Community Champion Honorees

Community Champions are alumnae who have made significant contributions as volunteers within their own communities or on regional or national levels. They are women whose lives exemplify the value of community service intrinsic to Girl Scouts.

Sarah J. Andersen

Director, Andersen Corporation; Community Philanthropist

Sarah J. Andersen

Sarah J. Andersen is a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts and a former troop leader who shepherded her girls from their first days as a Daisy troop to their Gold Awards. Andersen’s Girl Scout involvement spans three decades — as a girl member, adult volunteer, and member and president of the legacy St. Croix Valley Council’s Board of Directors. She also served as co-chair of the successful $8 million “For All the Girls” capital campaign, the largest for any Girl Scout council at the time.

Andersen is a respected business and community leader in the Twin Cities who has quietly devoted her time and resources to many good causes. She has been a board member with the Hugh J. Andersen Foundation, United Way, American Red Cross, Guthrie Theater, Phipps Center for the Arts, St. Croix Valley Foundation, and Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. Andersen received numerous awards for community service, including Community Volunteer Service “Volunteer of the Year” and Habitat for Humanity “Community Builder.” Andersen is president of SRI, a for- profit company that helps organizations and individuals fulfill their philanthropic missions. She is also a member and past chair of the Andersen Corporation Board of Directors. She is a graduate of Carleton College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

Sarah J. Andersen embraces challenges that others may say can’t be done, but which she believes are essential. She enjoys bringing people together around a shared purpose for a common goal, as well as preparing others to assume leadership responsibility.

Ellen Anderson, J.D.

Senior Advisor to the Governor on Energy and the Environment, Department of Agriculture; Former Minnesota State Senator, District 66 Past Chair, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

Ellen Anderson
Ellen Anderson grew up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania where she was greatly influenced by her mother — a chemical engineer at a time when there were few women who worked outside the home or held advanced degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. As a working mother, she appreciates that her mother also found time to be a Girl Scout leader as well as her brothers’ Cub Scout den mother.

Anderson earned a Bachelor’s degree from Carleton College and a Juris Doctor degree cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School. She worked for the Minnesota Education Association and Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office prior to pursuing a career in politics. Anderson was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 1992 and served in that body for 18 years while also teaching at Metropolitan State University and the University of Minnesota. While in office, Anderson was a leader in the areas of sustainable energy policy, clean water, affordable housing, family-friendly workplace policies and inner-city revitalization. She continues to focus on energy and environmental causes in her current role as Senior Advisor to the Governor and also works with many community organizations.

Ellen Anderson was inspired to run for office by the late Senator Paul Wellstone, who set an example of public service for the common good. In her work, Anderson embodies the Girl Scout spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. She truly believes you must work effectively with others in order to create lasting change to benefit future generations of Minnesotans and would like that to be her legacy.

Maureen Hooley Bausch

Executive Vice President, Business Development, Mall of America®

Maureen Hooley Bausch

Growing up as a Girl Scout in Stillwater, MN, Maureen Hooley Bausch learned important skills that have served her well in her business career. Scouting helped Bausch become a leader and a team player with the ability to ascend to her current position, where she is in charge of business development for the nation’s largest shopping mall — a retail mecca and tourist attraction that attracts more visitors annually than Disney World. Bausch is an industry leader who currently serves on the U.S. Tourism and Travel Association Board and the Brand USA Marketing Advisory Committee as well as a trustee of St. Catherine University. She was formerly a board member of the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council and the Greater Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Bureau. Bausch has received numerous industry honors for her accomplishments, including a Career Achievement Award from the Twin Cities Sales & Marketing Association. She holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Minnesota.

Bausch was instrumental in helping River Valleys plan the Great Girl Gathering @ MOA® — a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouting — which occurred the weekend of March 10-11, 2012.

Maureen Hooley Bausch was inspired by the dedication of her wonderful Girl Scout troop leaders whose creativity, precision, expertise and planning ensured her Girl Scout experience was both educational and fun. Bausch has great memories of special activities like earning her Gold Award and forming life-long friendships. Her hope is that she can share these important gifts with today’s girls, who are tomorrow’s leaders.

Kathy Brynaert

Representative, District 23B, State of Minnesota

Kathy Brynaert

After many years as a stay-at-home mom, Kathy Brynaert became involved with trying to address the crowded conditions in her daughter’s classroom. This required Brynaert to move outside of her comfort zone, doing things like speaking before the local school board to make the case for change. She was able to mobilize other parents and was ultimately successful in developing a partnership between the district and the community to address the issue. Brynaert went on to serve for 11 years on the Mankato Area Public School Board and was later elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, where she is currently in her third term at an age when many adults consider retirement. Brynaert serves on the Education Finance, Ways and Means, and Rules and Legislative Administration Committees, and takes a special interest in legislation impacting schools.

