others just how much of an impact Denise’s leadership had on the community and everyone who knew her. I heard about her passion to elevate young girls and women across the community. And I heard about her dedication to the female-serving organizations in the community, including Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, YWCA, Women at the Top, 100+ Women Who Care, Soroptimist and many more. She encouraged women in entrepreneurship positions and championed financial literacy. She mentored and facilitated women at Authoring Your Own Life, a retreat dedicated to personal growth. Denise loved having a positive influence on others and supporting others to achieve their great potential.
“I love people that have no idea how wonderful they are and just wander around making the world a better place. -That was our Denise." Girl Scouts Team -reflecting on Denise Birger
One of those organizations that was impacted greatly by Denise’s leadership is Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona where she served as the served as the Chief Financial Officer. Her high level of expertise helped position Girl Scouts as an organization with financial stability and strength, while also contributing to strong financial forecasting and the adoption of good practices. This enabled the organization to serve its purpose and mission with great intention. Both the Staff and Board loved her philosophies and appreciated her coaching on financial management as she offered clarity around a topic that many find cumbersome.
“Denise was an amazing mentor who consistently provided wisdom, encouragement and inner peace. You could always lean on her for strong guidance, positivity, and innovative thinking. She was a gift to me and so many others. She brought the best out of people and inspired you to do better and be better.” – Kristen Garcia Hernandez, CEO Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona
Everyone we spoke to about Denise agrees that she was an exceptional person with a great heart for service. Thank you, Denise, for your commitment – your legacy of #LeadHership will forever shape our community.