Julia Cuba Lewis springs out of bed to help girls discover they are powerful. She is the CEO at Girls Empowerment Network, a statewide organization which helps girls how to increase their self-efficacy – a girls’ belief in her ability to succeed. Julia joined the agency in 2006 and grew the organization from a small footprint in Central Texas to the statewide, multi-million-dollar organization it is today.

Before Girls Empowerment Network, Julia worked for eight years at the Girl Scouts of Central Texas running various outreach programs that served girls experiencing physical, mental and sexual trauma, homelessness, teen pregnancy, involvement with the juvenile justice system and/or the damaging impact of maternal incarceration. Prior to that, she worked in Chicago at several grassroots women’s agencies on equal employment opportunities, international women’s issues, mentor programs and emergency rape counseling.

She is the recipient of numerous professional and academic awards, including Austin Under 40. While earning her Master’s degree at the UT School of Social Work, she was honored as the NASW Student of the Year for the City of Austin and again for the State of Texas, and was the student commencement speaker for her graduating class. She is past Secretary and two-time Chair of the Austin Commission for Women, and is a graduate of Leadership Austin and Leadership Texas. Julia was also a Visiting Scholar and Community Sabbatical Recipient through The University of Texas Humanities Institute. Julia is an adjunct professor at the University of Texas where she teaches a Master-level class on nonprofit management. She recently completed a 6-year seat as a Trustee on the board of a school in Austin, Texas called Headwaters where she sat on the Executive Committee as the Secretary.

She was the narrator and troop leader in an award-winning documentary about a program she directed while at the Girl Scouts called Troop 1500, which aired on PBS to more than 800,000 viewers in March 2006 and was highlighted in O Magazine, People Magazine, This American Life and won the runner up “Audience Award” at SXSW. The documentary, about a Girl Scout troop with incarcerated mothers, had a successful U.S. tour with Julia as its spokesperson and can still be seen on PBS today.