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 Board of Directors

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 Officers and Members

  • Sara Ayala
    Board Chair
    New Hartford, NY

    Sara is a Lieutenant Colonel retired from the US Air Force. She is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology (Computer Science) and the University of Washington (Business Information Systems) with a 32 yeaer career in management, program management, and acquisition management in communications, networking, and computers. Sara currently serves as Board Chair of Girl Scouts NYPENN Pathways. She works part time for the 5th District Court as a permanency mediator, volunteers as a mediator with the Peacemaker Program in Utica, and mediates Family Court and Small Claims situations.
     Along with her interest in mediation, Sara enjoys reading, hiking, and is a volunteer rainfall/snowfall monitor for the nationwide Community collaborative Rain, hail, and Snow (CoCorahs) reporting agency. Sara has also previously volunteered with the Valley Oasis Domestic Violence Center in California, the Northern Virginia Suicide Hotline, and as a trainer for Boy Scouts budgeting and hiking awards. For two years she served as a HAZMAT First Responder in Southern California.
  • Judy Suddaby
    1st Vice chair
    Syracuse, NY

    Judy is currently a Law Clerk to a Judge in the New York State Court of Claims. Prior to this position she was in private practice focusing in matrimonial and family law. She is a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh and Albany Law School of Union University. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Onondaga County Bar Association. She has been involved with Girl Scouts for several years as a member of the former GSCNY Board and the Board Development Committee, and as part of the Governance Subcommittee of the Council Realignment Committee. She has been on the Board of GSNYPENN Pathways for the past three years and was Chairperson of the Bylaws Task Group. In addition to Girl Scouts she is involved with REaCH, a research and educational organization with the goal of finding a cure for hydrocephalus. Judy is also active with her church, and her sons' schools. She really enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading, running, hiking and enjoying the outdoors.
  • Kim Lamar Shelton
    2nd Vice Chair
    Vestal, NY

    Kim Lamar Shelton earned her B.A. degrees in Sociology and Afro-American & African Studies in 1988 and completed her Master of Arts in Teaching degree in January 1990 from Binghamton University. Kim graduated from the Southern Tier Leadership Academy sponsored by Binghamton University’s School of Management in June 2002. She began her professional career as a Secondary Social Studies Teacher in September 1990. Later, in 1993, Kim transitioned into an Adult Education Instructor and taught multiple subject areas in addition to teaching in incarcerated education programs. Kim worked concurrently as the Assistant Director of Affirmative Action at Binghamton University in the mid/late 1990s where she was responsible for educational programming. She became the Director of Student Academic Services and Assistant Professor at Davis College in August 2002. In August 2008, Kim accepted a faculty/advisor position in the Department of Academic and Human Development at Mansfield University. Kim spent the fall 2010 semester as an Instructional Academic Planning Counselor in the Office of Learning Services at SUNY Oswego prior to becoming the Director of Student Support Services at Broome Community College in 2011.
     Kim Lamar Shelton’s educational philosophy is to ensure that students are provided with the necessary resources and tools to succeed. She realizes that each student is a unique person and must be treated as such. Kim believes that it is essential for educators to be invested in each student’s overall development. This philosophy is carried over to her work with girls. Kim believes that adults working with girls need to be aware of the new millennium concerns, struggles, and issues that girls face, as well as their goals and victories, in order to remain relevant and effectively serve today’s girls.
     Kim resides in Vestal, NY with her husband, Dyschel, and daughter, Katherine (a senior Girl Scout). When Kim is not working at the college, she serves as a second photographer in her husband’s business, Legacy Everlasting Photography. Kim believes in giving back and serving others. Therefore, she continues to be active in her church and surrounding community. Kim has served on the Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways Board since the realignment. Girl Scouts of Indian Hills Council honored Kim with the Thanks Badge in 2008 for her service at the troop, service unit, and council level.
  • Susan Duerr
    North Syracuse, NY

    Susan currently is the Treasurer of GSNYPENN Board of Directors. Previously, Susan was a member of the GSCCNY Board, and served on their Finance and Audit committees. She was chair of the Older Girl Awards Committee and was a leader for various levels of Girl Scouting for 16 years. Susan also sits on the Board of Francis House and serves on their finance committee. Susan holds a degree in Accounting from LeMoyne College and is currently employed as the Director of Finance at Medbest Medical Management, Inc. in Syracuse, New York.
  • Deborah Schwarting
    Weedsport, NY