Brynaert is an active community volunteer and a founding member of Mankato Area Healthy Youth, a grassroots organization that supports community programs for positive youth development. She earned Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Philosophy from the College of St. Theresa and Duquesne University, respectively.

Coming from challenging family circumstances, Kathy Brynaert enjoyed the ritualized elements of a healthy childhood that Girl Scouts provided at a needy period in her life. She fondly remembers saying the Girl Scout Promise, camping in the middle of the city and singing songs in a circle. These activities fed her imagination, nourished her soul and helped prepare her for a lifetime of community service.

Willetha ‘Toni’ Carter

County Commissioner, District 4, Ramsey County

Willetha 'Toni' Carter

Elected to the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners in 2005, Toni Carter chairs the Ramsey County Children’s Mental Health Collaborative and the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Stakeholder Committee. She also serves on the Workforce Investment Board, St. Paul Children’s Collaborative and Promise Neighborhood Advisory Board. Carter was recently elected as second vice president for the Association of Minnesota Counties and also serves on their Health and Human Services Policy Committee. She was a strong advocate for community participation in the planning of St. Paul’s Central Corridor light-rail line and is the first African-American to serve as a Ramsey County Commissioner.

Carter moved to Minnesota 40 years ago to attend Carleton College. Previously, she worked at IBM and was a performer with Penumbra Theatre. Carter eventually started a community youth arts agency, ARTS-US. She later taught middle school which sparked a keen interest in educational policy and led to her serving on the St. Paul School Board. In recognition of her contributions as a community leader, Carter received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Concordia University in 2005. Her Girl Scout resumé includes being a girl member, adult volunteer and a parent and grandparent of Girl Scouts. Carter and her husband were also involved with Boy Scouts, supporting their son, Melvin III, who followed in her footsteps as an elected official.

Toni Carter’s courage, confidence and character have been tested in her work as a leading policy-maker and advocate for reform in the treatment of non-violent youth offenders. As a result of her efforts with Ramsey County Stakeholders, evidence-based alternatives have been implemented for non-violent youth offenders significantly reducing the detention center population with no increase in youth crime.

Mary Lee Dayton

Founder, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota; Community Philanthropist

Mary Lee Dayton

Mary Lee Dayton’s commitment to volunteerism and philanthropy began in earnest when her youngest daughter went off to first grade. It was at this time she was asked to join the Board of Directors of the Minneapolis YWCA. Through her work with the “Y” — as both a local and national board member — Dayton became a strong advocate for women’s issues and a leader in the effort to empower women and girls. She enrolled her daughters in Girl Scouts and became an adult volunteer and donor because she felt the organization exemplified the values in which she believed.

One of Dayton’s signature accomplishments was launching the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota in 1983 with a donation of $1 million. In 2008, the Foundation celebrated its 25th Anniversary by creating the Mary Lee Dayton Catalyst for Change award, presented annually to philanthropists who have used their resources and leadership to advance gender equality in Minnesota.

Dayton’s volunteer resume also includes board service with the American Red Cross, Arboretum Foundation, Breck School, Macalester College, Planned Parenthood, Presbyterian Homes, and United Way. She is a graduate of Vassar College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education.

Mary Lee Dayton believes in women helping other women. She is committed to changing conditions that cause women to be treated as second-class citizens, and has invested her time and resources in areas of greatest need. Dayton has been a role model and inspiration for women seeking to find solutions to the obstacles they face.

Kaywin Feldman

Director and President, Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Kaywin Feldman

As the daughter of a career military officer, Kaywin Feldman moved frequently as a child. She is a polyglot who also reads Latin and Greek. Feldman joined Girl Guides in England, where she lived for 12 years. At just 28 years old, Feldman was promoted to the role of executive director of the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art and Science where she quickly developed a reputation as someone with big ideas who knew how to execute them successfully. She later moved to the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art where she grew attendance, membership and philanthropic contributions.

In 2008, Feldman became the first woman to lead the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. She is a board member of the Association of Art Museum Directors (of which she is a past president) and the American Association of Museums. Feldman earned a Master’s degree in Museum Studies as well as a Master’s degree in Art History from the University of London, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Memphis College of Art.

