April 2013 Board Chair Corner

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Our April 10 board meeting started with a challenge –torrential rains and wind inactivated the phone system and Internet at the Flint Service Center. In typical Girl Scout fashion we improvised, using my cell phone to conference remote board members into the meeting.  Our Mission Moment presenter, Rachel Karyakose, accessed her presentation via cell phone to make her remarks.  Rachel, who is pursuing her degree at Baker College, was a Girl Scout for 12 years and now serves as an advisor and mentor to the Girl Advisory Board, in addition to working as a counselor at Camp Innisfree.  She shared important insights from her Girl Scout journey, which have made her the confident and capable young women that she is today.

The board next reviewed January and February financial statements and approved an IT service contract.  The group discussed new developments in legacy pension plans and recommendations on next steps from the Pension Committee.  We reviewed preliminary results from our successful Cookie Gala held on March 27 at the wonderful new venue at DTE Headquarters, and awarded this month’s Giving Cup to Heather Koenders for influencing contributions of over $9,700.00 to GSSEM.   

Finally, the board approved the Board Development Committee recommendation to appoint two new board members to replace departing members. Voncile Brown- Miller, program specialist with Karmanos Cancer Institute and community health advocate and volunteer, and Doreen Olko, Director of Emergency Services for City of Auburn Hills and law enforcement officer, were unanimously approved for three-year board terms from 2013-16. These new members will bring additional skills and diversity to our board. Voncile and Doreen will begin orientation and participate in next month’s board meeting.

Later that afternoon, we held our annual Advisory Council meeting graciously hosted by chair, Florine Mark, CEO of Weight Watchers. This provided a wonderful opportunity for Advisory Council members to hear directly from girls about leadership development.  Ambassador Girl Scouts Kandis Johnson and Addison Mauck, members of the Girl Advisory Board, opened the meeting with discussion of their Girl Scout leadership experiences, Gold and Silver Award projects and what being a Girl Scout means to them.   The Advisory Council was so impressed by these young women.  This set the tone for the remainder of the meeting as council members discussed ways to further increase the visibility, growth and reach of Girl Scouting in Southeastern Michigan.  The Advisory Council has been a great avenue for engaging prominent women who do not have time for board service, but can open doors to resources that have not been previously tapped by GSSEM.  We will not formally meet with Advisory Council again until 2014, but will engage them on an as needed basis.

The next Board of Directors meeting occurs on Tuesday, May 14 at the Port Huron Service Center.  Until then the board has several opportunities to engage in celebration of Scouting.  We are proud that four current and three retired board members, as well as two current community members of the Board Development Committee are among the 51 honorees for exemplary volunteer service being recognized at the April 13 luncheon.  Many board members will also attend the May 5 Highest Award Honors banquet to recognize those girls who have attained the highest awards in Girl Scouting. I look forward to celebrating our girls’ leadership achievements and presenting the Silver, Gold and Young Woman of Distinction awards.

Till next month, let’s hope that we begin to see signs of spring.  We know it’s coming.

Yours in Scouting,