    A lifetime member of Girl Scouts, Deb first joined as a Brownie. As an adult she served as a leader and SU Manager, National Delegate and Board member in the Seven Lakes Girl Scout Council. As well as secretary, Deb has been part of the Property Task Groups and the By-Laws Task Group during her first term on the NYPENN board of Directors. She has extensive volunteer experience in the community and is currently serving on the Board of Education for Weedsport Central School and Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES.
     Deb was named the 2011 Cayuga-Onondaga School board Association Outstanding Board Member of the Year. She holds a BS in Education and is employed part time as an Aquatics Instructor at the Auburn YMCA. Deb enjoys reading, gardening, and traveling. She loves being grandmother to William and Madison — a future Daisy Scout!
  • Rita Chirumbolo Ernstrom
    Binghamton, NY

    Rita is a consultant with Ernstrom Consulting, LLC, providing strategic analysis and process solutions for projects, or small business management. In addition, she runs RCE Designs, which provides creative design services in both commercial and residential settings, as well as custom design products. A graduate of SUNY Albany, she also holds a Masters of Social Work from Marywood University. A Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts, Rita has been a girl member and troop leader; National Delegate; held Council staff positions as Director of Adult Development, Older Girl Program, and Resident Camp Arts & Crafts; and was selected to serve as a member of GSUSA staff at the 1984 World Conference. Rita received the Broome County Women of Distinction Award in 2005, and is a recipient of the Girl Scout Thanks Badge I and II. Presently she chairs NYPENN Pathways History & Archives Committee and serves as Board liaison to the NYPENN Pathways’ 100th Anniversary Committee.
  • Karen Hegeman
    Theresa, NY

    Karen recently served as 1st Vice Chair of Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways Board of Directors and she was also formerly a Member-at-Large for the Thousand Island Girl Scout Council board, having served as a President and member for many years. A graduate of SUNY Cortland, Ithaca College, and SUNY Brockport, Karen is a retired school administrator, principal, teacher, and coach. Her volunteer work includes girl Scout Trainer of Trainers, trainer for Jefferson-Lewis and Oswego Tteacher Centers, student teacher supervisor for SUNY cortland and a staff member at ADA Camp Carefree, NH.
     A lifetime member, Karen has been involved in girl Scouting since Brownies and achieved First Class and Curved Bar. She was privileged to work at Girl Scout day camps and resident camp while rowing up, directer her local neighborhood day camp, and worked at Girl Scout National Center West for ten summers.
     Karen enjoys wordworking, basket making, gardening, and canoeing, and enjoys her lake home in northern New York. She is an elder in her church and serves on the mission committee.
  • Donna Jones Wright
    Binghamton, NY

    Donna Jones-Wright was raised in Binghamton, NY where she grew up as a Girl Scout with Indian Hills Girl Scout Council from Brownie through Cadette. Donna is the Assistant Director of The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier, a hands-on museum for children and their families. She graduated with her undergraduate degree in Art History and her master’s degree in Museum Studies from George Washington University, Washington, DC. She has worked in the arts for 30 years and is now in her 14th year with The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier, Binghamton. In her work with the museum, Donna oversees a preschool and afterschool program and is responsible for exhibition design and the curriculum and public programming that support the learning goals of the museum. While a major part of her work is spent grant writing, Donna is an artist and you often find her in her overalls and standing on a ladder painting the murals for The Discovery Center’s interactive exhibits!
     Donna was a Girl Scout leader for 6 years and continues to develop scouting opportunities through her work at The Discovery Center. She is committed to the betterment of the lives of children and is an active member of the Broome County Youth Bureau’s Youth Advisory Board and a member of the Broome County Children and Youth Services’ Early Intervention/Prevention committee.
  • Crystal Jordan
    East Syracuse, NY

