Alexandra Armstrong

Position: President of the Boy Scouts of America National Capital Area Council in Bethesda.

Career highlights: Currently chairman of Armstrong, Welch & MacIntyre Inc. -- a District-based investment advisory firm. She also serves as chair of the Foundation for Financial Planning and sits on the board of Reading Is Fundamental.

Age: 59

Education: Earned a bachelor of arts degree from Newton College of the Sacred Heart in Newton, Mass.

It's unusual for a woman to become president within an organization that allows only young men as members. What led up to this move, and are there many other women leaders with the organization? "I didn't realize how unusual it was until it happened. We have something on the order of 334 chapters nationally, and have chapters in every country in the world but five. Somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of these chapters have women presidents. I was always impressed and heartened by the work done by the Scout volunteers, and had been serving on the board for roughly 15 years when they asked me if I wanted the job. I remember saying, `Are you sure they're ready for this?' They said simply, `You're the right person for the job.' So, while we do have a number of women chapter presidents, I don't know of any other women heading chapters in a major metropolitan center. And our National Capital Council, with more than 67,000 members, makes us by far the largest youth organization in the area."

What can be done to bring organizations like the Boy Scouts into inner cities, where membership has been traditionally very low? "Recruiting kids from inner cities is hard, but we are making some inroads: One of our board members suggested that many of these areas have a need for more people skilled in computers. And if we could go into inner cities and work with them on this, it might go a long way toward meeting our needs and theirs, because so few of these kids are exposed to that kind of learning."