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Lady Oliver
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Girl Scouts Welcome New Board Members

HOUSTON (Aug. 1, 2008) – Eleven community leaders were recently elected to the 2008-09 Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) board of directors. Chartered by Girl Scouts of the USA to provide Girl Scouting locally, GSSJC is one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the country, serving more than 64,000 girl members and 18,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties.

“Volunteers are fundamental to Girl Scouting, and it’s a privilege to have such talented and dedicated volunteers join our board of directors,” said Mary Vitek, CEO of Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council. “Their contributions will be invaluable as we approach our 100th anniversary in 2012, and strive to remain the premier leadership organization for all girls.”

Ellen DeSanctis, corporate communications and strategy development consultant, will serve as first vice chair. DeSanctis has participated as a member of the Steering Committee and Brand Committee during GSSJC’s recent strategic planning effort. Additionally, she has served as a board member for four years and is a Brownie troop leader.

Marilyn Archer, principal at Gensler, was elected as a member-at-large. Archer is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and board of directors; she is a past president of Rice Design Alliance. Archer is well recognized in the architectural design community having earned numerous awards, such as IIDA Design Excellence in Corporate Category for Susman Godfrey L.L.P. - Dallas and IIDA Honorable Mention in Corporate Category for Baker Botts L.L.P. Archer was a Girl Scout for eight years and has a daughter, Cate, who is now age 18 who was also a Girl Scout.

Portia Cook, long-time Council volunteer, was elected as a member-at-large. Cook was introduced to Girl Scouting as a girl and wanted her daughter, Sydney, to also experience Girl Scouting as soon as she was old enough. Cook has been involved as an adult for 12 years. Among her numerous roles, Cook served as a national delegate and girl chaperon for the Girl Scouts of the USA national convention. She has also chaired the Council’s Nominating Committee and served as a member of the Pluralism Committee. Cook has been recognized by the Council with the Thanks Badge, Honor Pin, the Appreciation Pin, and the Family Award.

Jean Janssen, retired attorney was appointed as chair of the Human Resources Committee and elected a member at-large. She also learned the benefits of Girl Scouting in her childhood. However, she has been a devoted volunteer since 1987 when she served as outside legal counsel for the San Jacinto Council. Janssen has been instrumental in the development of many human resources policies and procedures which facilitate effective recruitment and fair and equitable treatment of paid employees and volunteers. She has also served on the Council Merger Subcommittee where she met with volunteers to review best practices and make recommendations.

Daniel Louie, D.D.S., P.h.D., was elected as a member-at-large. Louie has served as chair of the GSSJC Pluralism Committee. Due to Louie’s dedication and commitment, the Council offers programs and services that foster understanding of pluralism and diversity in the community. Louie has also worked with groups in the Hispanic, Asian and African American communities, which he helped form.

Leticia Cantu Lowe, director of public relations at CenterPoint Energy, was elected as a member-at-large. She has an extensive background in marketing and community relations, having worked with CenterPoint Energy nearly 30 years. Lowe and her family reside in Sugar Land. She has two daughters, Ashley and Allison. Ashley, a sophomore and theater major at Sam Houston State University, received the Girl Scouts Silver Award in 2005; Allison is a seventh grade Girl Scout Cadette who earned her Bronze Award in 2007.

Mary Ryder, senior vice president and strategic planning manager with Amegy Bank, was appointed chair of the Nominating Committee and named as member-at-large. She has been a member of the GSSJC Nominating Committee since 2007 - serving a 3-year term. Ryder also made a significant impact on the Council’s capital campaign that ended in 2007, working with others to successfully reach a 3.65 million dollar goal.

Patricia Shenefelt, Beaumont refinery attorney with Exxon Mobil Corporation, was elected as a member-at-large. She is president of the Council’s Southeast Texas Advisory Board and began serving a 2-year term as a member-at-large June 1, 2008. Once her daughter became a Brownie, Shenefelt began her journey as a Girl Scout volunteer. Shenefelt also serves as a board member of the United Way of Beaumont & North Jefferson County.

Evelyn Vittone, senior program coordinator for GSSJC, was elected as a member-at-large. Vittone enjoyed Girl Scouts as a child and made sure her daughters had the same opportunity. Now, 17 years later, Vittone has held numerous positions including assistant Program Department coordinator, volunteer chair for the development department, trainer, coordinator of the Council puppetry troupe, and served on the Executive Committee of the Emerald Circle. The Council has also honored her with the Appreciation Pin, Honor Pin, Thanks Badge and the Family Award.

Randa Duncan Williams, Co-chairman of the board of EPCO, Inc. and president of DLD Family Investments LLC, was elected as a member-at-large. Williams is a member of the board of directors of Encore Bank; she is also the secretary and a director of the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation. Williams has focused her volunteer activities in the areas of science and education. She is actively involved in several organizations, including the Houston Museum of Natural Science where she has been a member since 1995.

Marguerite Woung-Chapman, vice president, chief governance officer and corporate secretary of El Paso Corporation, was elected as a member-at-large. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar Association, Women’s Energy Network, Southern Gas Association and the Texas General Counsel Forum. Woung-Chapman credits Girl Scouting for enhancing parent-child relationships, like hers with her daughter, who she immersed in Girl Scout green during her formative years.

GSSJC Pluralism Statement
Embracing and promoting pluralism is an integral part of every activity and plan of Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, not disconnected or separate projects. Only individuals willing to accept and be educated about the basic tenet that Girl Scouting is for all girls may serve in volunteer leadership or staff positions.

GSSJC | Communications Department
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