    Crystal was born and raised in North Babylon, New York. She attended Columbia University for her undergraduate degree as well as a post graduate degree in public health and Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York for her law degree.
     Over the past 10 years, Crystal has worked for community health centers in urban and rural settings. She has held various positions from Grant Writer to Chief Operating Officer while at Comprehensive Community Development Corporation, Inc. and Chief Executive Officer and Chief Administrative Officer at Community Health Center of the Black Hills, Inc. and SCHC Companies, Inc., respectively. Crystal is currently an independent consultant specializing in health care administration.
     In addition, Crystal has served as a Board Member with Girl Scouts Dakota Horizons, an organization that spans North Dakota, South Dakota and parts of Minnesota, and has also served as a Board Member with Community Health Center Association of the Dakotas, the primary care association for the community health centers in North and South Dakota.
     During her free time, Crystal is a triathlete and is a member of the Onondaga Cycling Club, Central New York Tri Club, and Syracuse Chargers Master Swim Club. In addition, she enjoys playing golf, skiing, and hiking.
  • Laura Madelone
    Otego, NY

    Laura currently serves as the Director of Alumni Affairs at SUNY Oneonta, executing alumni relations program for over 54,000 at SUNY Oneonta Alumni. In this role, Laura also serves as the Executive Officer of the SUNY Oneonta Alumni Association Board of Directors. Laura received both her B.S. in political science and her M.S. in higher education administration from Syracuse University. Laura served on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scout Council of Central New York from 2004–2008 as well as the Council Realignment Committee. Laura is a 2003 graduate of the Leadership Greater Syracuse program and a 2007 honoree of 40 Under 40 Syracuse. The 40 Under 40 honor highlights individuals younger than 40 who have made significant contributions as leaders in the workplace and community.
  • Diane Maluso
    Elmira, NY

    Diane Maluso was born and raised in Summit, NJ where she was involved in Girl Scouting from Brownies through Seniors, earning the First Class award in 1970. Some of her most memorable scouting memories were participation in Dig Mankind!, a Wider Opportunity at National Center West, and her many summers on the staff at Girl Scout Camps Eagle Island, Madeline Mulford, and Lou Henry Hoover. Her roles included serving as a unit leader, canoe instructor, boat driver, program director, and camp nurse. More recently, she served as the advisor for Campus Scouts at Elmira College.
     Diane has also worked as a registered nurse, has worked with adjudicated youth in wilderness settings, and eventually settled on a career as a social psychologist. Diane earned the Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island in 1992. She is a tenured associate professor of psychology and women's studies at Elmira College where she has been employed since 1996. Before that, Diane taught at the University of Rhode Island, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of Hawaii. She teaches courses in the areas of experimental, social and personality psychology, statistics, the psychology of women, and interpersonal discrimination. She has twice been voted "Teacher of the Year" by the Elmira College student body.
     Ms. Maluso has served on the Board of Directors of the Association for Women in Psychology, is currently serving on several committees with Ecovillage at Ithaca, and builds websites for various non-profit organizations. She enjoys canoe camping, fly fishing, and woodturning.
  • Cathleen McColgin
    Skaneateles, NY

    Cathleen C. McColgin was born and raised in the Syracuse, New York area. Upon graduating from Jameville-Dewitt High School, she attended Washtenaw Community College (Ann Arbor, MI) and obtained an AAS degree in Respiratory Therapy. After returning to Central New York, Cathleen earned an AAS degree in Nursing at Cayuga Community College. While working as a registered nurse, Cathleen attended Syracuse University's College of Nursing and graduated with a BS degree. Cathleen's teaching career began in 1988 at Cayuga Community College as the Coordinator of the Nursing Arts Laboratory. During this time she completed her MS degree in Nursing and PHD in Higher Education from Syracuse University. In 2001, Cathleen was appointed as Provost of Cayuga Community College's Fulton Campus.
     Since August 2008, Cathleen has held the position of Provost and Senior Vice President of Onondaga Community College. She has served, or currently serves, on several college-wide and SUNY-wide committees. She is also an evaluator for the Middle States Commission on Highter Education. Cathleen served as an officer in the United States Army Reserve as a member of the 376th Combat Support Hospital, obtaining the rank of Captain.
  • Carl McLaughlin
    Watertown, NY

    Carl is currently employed as the Executive Director of the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization. This is a community and economic development agency that functions as the primary community interface with Fort Drum. This is a second career following 32 years as a school district administrator, retiring from the Watertown City School District. His wife Weslie and he both graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1972; his graduate work was completed at SUNY Brockport, SUNY Oswego, and NYIT. He has more than 20 years of adult volunteer service with the Thousand Islands Girl Scout Council doing a variety of tasks from cookie Dad to board chairperson. Most of his committee work was in the area of property, personnel, policy and bylaws, and the Camp Trefoil Committee. Other current community service activities include Rotary, American Heart Association, and Victims Assistance Center of Jefferson County. He is a past District Commissioner for the local Boy Scouts and was for many years Trailmaster for a local Volksport Club, North Country Wanderers.
  • Karen Oxenreider
    Corning, NY

