Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana operates under the leadership of a volunteer board of directors, a chief executive officer (CEO), and a team of professional staff with expertise in a variety of specific fields who all work together in myriad ways to ensure that girls benefit from their Girl Scout experiences.
Meet the CEO
Maria Wynne, CEO
Maria Wynne is Chief Executive Officer for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, the largest Girl Scout council in the world. The council brings leadership development opportunities to more than 84,000 girls ages 5-17 and 24,000 volunteers across six Illinois counties and four Indiana counties.
As CEO, Ms. Wynne is focused on bringing attention to the need to invest in girls by funding experiences that prepare girls for their 21st Century roles as global citizens and leaders. Ms. Wynne was appointed in October 2008 to lead an unprecedented merger of seven independent Girl Scout corporations into one. In four short years, she has led a restructuring of the organization that has resulted in its current positive financial position and upward trends in innovation, support and volunteer and girl engagement.
Prior to joining the Girl Scouts, Ms. Wynne was an executive leading national sales and marketing organizations as Vice President and as General Manager for America’s leading technology brands, Microsoft and Xerox, Ameritech (now AT&T), and Moore Corporation (now RR Donnelley). Her successes include accomplishments in executive leadership, P&L growth and innovation in technology, sales, marketing, business development and operations management.
Under Ms. Wynne’s leadership, the Girl Scout organization was awarded the inaugural ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award in 2010 and received awards for program innovation from the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago as well as the Community Memorial Foundation Achievement Award. In 2012, the Girl Scouts were awarded a Golden Trumpet Award by the Publicity Club of Chicago for “Reality Check: Girls Get Real” and their offices were featured in Crain’s 2012 Coolest Offices in Chicago.
Ms. Wynne was named Chicago Executive of the Year 2011 by the Public Relations Society of America and as one of the “100 Women Making a Difference” by Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine in July 2011. In October 2012 she received Outstanding Alumni distinction by her alma mater, North Central College.
As a community leader, Ms. Wynne serves on the board of the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, the Board of Trustees of North Central College, the Taproot Foundation, the Donors Forum, and is an advisory board member for the Chicago Innovation Awards. She is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, The Chicago Network, and The Chicago Club.
Ms. Wynne earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and her Master of Business Administration from Northern Illinois University. She continued her executive development at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, the Harvard Business School and the Center for Creative Leadership.
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Senior Leadership Team
Bryn Reese, Chief Development Officer
Bryn is responsible for strategic and tactic oversight and implementation of an integrated fundraising and marketing initiative to raise $3.5 million in Fiscal Year 2009. She has an extensive track record in major gifts, corporate and foundation support, government grants and special events. Prior to joining the Girl Scouts, she held positions as Senior Vice President, Chicago Botanic Garden; Executive Vice President, Metropolitan Family Services; Vice President for External Affairs, Chicago Council on Foreign Relations; and Vice President for External Affairs, Chicago Academy of Sciences. Bryn earned her Bachelor of Science in Merchandising at the University of Arizona and her Master of Science in Rehabilitation Administration at DePaul University.
Kathryn Mlsna, Chief Strategy and Governance Officer
Kathryn joined us most recently from Global Lead Management Consulting (now Global Novations) where she was Assistant Vice President of Client Services, developing strategies for diverse workforce recruitment, retention and advancement; and providing legal support. Prior to that, Kathryn was Senior Director and Managing Counsel in the Global Legal Department at McDonald's Corporation where her team provided marketing and intellectual property legal support for the corporation. Kathryn is an industry speaker and a published author in the business and legal arenas, with longtime leadership in the area of mentoring. She is a dedicated Girl Scout who began as a Brownie Girl Scout, became the mother of a Girl Scout, then served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the legacy Prairie Winds council, being honored with a Thanks Badge. Kathryn also chaired the Transitional Nominating Committee of the re-aligned council. Most recently, Kathryn served on the Board of Directors of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Kathryn holds a B.A. in Sociology from Northwestern University and a J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law. Kathryn brings to our council her extensive experience with not-for-profit boards.
Janet Neubert, Chief Operating Officer
Janet joins us most recently from Nicor, Inc. where she managed executive and other compensation programs for Nicor Gas and other subsidiaries. Prior to that role, Janet worked at Nicor Services as their Director of Human Resources. Other experience includes consulting for Flex Execs Management Solutions and Armature, Inc. where she held a variety of Human Resources roles including the Director for North American Operations. Janet has been involved with Girl Scouts since she was young. She was very active within the Prairie Winds Council and was a camp counselor and Assistant Director at Camp Greenwood. She chaired the nominating committee for the legacy DuPage County Council, responsible for recruiting board members, and also had a seat as a board member. During our council realignment process Janet served on the Human Resources subcommittee helping to lay the HR foundation for the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Janet has a Masters of Human Resources Management from Keller Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell College. She is also a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources, and a Master Trainer for the Girl Scouts. She currently serves on the board of the Human Resources association of Greater Oak Brook, a local chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management.
Miriam Baker, Vice President of Membership
Miriam previously was Transition Vice President of Membership and in that role was responsible for membership strategy and planning during the transition. In her Girl Scout career of nearly 12 years, Miriam has held membership and senior management positions at Girl Scouts - Trailways Council leading into the merger of the current organization. Miriam is an alumna of St. Xavier University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She holds a Certificate in Family Counseling and has extensive additional continuing education in management.
Gwen Ferguson, Vice President of Volunteer Services
Gwen is responsible for organizational strategies and tactical oversight related to volunteer management systems, volunteer learning opportunities, and volunteer support services. In her Girl Scout career of more than 30 years, Gwen has held a variety of functional and senior management positions at five Girl Scout councils leading into the merger of the current organization. She is an alumna of Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and she holds a Certificate of Volunteer Management from Harper College.
Board of Directors
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is governed by a volunteer board of directors composed of women and men who believe in the value of Girl Scouting and the program's ability to build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.
Board members use their professional expertise and personal perspectives to make decisions that provide leadership for the council and establish its policies and bylaws. These governance volunteers represent our membership and reflect its diversity, including geographic, racial/ethnic, gender, age and socio-economic. Board members are elected by the full Delegate Assembly.
President – Karen Layng, Vedder Price
First Vice President - Maryann Waryjas, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation
Second Vice President - Monica Weed, Navigant Consulting, Inc.
Third Vice President - Christine McGrath, Mondelēz International, Inc.
Secretary - Ann McAloon, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Treasurer – Kathy Scherer, Deloitte Tax LLP
Chief Executive Officer – Maria Wynne
Josephine (Jodi) Bahl, Ernst & Young LLP
Cheryl K. Beebe, Ingredion
Amy Best, Exelon Corporation
Phyllis Cochran, Navistar Financial
Sidney Dillard, Loop Capital Markets
James Dimitriou, Tatum
Dr. Karen Eng, CSMI
Jolanta Gal, Gartner Executive Programs
Janet Gibbs, Feeding America
Maureen Jamrock, Retired
Maryann McNally, Illinois Tool Works, Inc.
Tamara Meyer, Health Care Service Corporation
Carla Michelotti, Leo Burnett Worldwide
Meg Murray, The Hillshire Brands Company
Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, Nielsen
Marlena Peleo-Lazar, McDonald's Corporation
Jeanne Reynolds, Fifth Third Bank
Scott Saunders, HAVI Global Solutions
Karen Schillings, Retired
Violet Sistovaris, NiSource
Eileen Sweeney, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Genevieve Thiers, Contact Karma
Girl Representatives to the Board