Within a year of joining the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Kaywin Feldman demonstrated her commitment to the Girl Scout values of honesty and integrity. After learning that a painting in the museum’s collection was stolen by the Nazis during WWII, she was instrumental in returning the artwork to the heirs of the legitimate owner. When interviewed about the decision, Feldman said, “It was just the right thing to do.”

Sara Hietpas Gavin

President, Weber Shandwick, Minneapolis Office

Sara Hietpas Gavin

Service is an ideal that informs Sara Hietpas Gavin’s life and leadership. She has built a more than 25-year legacy of community service at her communications agency that engages approximately 70 percent of employees annually. In addition to providing pro bono public relations services to a designated nonprofit organization each year and coordinating employee volunteer work programs for Twin Cities organizations in need of extra hands, Weber Shandwick hosts an annual “Telling Your Story” workshop to share its public relations expertise with the nonprofit community. In the past two decades, more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations have benefited from these information exchanges and coaching sessions.

Outside of work, Gavin shares her time and talents with many organizations. She serves on the boards of Securian Corporation, Minnesota Public Radio, College Possible and Teach for America. She is a former trustee of St. Catherine University, from which she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. Gavin also completed graduate courses toward a Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Minnesota. Her involvement with Girl Scouts began when she was growing up in St. Paul, and she was also a volunteer “cookie mom” and Daisy Scout co-leader for her daughter’s troop.

Sara Hietpas Gavin believes it takes courage, confidence and character to foster a workplace that produces great work, draws tremendous talent and contributes to clients and community. The values outlined in the Girl Scout Promise and Law provide her daily guidance in this effort.

Roxanne Marie Givens

Principal and Founder, Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center

Roxanne Marie Givens

A native Minnesotan, Girl Scout Roxanne Marie Givens grew up in a family of philanthropists — entrepreneurial change agents who believed service was a core value. Givens began her career as a social worker with the family-owned Legacy Management and Development Corporation, and spent two decades building the small developer of affordable housing into a multimillion-dollar force in real estate. She later launched ethnicHome, a commercial interior design business focused on creating environments that reflect ones’ ethnicity and culture. Her current project is the Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center, which she launched to tell the story of African-American pioneers’ contributions to the growth of this state.

Givens followed her parents’ example by becoming an active community volunteer. She served as board president of the Minneapolis YWCA and Ordway Center for Performing Arts, was a trustee of Breck School and St. Catherine’s University, and served as board member of Penumbra Theatre, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Archibald Bush Foundation and United Way. Givens was the WomenVenture Lifetime Achievement Award recipient in 2010. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Minnesota.

Roxanne Givens’ involvement with Girl Scouts — as a girl member and troop leader for her daughters — is supportive of her personal philosophy to inspire a sense of empowerment in young girls, women of all ages and people of color — disenfranchised individuals who, historically, have lacked hope and aspiration, and those who do not feel a part of the fabric of their community, city and state.

Jodi Harpstead

Chief Executive Officer, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

Jodi Harpstead

Jodi Harpstead is a committed Girl Scout, who began her journey as a girl member in Illinois, continued her involvement in Minnesota and Massachusetts as an adult leader of her daughters’ troops, and served as a board member of the legacy St. Croix Valley Council. She is passionate about the leadership opportunities that Girl Scouts provides for both girls and adults.

Harpstead began her career in the private sector, spending 23 years at Medtronic, where she held key positions, including president of Global Marketing. For her accomplishments, Harpstead received Medtronic’s Wallin Leadership Award. She joined Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota in 2004 as chief advancement officer, where she successfully began the campaign to open the Center for Changing Lives — a public/private partnership to provide human services, faith community and affordable housing to area residents.

Harpstead is vice chair of the Augsburg College Board of Regents and is a former board member of Delta Dental of Minnesota and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Mutual Funds. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University.

When Jodi Harpstead decided to join Lutheran Social Service, she was drawn by the opportunity to contribute to the greater good of the community. As she told an interviewer, “I decided it might be time to switch from improving lives with medical technology to changing lives through service and hope.”

Sharon Hollatz

Commissioner, District 5, Redwood County

Sharon Hollatz

Sharon Hollatz spent 25 years as a professional Girl Scout, joining the legacy Peacepipe Council as a staff member and ultimately becoming its CEO. She continues to support the work of Girl Scouting in our region as a member of River Valleys’ Board of Directors where she has chaired the Property and Inclusion Committees. For her efforts in Girl Scouting, Hollatz has received the highest volunteer honors, the Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II.