    Karen is originally from New York City and she attended college in Rhode Island. Her greatest enjoyment growing up in New York City was singing in the all-state choir and ice skating in Central Park.
     After college, she was hired and selected for the management program at Merrill Lynch. The position with Merrill Lynch was in London, England where she lived for three years. After London, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia and continued working for Merrill Lynch. In Atlanta, she met her husband and raised two wonderful sons. During her time in Atlanta, she accepted a promotion in retail banking and transitioned to First Atlanta.
     Karen now lives in Corning, New York and works for M&T Bank.
  • Frances Pestello
    Syracuse, NY

    Frances Pestello is the presidential spouse at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. She is beginning her fifth year in that role and her second year as a tenured professor in the Department of Anthropology, Criminology, and Sociology at Le Moyne. Prior to joining the Le Moyne faculty, she was a department chair and faculty member at The University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. Two-thirds of her time is devoted to her faculty role both teaching students and mentoring faculty, one-third of her time is devoted to work of the President’s office, such as meeting with donors, attending community events, and events on campus.

  • Terry Plizga
    Deerfield, NY

    Terry holds a MS in Management Science from SUNY Institute of Technology. She is employed by M&T Bank as a Vice President in CNY Business & Professional Banking. Previously Terry worked with SBU Bank as Vice President of Retail Banking. She recently served as the Chair for the GSNYPENN Board of Directors and in the past served on a legacy council Board (GSFC) since 2002 as 1st Vice President, Member-at-Large, and Nominating Committee. She has also served as president, vice president, and treasurer of Greater Utica Sunrise Rotary. Prior to returning to banking, Terry was employed at Upstate Cerebral Palsy as an Associate Executive Director in charge of Human Resources.
  • Rebecca Reed
    Watertown, NY

    Rebecca is the Branch Director of the YMCA in Watertown where she has worked for ten years. She has a BA in Business Administration from St Leo College. Rebecca is on the board of CREDO and the Jefferson County Youth Bureau.
     Rebecca was briefly a part of Girl Scouting when she was 11 or 12 years old and reconnected with Girl Scouting when she joined NYPENN’s Strategic Learning Team where she helped us identify the realities we must address to move forward as an organization. Rebecca is a strong proponent of providing girls with the foundation to believe in themselves. Rebecca is married to 1st Sergeant Retired Jeffrey Reed and is the mother of five children — two boys and three girls. Her family arrived at Fort Drum in 1995 and Rebecca has been an active member of the community ever since. Her oldest son was recently promoted to Sergeant in the Army and is currently stationed in Iraq.
  • Sonia Robinson
    Oswego, NY

    Sonia is a Public Health Educator and Emergency Planning Coordinator for the Oswego County Health Department. She is a graduate of the State University College at Cortland with a BS in Health Science and is currently working toward a Masters Degree. In addition, Sonia has operated a small business from her home for more than 21 years. Sonia has extensive volunteer experience including Girl Scout Leader and volunteer in the Oswego Service Unit, Oswego School District Band Parent Association Board Vice President, Oswego Children's Board, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, Boy Scouts of America, and the Oswego YMCA.
     In her spare time, Sonia enjoys gardening, traveling, photography, vintage shopping, recreational sports, walking, craft projects, event planning, and learning about new things.
  • Mike Sabo
    Endicott, NY

    Mike has a professional background in Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Information Technology, and Information Asset Security with a degree in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University. He retired from IBM as a Manager/IT Security Auditor and most recently worked as a consultant in China for a large Chinese telecommunications company. Mike currently serves on the NYPENN Board of Directors and on the joint Audit and Finance Committee. Prior to the merge, he served on the board of the Seven Lakes council. Other volunteer activities include chairing the Policy Board and serving on the executive committee of the Broome County Teacher Center and providing Medicare Advantage Plan selection assistance for eligible people. Personal interests include tennis, hiking, chess, bridge and education support.
     Mike feels service on the GS NYPENN board is important to help ensure that the resources are available to provide a meaningful scouting experience for any girl who would like to participate in scouting. This includes providing the highest quality of support to the volunteer leaders who are the key to giving girls a rewarding and enjoyable scouting adventure. He also feels it is important to offer girls the kinds of programs that will encourage more of them to become scouts and continue in scouting as they get older.
  • Irene Scruton
    Fayetteville, NY

