Cathy Ferguson

Cathy Ferguson

published on May 11, 2018 - 10:54 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

After nearly a decade as CEO of Girl Scouts of Central California South, Cathy Ferguson has announced her retirement effective Jan. 5, 2019.

Ferguson, an Olympic gold medalist in swimming in the 1964 Tokyo Games, spent more than 20 years as a university professor after earning a doctorate in education. A turn to the nonprofit world led her to Fresno, and she became head of the 11,000-member Girl Scouts body in August 2008.

Among her accomplishments, she secured $240,000 in endowments for Gold Award Girl Scouts scholarships, increased membership 37 percent, established a Girl Scouts alums group and led the merging of Girl Scouts Golden Valley Council and Joshua Tree Girl Scout Council.

The Gold Award is described as a rough equivalent to the Boy Scout’s Eagle Scout honor. Seven girls reached the honor the year Ferguson became CEO. A total of 121 girls earned the award in her ten-year tenure.

She is a mother of three girls and a grandma of six grand-daughters and one grandson. She and her husband, Greg Panten, reside in Clovis and are active in their church. She is currently on the board of the Fresno County Women’s Chamber of Commerce and a Rotarian. She is a motivational speaker for all ages with a mission to help girls discover and realize their full potential in order to become productive and valued citizens to their communities.

After 50 years of working, Ferguson is excited to enjoy her days with her family.

“Upon my retirement, I will become the greatest cheerleader of this organization and will stand ready to help in any way the new CEO deems needed,” she said. “I plan to spend lots of time with my children, grandchildren, and I look forward to the next journey God has planned for me.”

On June 30, Girl Scouts of Central California South is hosting its second annual Gala at The Barthuli Estate in Sanger. This fundraiser, themed after the 1952 “Million Dollar Mermaid” movie, is an opportunity to recognize Ferguson for her contributions to the community and local Girl Scouts. Tickets to this exclusive gala can be purchased at

For sponsorship or donation inquiries, please contact Jennie Guadagno, Senior Director of Resource Development at or (800) 490-8653 ext 125.

For consideration for the position, interested applicants can find more information at and email a cover letter and resume to Bob Perodeau, principal at Evergreen Executive Source, LLC, at

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