She has also been an active leader in southwest Minnesota, having served as president of the Minnesota Inventor’s Congress Board of Directors, Minnesota Inventor’s Hall of Fame, Woman’s Club of Redwood Falls, Redwood Falls Rotary, Prairie Investment Club and her church council. In 2011, Hollatz was elected as a Redwood County Commissioner. She is also the recipient of outstanding service awards from the Minnesota Inventor’s Congress and City of Redwood Falls.

Hollatz received a Bachelor of Science degree from Minnesota State University and a Master of Science in Business Administration degree from Southwest Minnesota State University.

It took courage and confidence for Sharon Hollatz to run for public office. She believes that many of the skills gained during her employment with Girl Scouts were transferable to an election campaign, such as marketing, fundraising, communications and volunteer management. In Girl Scouts, Hollatz also learned the importance of customer service and inclusive decision-making, a valuable perspective for any elected official.

Elizabeth ‘Sandy’ Kiernat

Board Member and Past Board Chair, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation

Elizabeth 'Sandy' Kiernat

Sandy Kiernat’s passion for making the world a better place is demonstrated by her many years of volunteer service. During her volunteer career, Kiernat has chaired the St. Paul United Way and served as an officer for the F.R. Bigelow Foundation. She is a longtime board member and past chair of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, which named her the recipient of the first Sandy Kiernat Community Service Award. Kiernat is also a past president and national officer of Junior League, and currently holds Sustainer status. Other significant honors include the YWCA’s Outstanding Woman Award and the Boy Scout Spurgeon Order of the Arrow Service Award.

Kiernat served Girl Scouts as board member and capital campaign co-chair for the legacy St. Croix Valley Council, raising $8 million — the largest campaign for any council at that time. She is a member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society, which honors individuals who have made a planned gift to Girl Scouts. Kiernat is also a recipient of the Thanks Badge, an award that recognizes exceptional service to Girl Scouts at a council or national level. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota.

Sandy Kiernat describes herself as a shy person. She doesn’t seek recognition and evades any type of extra attention. However, when she advocates for a cause she believes in, Kiernat has the courage and confidence to move outside her comfort zone to take the necessary steps to ensure that organizations have the resources they need.

Barbara ‘Babs’ Gray Koch

Community Philanthropist, Wayzata, MN

Barbara 'Babs' Gray Koch

Girl Scout Barbara Gray Koch is a community volunteer and philanthropist with a wide range of volunteer interests, including spiritual development, human welfare activities, youth development, education and all aspects of animal welfare.

A partial listing of Koch’s volunteer endeavors, past and present, includes the Animal Humane Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Can Do Canines, College of Saint Benedict, Convent of the Visitation School, Girl Scouts, Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners, NET Ministries, Opportunity Partners and Pacem in Terris. In all of these board positions, Koch has taken significant leadership and fund development roles to help advance the mission of the organizations.

For her volunteer contributions, Koch has received the highest honors this community has to offer. Her work is best summarized by the citation that accompanied the President’s Medal from the College of Saint Benedict: “The college honors those who celebrate life, show reverence for the person, and concern for the community while working to assist the growth of others.” She holds an Associate’s degree from Pine Manor College, and a Bachelor’s degree from Carleton College.

Babs Koch did not have a stable family life until she was adopted at the age of 10. Those early years taught her to deeply believe in serving God and her country, and living out the promise to help your neighbor. Koch set out on the path early, when she became a Girl Scout troop leader as a college student, and has been a servant leader ever since.

Mary Lou Kudela, Ed.D.

Facilitator and Retired Educational Director, Greater Mankato Diversity Council

Mary Lou Kudela

For many years, Girl Scout Mary Lou Kudela has worked across the Mankato community supporting a variety of initiatives that have played a part in making the community a better place to live. She has championed efforts that support youth activities, education and inclusiveness for each and every community member.

After retiring as principal of Mankato East Junior High in 2003, Kudela accepted a position as the education director for the newly formed Greater Mankato Area Diversity Council where she was a leader in helping make the community more welcoming to immigrant populations. She has also contributed to her community as a volunteer with the Mankato YWCA, Mankato Healthy Youth, Twin Rivers Council of Arts, Minnesota Valley Sweet Adelines and as a hospice volunteer. For her efforts, she has received the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, City of Mankato Ambassador Award and Greater Mankato Diversity Council Service Award. Kudela holds a Bachelor’s degree from State University of New York, a Master’s degree from Minnesota State University–Mankato and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University.