    Irene is currently President of the Safety Council of Upstate New York, a chapter of National Safety Council. A lifetime Girl Scout and former banking executive, Irene received a Women of Distinction honor in 2006 from GSCCNY and most recently served on the Transition Nominating Subcommitttee of the Council Realignment Committee. She is a former member of the Executive Committee of the Onondaga Community College Foundation and chaired the Scholarship Committee of the Board. She is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo and holds an MBA from Syracuse University. She is a graduate of Leadership Greater Syracuse and served on its Board of Directors. She is also a Regional Vice President for the New York State Association of Traffic Safety Boards. Irene is an elected official serving on the Town of DeWitt Board and chairs the Technology Committee among other community affiliations and service groups.
  • Helen Steppowany
    Clinton, NY

    Helen brings twenty-five years of non-profit executive leadership experience across 10 counties in central and western New York State, with a specialty focus on developmental disabilities and autism services. At a senior leadership level her work represents all facets of the design, development, implementation and continuous improvement of a wide range of services for persons with disabilities as well as the ongoing development of training and supports for staff that work with them. Areas of personal interest and accomplishment include non-profit organizational development, project management, strategic planning, leadership development, quality improvement, and performance management.
     From 2001–2011 Helen led and directly supervised the program operations at Upstate Cerebral Palsy in Utica, NY employing 1200 professional and direct support staff with total program budgets exceeding $50,000,000 in annual operations. She designed and led major improvement initiatives in the areas of positive behavioral supports and restraint reduction in programs serving individuals with complex needs and challenging behaviors, medication error reduction and professional leadership development for mid-level and senior administrators and supervisors.
     Concurrently, from 2004–2011 Helen was directly involved in all aspects of the design and development of the Kelberman Center, Inc., an affiliated non-profit center of excellence for individuals with autism incorporated in 2005.  As its first Executive Director from 2006–2011, she led its strategic and operations development including Board expansion, professional staff recruitment, program development, marketing strategy and fundraising. Over a four year period this highly regarded non-profit grew to serve more than 800 children and adults with autism in upstate New York with annual budget of $1.5 million.
     In December 2011, she joined Pathfinder Village in Edmeston, NY in the position of Director of the Kennedy Willis Center. Established as the first planned residential community for individuals with Down syndrome and related developmental disabilities in the United States, Pathfinder Village provides a wide range of educational, residential, enrichment and vocational programs for children and adults with disabilities. As Director of the Kennedy Willis Center, she oversaw education and training programs for Pathfinder Village employees, directed and managed internal and external research projects, led strategic program development and improvement initiatives and oversaw support services and community education programs.
  • Gwen Webber-McLeod
    Auburn, NY

    Gwendolyn (Gwen) Webber-McLeod, M.S., is President/CEO of Gwen, Inc. She has over 30 years’ experience in leadership development, facilitation, strategic planning and the development of effective coalitions/collaborations. In addition, Gwen is a frequently sought after lecturer and conference keynote speaker on the topic of leadership. Her clients are CEOs, executive and mid-level managers, and leadership teams in public, private, health care and education businesses and organizations.
     Gwen is a cum laude graduate of SUNY Potsdam University, and a recipient of a Masters of Science in Management from Keuka College where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. Gwen takes pride in being a serial entrepreneur who created two businesses prior to Gwen, Inc.; Treble Associates and Gwen Webber-McLeod, Inspiring People to New Levels of Leadership, a consulting practice specializing in facilitation and professional mentoring /coaching for executive leaders.
     In 2008, she incorporated what she considers her “legacy building” business, Gwen, Inc., which houses her consulting practice and two new divisions. Gwen, Inc.’s hallmark division – The Leadership Connection®: A Resource Centered on Great Leadership – opened as a resource center for leaders in January 2009. The resource center is unique in that its sole resource is access to a team of talented leaders positioned to provide direct support to emerging and established leaders and leadership teams. She has been Director of Communications for Wells College; Communications/Development Director of the Seven Lakes Girl Scout Council; Executive Director of the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls; Executive Director of the Booker T. Washington Community Center in Auburn, and Coordinator of Human Services for the Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency.