Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Message from Anna Maria Chávez, Chief Executive Officer

A Message from Anna Maria Chávez, Chief Executive Officer

I write to all of you with a heavy heart. Indeed, words cannot express the sorrow I feel over the loss of life as a result of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. I, like everyone across the country and around the world, was shocked by the terrible tragedy and have grieved for the children and educators who lost their lives, and for the entire Newtown community.

On Sunday, I learned that eight of the twelve girls who died were Girl Scouts and that two Girl Scout families lost sons. The girls were Girl Scout Daisies who wore their uniforms proudly. The loss of any child brings with it an especially hollowing pain; to know that all of us in our Movement shared with those girls a love of Girl Scouting makes it all the more personal—and heartbreaking. Yet I know that all of us stand with our sisters at Girl Scouts of Connecticut as they endure with courage and strength this unspeakable tragedy, and I am heartened by the fact that we are developing girls who will lead our society to solutions and approaches that will prevent such tragedies in the decades ahead.

So we forge ahead, now more than ever committed to our mission of serving girls, and we do so even as we mourn this devastating and unfathomable loss. May those who perished and their families always remain in our thoughts and prayers, especially as we gather with our own families during this holiday season.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Moving Forward: GSCSNJ launches nationwide CEO Search

Moving Forward: GSCSNJ launches nationwide CEO Search

A Message for our Girl Scout Family,

Girl Scouts of Central & Southern NJ is announcing the retirements of our Chief Executive Officer Mary E. Connell and Chief Operating Officer Gertrude “Gert” Kaczorowski.  After 52 combined years of dedicated service to the Girl Scout Movement, Mary and Gert have notified the board of their plans to retire.  The entire board of directors recognizes the awesome contributions that Mary and Gert have made to this council and are thankful that they have devoted their time and talents to furthering our mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.  The board is proud that through their guidance, GSCSNJ stands as one of the strongest Girl Scout councils in the country.  Under their leadership, we finalized the realignment of three council’s and have flourished into one of the most stable and recognizable high performing Girl Scout organizations in the state of New Jersey; all this while continuing to grow membership to a record 25,353 girls.  While we often joke that “GSCSNJ is the best council on the planet”, the truth of the matter is that in their five years together as CEO/COO, GSCSNJ’s girl membership has grown 7 percent, while public support has grown from 7.4 percent of our budget to 9.6 percent of our current $8 million budget.  The board is eternally grateful for the guidance, leadership, strategic direction and vision that both Mary and Gert have provided for GSCSNJ over the years.  

Today, we are reaching out to our entire Girl Scout family, not only to notify you of the impending retirements, but also to share the plans in place for the search, selection and transition of a new CEO and COO.  We realize that the selection of these two senior leadership positions are among the most critical decisions a Girl Scout board of directors can make.  To conduct a thorough search and effect a smooth transition, we have formed a Search Committee comprised of five members of our volunteer board of directors.  The Search Committee Chair, Kathleen Larkin, will lead our efforts along with Hugh Regan, Margaret Smith, Deb Ihunnah and myself, Ann Marie Horner (ad hoc member).  GSCSNJ’s Director of Human Resources, Teresa Gallagher is working with the search committee to support the recruitment efforts and serve as a staff liaison.  Since its formation in September, the committee has retained Diversified Search, a leading and world-renowned executive search firm to assist with the broad-based nationwide search for a new CEO search. 

Here is our timeline for recruiting, screening, hiring and transitioning of a new CEO/COO:
                     In the coming weeks: After meeting with a cross-section of diverse stakeholders to clarify the key responsibilities of the role and critical skills required, Diversified Search will create  the CEO position description and launch a nationwide search for the most qualified candidates. Gert’s last official day will be December 14, 2012.
                     Fall – Early Winter: Diversified Search will recruit, conduct preliminary screening interviews and make recommendations of potential candidates for consideration to the CEO Search Committee.
                     Late winter – Early Spring: Candidate interviews will be conducted and a final recommendation will be made to the board for approval.
                     Late Spring: Introduction of the new CEO.  Transition period with new CEO and Mary prior to her official May 31, 2013 retirement date.
                     Summer - Fall: The new CEO will search for a new COO based on GSCSNJ's goals and strategy moving forward.

The search committee looks forward to keeping you informed with periodic updates on where we stand in the selection process.  In the meantime, we welcome any questions you have about the search process.  Send any questions to
Any person who is interested in applying for the CEO position should contact Judy Boreham, Managing Director at Diversified Search at  

The board of directors recognizes the unique opportunity that launching a CEO Search at this time represents for our organization.  This is a time for us to reflect on our mission, strategic goals, and operations—and how best to achieve them.  Once a new CEO is selected, we will provide an opportunity for members to meet and get to know her/him.  The CEO will begin to share their vision for our organization moving forward.  We are an exceptional organization, and with the continued partnership of all our members and community supporters, we will continue to build the best Girl Scout council on the planet.  

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Ann Marie Horner
GSCSNJ Board Chair