Mary Lou Kudela’s commitment to equal opportunity and racial justice was shaped early in life. Growing up in Ossining, NY, during the 1950s, her family had lively discussions about race and how it plays out in America. In her Girl Scout troop, Kudela internalized the lessons about being fair-minded towards others. These views have guided her throughout her work and career.

Diane Lilly

Executive Vice President of Government Relations, Wells Fargo & Company

Diane Lilly

Girl Scout Diane Lilly is an active civic leader in the Twin Cities. She is a longtime board member and chair of the Public Affairs Council, and an executive committee member of the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders. She also served as chair of the Legislative Liaison Advisory Committee for the American Bankers Association in Washington, DC. In addition, Lilly has served on the Minnesota Business Partnership Political Effectiveness Committee and the American Bankers Association Government Relations Committee.

Lilly is also involved in the cultural and philanthropic life of the community. She is a member and past chair of the Board of Trustees for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, a member and past chair of the Board of Trustees for Twin Cities Public Television, and has served as a board member of the National Association of Public Television Stations, Minnesota Council on Foundations, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, Guthrie Theater Foundation, Minnesota Private College Council and YWCA Board of Trustees.

Lilly received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Newton College of the Sacred Heart.

Diane Lilly believes all generations of emerging leaders need help and guidance, something she learned from the example of her Girl Scout leaders who showed her the power of women helping the next generation. Through mentoring, Lilly tries to repay a portion of what all the wonderful and wise women in her life gave to her over the years.

Ellen Goldberg Luger, J.D.

Executive Director, General Mills Foundation; Vice President, General Mills Inc.

Ellen Goldberg Luger

Growing up as a Girl Scout in Minnesota, with parents who volunteered and modeled civic engagement, Ellen Goldberg Luger knew she wanted a career where she could make a difference in the world.

Today, after time spent as a lawyer and working for General Mills for nearly 15 years, Luger is fortunate every day to live the company’s mission of “Nourishing Lives.” It is difficult to know what brings her more satisfaction: the changed lives of the women and girls she met in Africa who are supported by the General Mills Africa Women and Children’s Hunger Project, or the work of so many valued nonprofit partners in north Minneapolis making a difference in the lives of families in General Mills’ World Headquarters community.

Outside of work, Luger serves on the boards of Wellesley College, Breck School and Invest in Outcomes. She is also a member of the Conference Board Contributions Council and International Committee for the Council for Foundations. For her efforts to support organizations that benefit women and families, Luger was honored by WomenVenture in 2010 as an “Unsung Hero.” She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wellesley College, and received her Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University.

While attending Wellesley College, Ellen Goldberg Luger was inspired by the college’s motto of “Non Ministrari sed Ministrare”: Not to be served, but to serve. She realizes that she has been fortunate to find her passion, and she encourages others to find theirs and pursue it with all their heart and soul.

Betty McCollum

Representative, District 4, United States Congress

Betty McCollum

Currently serving her sixth term in the United States Congress, Girl Scout Betty McCollum made history in 2000 when she was only the second Minnesota woman elected to serve in Congress since statehood in 1858. In the 112th Congress, McCollum serves on the House Appropriations and Budget Committees, and holds the position of Senior Democratic Whip within the Democratic Caucus. Prior to being elected to Congress, McCollum served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1993 to 2000, and was elected Assistant Leader three times. From 1987 to 1992, she was a member of the North St. Paul City Council. Throughout her career, McCollum has been a champion for excellence in education, protecting the environment, expanding health care access and fiscal responsibility.

In addition to elected office, McCollum’s career has included teaching high school social science, as well as 25 years in retail sales and management. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from St. Catherine’s University.

In her years as a girl member and adult volunteer with Girl Scouts, Betty McCollum internalized the message that everyone has the power to make the world a better place. Her political career began after her daughter was seriously injured on a piece of unsafe playground equipment. When her appeals to local officials to make repairs fell on deaf ears, she decided to run for the local city council. Although defeated in that election, McCollum became involved in community work improving parks. Two years later, she ran again and won the most number of votes in her district.

Kathleen Meyerle, J.D.

Legal Counsel, Mayo Clinic

Kathleen Meyerle

Girl Scout Kathleen Meyerle has a long history of service in a wide range of professional, community, church and political activities at both the state and local level.

