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Betsy Denson
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Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Elects New Board Members

Community leaders were recently elected to the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) board of directors. Donna Cole, Rosi Hernandez, Dr. Caroline Long, and Evelyn Lord will serve a two-year term. Dr. Robert W. Dennis will serve a one-year term. Portia Cook, Jacqueline Martin and Robert W. Mills will each serve a three-year term on the nominating committee. Because of the recent merger of GSSJC and Girl Scouts of South Texas Council (GSST), new members from GSST also join the board.Pam Hokanson and Nancy Lee Peterson will serve a two-year term. Nancy Walker and Elizabeth “BJ”Bonner will serve a one-year term. Jo Greathouse will serve on the nominating committee.

Cole is CEO and president of Cole Chemical and Distributing Inc., a distributor and manufacturer of chemicals used in anti-freeze, fuel, and process and lab chemicals. A third generation Japanese American, Cole owns one of the top 100 minority businesses in the country. Community leadership includes roles as past president of the Asian Pacific Women’s Leadership Institute, former board member of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, and former leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout troop.

Hernandez is the vice president of market development for the Houston Astros Baseball Club. She was a Girl Scout in Puerto Rico for 10 years and wanted to become involved in Girl Scouting as an adult.She is a board member for Houston Hispanic Chamber, the Association for Advancement of Mexican Americans, the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, and an advisory member for the Mexican Women’s Initiative.

Long is a Doctor of Chiropractic at West University Wellness. She is the executive director of the Texas Dragon boat Association and board member of HITS Theatre, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, and the Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County.

Lord is the former mayor of Beaumont. She is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts and was president of the Kentuckiana Girl Scout Council. She currently serves on the board of directors or trustees for the United Way of Beaumont and North Jefferson County, Community Partners for Children, Foundation of Southeast Texas, the Executive Board of the Three Rivers Boy Scout Council, and serves as a life member of the Evelyn M. Lord Teen Court.

Dennis is a partner in Pricewaterhouse Coopers L.L.P. Advisory Service – Dispute Analysis and Investigations. Dr. Dennis is an expert in quantification of damages for dispute resolution. He specializes in the petroleum industry and also has specific technical expertise in environmental and insurance matters. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Society of Professional Engineers, and Sigma Xi, the national honorary research society.

Cook has been involved as an adult in Girl Scouting for 10 years. She has served as a troop leader,assistant service unit manager, national delegate, Product Sales department coordinator, and served asa member of the Council Cookie Committee, Council Meeting Arrangement Committee, Council Adult Recognitions Committee, and is a Council trainer. Portia has been recognized by her service unit with the Outstanding Leader and Volunteer Pins, and by the Council with the Honor Pin, the Appreciation Pin, and the Family Award.

Martin is principal of JS Martin Associates, LP, providing consulting services in the areas of development and fundraising, strategic collaboration, and strengthening corporate cultures. Prior to starting her consulting business, Martin served as president of United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast for six and half years. She was also the executive director(CEO) of Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council. Jackie serves on the boards of Houston Downtown Park Conservancy,Houston Regional Board of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and the Women’s Advisory Board of Vinson & Elkins.

Mills has been an employee of UPS for over 33 years and has fulfilled many roles in the organization. Currently he is the Community Relations and Congressional Awareness liaison to Congresswoman Shelia Jackson-Lee. He currently volunteers with numerous organizations including serving as chairman of the board for Frontiers International Foundation, on the advisory board of the Houston area UNCF, and as a communications committee member for the Fifth Ward Enrichment Program.

Hokanson is employed by Lyondell Chemicals as an Insurance and Risk Management consultant with over 25 years of accounting and audit experience. A lifetime Girl Scout member, she has held a variety of positions on the GSST board including vice president, member at large, nominating committee chair, bylaws task group chair and Council performance assessment chair. Hokanson served in Boy Scouts of America from 1992 to 2004 as Troop secretary, Den leader and a variety of other roles.

Peterson has honed her expertise in the Girl Scout organization in nine different councils in seven different states. She is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts and at GSST has been a trainer of other volunteers as well as a leader of Junior,Cadette, and Senior Girl Scout troops. She has also served on the board of directors for the Prairie Girl Scout Council. Other organizations she is involved with include American Red Cross Galveston Unit Disaster Committee, which she serves as secretary, as well as a disaster volunteer and a first aid/CPR instructor. She is a retired USAF Officer and pilot.

Walker is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts and has served GSST as a trainer since 2001, as well as been a troop leader for 13 years and a service unit manager for 5 years. Other organizations she has served are the Marine Mammal Stranding Network and the Laura Recovery Center for Missing Children. Walker worked as a science teacher at J. Frank Dobie High School from 1971-2004 and served as the head of the science department from 1974 to 2004. From 1992-2004 she has been listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

Bonner is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts and has served the Council in many capacities – as troop leader for 13 years,service unit manager for 8 years, troop consultant, day camp director for 10 years, event coordinator, council trainer and as a member of various task forces and the GSST Nominating Committee. She also served as a council delegate for many years. She has been recognized by her service unit with the Outstanding Leader and Volunteer pins and by the Council with the Honor Pin and the GSST Key Award Pin.

Greathouse works for the Texas Department of Correctional Justice as a parole officer and also serves on the faculty of Brazosport College. She has served GSST as a Council trainer, service unit manager, a consultant, and an event volunteer. Other organizations she is involved with include Friends of Library in Angleton, St. John Lutheran Church,and the Houston Area Women’s Center.

“The Council is fortunate to have the guidance of these outstanding community leaders,” says Mary Vitek, CEO of GSSJC. “Their commitment to the girls we serve is inspiring and we look forward to their input on how to best meet the needs of our members.”

Chartered by GSUSA to provide Girl Scouting locally, Houston-based Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council serves more than 64,000 girl members and 18,000 adults in 25 southeast Texas counties. For more information, call 713-292-0300 or visit us online at Today, as when founded in 1912, Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

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.

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