In addition to her work as legal counsel for the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, Meyerle has served her profession as a member and chair of the Minnesota Judicial Selection Commission, president of the Olmsted County Bar Association and a member of numerous task forces and commissions. She has served on many community boards, including the Greater Rochester Area University Center, Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Orchestra in Rochester and Minnesota Orchestral Association. Meyerle has also been involved in the political process as a district and state convention delegate, precinct chair and co-chair of various election committees. She also serves her faith community as a lay minister. Meyerle holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the University of Nebraska and a Juris Doctor degree from William Mitchell College of Law.

Meyerle has a deep connection to Scouting. As a girl member, she earned Girl Scouting’s highest achievement award (Curved Bar) and she currently serves as a member of River Valleys’ Board of Directors and Board Development Committee. Meyerle is also the proud mother of an Eagle Scout, and was very involved in Boy Scouting as her son moved through the ranks.

Kathleen Meyerle believes each person has a unique path in life, but we do not travel that path alone. Participating in Girl Scouts provided her with role models and experiences that let her take advantage of the many opportunities life has presented.

Pearl Mitchell-Jackson

Retired National President, Council of International Programs for Social Workers

Pearl Mitchell-Jackson

Early in life, Pearl Mitchell-Jackson began her commitment to inclusiveness and racial understanding when she became the first girl of color in the Girl Scout troop at her St. Paul elementary school. Despite the objections of the school counselor who felt she might be more “comfortable” in a troop with girls of her own race, Mitchell-Jackson decided that no one would put her in a box — an attitude that she carried with her throughout life. Mitchell-Jackson continued her involvement with Girl Scouts as an adult volunteer and board member for the legacy St. Croix Valley Council where she worked to promote international exchange programs.

Mitchell-Jackson has had a 48-year affiliation with Altrusa, an international nonprofit organization that strives to make local communities better through leadership, partnership and service. She served as a board member and president of the local chapter, and received the organization’s Lamplighter Award in 2007. Mitchell-Jackson has also been a board member for William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul Civic Center and International Institute of Minnesota, to name just a few of her volunteer positions. In 1989, Mitchell-Jackson was inducted into Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s Twin Citian Volunteer Hall of Fame. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Hamline University and has continuing professional education at the Smith School of Social Work.

Whether fighting for needed human services programs as a social worker or overcoming language, culture and personal safety issues during her travels abroad promoting cross-cultural understanding, Pearl Mitchell-Jackson has always looked to the Girl Scout principles and her faith to guide her.

Linda Brekke Mona

Owner, Creative Environments Design Group; Past Trustee, University of Minnesota Foundation

Linda Brekke Mona

Linda Brekke Mona’s distinguished volunteer career began with Girl Scouts. Immediately upon her graduation as Senior Girl Scout with both Curved Bar and First Class honors, Mona became the leader of another Senior troop. She continued her involvement as a longtime board member and president of the legacy Greater Minneapolis Council. Mona also co-chaired the 75th Anniversary of Girl Scouting, served on the committee for the National Girl Scout Convention held in the Twin Cities and was a national delegate several times. For her volunteer work with Girl Scouts, Mona received the Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II awards, and also received the Esther V. Crosby Award for community leadership.

Mona is the current board president of Norway House and Interlachen Country Club. She has previously held board leadership positions with the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, Goldstein Museum of Design, College of Home Economics Alumni Society, and Buckman Leadership in Philanthropy. Mona has also been a prodigious fundraiser for many causes, most notably the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center and TCF Bank Stadium. Currently, Mona is chair of the Individual Gifts Committee for the fundraising efforts for Fairview Southdale Hospital Emergency Center. She has received Outstanding Achievement and Alumni Service Awards from the University’s Regents, and is also a member of the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame

Mona earned a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics Education from the University of Minnesota, where she has also pursued post-graduate studies in Family Social Science.

Fueled by a desire to open doors of opportunity for young women, Linda Brekke Mona has been a passionate champion for gender-equity in athletics — equal facilities and practice time, as well as better opportunities for female coaches and administrators.

Joan Mondale

Arts Advocate; Former Second Lady of the United States

Joan Mondale

Joan Mondale has been a lifelong practitioner, patron and advocate of the arts, and her nickname “Joan of Art” is a sincere tribute. An accomplished potter, Mondale studied art in college, and then worked in galleries before moving to Washington as a Senator’s wife in 1964.

Mondale is passionate about using her public platform to promote the arts. In addition to serving as honorary chairperson of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities while her husband, Walter, was U.S. Vice President, Mondale called on her artistic abilities to refurbish her official residences and used them to display notable artwork in public spaces. In 1972, she wrote the book “Politics in Art,” examining how political commentary is reflected in artworks. Mondale has given her time and talents as a board member of organizations such as the National Portrait Gallery, Kennedy Center, American Craft Council, Walker Art Center and Minnesota Textile Center. She received wide-ranging recognition for her work, including the Barnard College Medal of Distinction, a tulip named in her honor, and The Joan Mondale Gallery established at the Textile Center in Minneapolis.

Mondale joined Girl Scouts while attending school in Wallingford, PA. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Macalester College.

As the U.S. Ambassador’s wife in Japan, Joan Mondale enthusiastically promoted inter-cultural understanding through art, redecorating the Embassy with American paintings and organizing tours with bilingual guides. She studied Japanese art and impressed the Mayor of Kyoto by presenting him with a ceramic bowl she had made herself in the traditional Mashiko style.

Wenda Weekes Moore

Board Member and Past Board Chair, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Wenda Weekes Moore

Wenda Weekes Moore grew up in Los Angeles, CA, where she first became a member of Girl Scouts. Moore continued her involvement as a board member of the legacy Greater Minneapolis Council and the proud mother of two Girl Scouts. She is also a past Esther V. Crosby Award recipient.

Since 1989, Moore has been a member of the Board of Trustees for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, serving as board chair from 2001 to 2003. She also has fiduciary responsibility for the $7 million Kellogg Foundation Trust. Additionally, Moore currently serves on the Board of Directors of several organizations, including the National Council on Foundations, Big Brothers Big Sisters (Twin Cities), and Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. Moore’s other board affiliations have included the Association of Black Foundation Executives, Council on Foundations, Ms. Foundation for Women, Graywolf Press and Women’s Funding Network.

Moore also served as vice chair and chair of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents and was the first woman and African-American to serve in those capacities. Her recognitions include Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches’ Soaring Eagle Award, Pan African Community Endowments’ Legacy Award and Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from her alma mater, Howard University, from which she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

Wenda Weekes Moore believes that Girl Scouts helped shape her character and belief system by reinforcing messages about self-worth, honesty, doing one’s best and responsibility for making the world a better place. She knows girls today benefit from the Girl Scout program and continues to support our mission with her time, talent and treasure.

Rena Moran

Representative, District 65A, State of Minnesota

Rena Moran

Rena Moran displayed Girl Scout courage when she moved to the Twin Cities from Chicago 10 years ago without a job or place to live, and quickly immersed herself in the St. Paul community while raising seven children. Moran also found time to reach out to neighborhood youth when she became a Girl Scout troop leader in the Summit-University area.

She became an activist in 2005, when the city paved only half of her street even though the entire street would be assessed for the cost. Moran organized the neighborhood, lobbied elected and city officials, and won a major victory when the city paved the rest of her street. This experience led her to keep the momentum going by founding the Aurora-Grotto Block Club, serving on the Summit-University Planning Council and chairing the Community Improvement and Safety Committee.

Today, Moran represents St. Paul’s historic Rondo neighborhood in the Minnesota State Legislature where she serves on the House Education Reform, Health and Human Services Reform, and Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committees. Moran has been honored with the TakeAction Minnesota Progressive Leadership Award, the Urban Embassy Emerging Leaders Award and was named to the District Council Neighborhood Honor Roll three years in a row. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University.

Rena Moran is a crusader for racial, social and economic justice and equity. She believes in “preparing all our children to be successful in school so they in turn are successful in life — success that includes a future where their achievement depends on their ability to collaborate with people who do not look like them to create healthy and thriving communities.”

Ann Porter

Owner and Principal Agent, State Farm Insurance Agency

Ann Porter

Ann Porter joined Girl Scouts while growing up in Iowa, has been an active adult volunteer as a troop leader and service unit manager, in LeSueur, MN, and was a member of River Valleys’ Property Committee.

Porter is a 10-year member and past president of the LeSueur Rotary Club, and served as chair of the International Committee and also as a Youth Exchange Officer. In these positions, Porter helped students with the process of applying for outbound exchange experiences and worked with host families in the LeSueur community to acclimate incoming students to life in the U.S. She is also an active member of the LeSueur chapter of P.E.O, a philanthropic organization that helps provide opportunities for women to achieve their highest educational aspirations by providing various types of financial assistance.

Porter has a personal interest in helping Latina youth realize their goals. She became fluent in Spanish and knowledgeable about public and private sources of funding to assist students in their desire to achieve a college education. Porter has also mentored a young Latina woman, teaching her the business of running an insurance agency.

Additionally, Porter is passionate about helping rescue dogs and volunteers with the Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Science and Humanities from Iowa State University and a Master’s degree from the University of North Dakota.

Ann Porter’s commitment to service was born of a desire to help change lives. What she found is that she benefited the most. Porter believes the intrinsic satisfaction that comes from helping others is truly its own reward.

Joyce Rosene

Community Philanthropist; Retired Assistant Pastor, Centennial United Methodist Church

Joyce Rosene

Joyce Rosene has a long history with Girl Scouts, including time spent as a girl member, adult volunteer, and board member of the legacy St. Croix Valley Council. Rosene is the proud parent of three Girl Scout leaders, grandmother of a recent Gold Award recipient, and founding member of the Good Turn Club and the Juliette Gordon Low Society. She is also a former board member for the North Star Museum of Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting of the Midwest. Along with her husband, Rosene has been a generous supporter of the Scouting Movement.

Rosene is an ordained deacon and elder in the United Methodist Church, and has served as an associate pastor, assistant pastor and pastor emeritus of churches in St. Paul and Roseville. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work and Speech from the University of Minnesota and also earned Bachelor of Theology, Master of Religious Studies and Master of Divinity degrees from United Seminary of the Twin Cities. Rosene has also served as president of the Emma Norton Residence and volunteered with many other community organizations. For her contributions, Rosene has earned the WCCO Good Neighbor Award and Gavel Award for Community Service from the City of Roseville.

Joyce Rosene views the Girl Scout Law as a tool to help us become the best persons we can be. The confidence she gained by mastering new skills in Girl Scouting was instrumental as Rosene pursued advanced course work in religious studies, when she was often the only woman on campus.

Val Vargas

President and Founder, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota

Val Vargas

Girl Scout Val Vargas has been a girl member, adult volunteer, board member for the legacy Greater Minneapolis Council and is a parent of Girl Scouts. During the past four years, she has contributed to membership growth in the Latina community by playing an active role in the planning of an annual conference for Latina Girl Scouts.

In the early 2000s, Vargas — a native Minnesotan and business owner — was inspired to found the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota (HCCM), an organization to develop business initiatives for the region’s rapidly growing Hispanic population. Vargas’ promotion of Hispanic business owners and workers earned her the Latina Leadership Award from the National Foundation for Women Legislators and the Small Chamber of the Year Award from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Today, Vargas continues to run a consulting business while remaining actively involved with the HCCM. She received a Governor’s appointment to the State of Minnesota Urban Initiatives Board, and formerly served on the boards of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber, U.S. Federal Credit Union and Greater Twin Cities United Way. Vargas also served on the Minnesota Small Business Procurement Advisory Council. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Oklahoma State University.

In Girl Scouting, Val Vargas learned that she could make a difference by identifying a community need and filling it. By starting the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, she greatly advanced opportunities for minority business owners in Minnesota and provided ways for them to connect with potential customers and suppliers.

Nancy Wepplo

Campus Administrator, Good Samaritan Society, Windom, MN

Nancy Wepplo

Having been a Certified Nursing Assistant in high school and college, Nancy Wepplo knew that working with the elderly was her calling. This led her to complete studies in Business and Gerontology, and begin her career with the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society (GSS) — an organization whose mission is to provide shelter and supportive services to older persons and others in need. Wepplo is currently the campus administrator of GSS’s Windom, MN, facility, and within the Good Samaritan family, has become a Preceptor, mentoring interns for four to six month periods.

Wepplo is past chair of the Windom Area Chamber of Commerce and is vice-chair of the board for Windom Educational Collaborative Center, a private nonprofit that provides business and educational opportunities for the community. She serves as chaplain for her local P.E.O. organization and is an alumna of Sigma Sigma Sigma National Sorority. She has also served on the board of Care Providers of Minnesota, is a member of the Care Provider Legislative Forum and a member of the Minnesota Department of Human Services Committee relative to stakeholder groups through the state. Wepplo is an active member of her church, serving on the Church in Society board, church council and prayer shawl ministry. For her efforts, the Windom Area Chamber of Commerce recognized Wepplo with its 2008–2009 Exceptional Achievement Award.

Wepplo earned First Class honors as a Girl Scout in Franklin, MN, and continued her involvement as a troop leader in both Minnesota and Nebraska. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business and Gerontology from Minnesota State University–Mankato.

Nancy Wepplo credits the leadership, organizational and time management skills she learned in Girl Scouting with helping her achieve her career and community service goals.