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Council of Advisors


Become a Member of our Council of Advisors

Are you a strategic thinker, subject matter expert, change maker, and more?

Use your skills to help guide USA Girl Scouts Overseas’ impact around the world! Join us!

As a member of our Council of Advisors, you will provide strategic support and counsel to the Executive Director of USAGSO. You’ll work with smart global women from all walks of life to ensure that we fulfill our promise of developing girls of courage, character, and confidence who make their world a better place, to our 10,000+ girls and volunteers around the world. 

What experience do I need?

The Council of Advisors was created to support the Executive Director and staff of USAGSO in fundraising, marketing/public relations, strategic planning, and policy-making. Although the Council is not an official Board, it performs board-like functions, so you will need to be able to think strategically and be able to communicate at a high level. You will need to understand complex issues and have a global outlook with practical experience of living outside the US to inform your contributions. 

You don’t have to be a Girl Scout or female, you just need to have a commitment to developing young girls and women for the future, be based overseas, and in an active USAGSO location.  You may self-nominate or nominate others for consideration. We have open positions on the Council and are also recruiting non-CoA members to participate and give us different perspectives. A non-CoA member has no voting rights in the Council but has the opportunity to bring their ideas and viewpoints to the table. Often, as a result of their experience in this role, non-CoA members then go on to become full Council members. 

You will need to be able to give around 6-8 hours a month, depending on committee service, plus attendance at the Annual Retreat in the US.

Application process

Once we have received your online application form, we will review it and let you know if we would like you to attend a Zoom interview with two of our Council Members. Final decisions will be made in May, and you will be informed as soon as possible if you have been successful. 

To access the online application, please click here.

Please contact Sjoukje Neil at sneil@usagso.org  with any questions. 

What happens next?

Successful candidates will be invited to attend our Annual Retreat in July in the US. Dates for 2023 are July 13 for Induction, which you will be required to attend as a new member, and July 14-16 for the full Retreat.

New members will take up their posts in line with the Girl Scouting year which starts October 1. 

Please contact Sjoukje Neil at sneil@usagso.org  with any questions.


About the Council of Advisors

USAGSO's Council of Advisors (CoA) was created for the purpose of supporting the work of USAGSO in fundraising, marketing/public relations, and strategic planning. The Council of Advisors provides input on matters of policy that directly concern the delivery of the Girl Scout program overseas.  

The CoA members bring a strong background and the expertise necessary to support the work of USA Girl Scouts Overseas.  For more information about the specific responsibilities of the Council of Advisors, please view the CoA Member Responsibilities.

Amanda Chehrezad, Secretary
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Amanda Chehrezad has lived and worked overseas for the last 15 years. Most recently she served as USAGSO’s Regional Director in Tokyo, Japan, where she was also a Girl Scout parent. Amanda supported staff and volunteers through the adoption of volunteer systems, online registration, and the strategic planning process. She is a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts and has been an active volunteer for USAGSO in Tokyo and Mexico.

Prior to her work with USAGSO, Amanda has been the Women’s Leadership Program Manager at US Japan Council – TOMODACHI initiative in Japan, a U.S. Department of State Senior Program Manager Contractor in Mexico City, and started her own business while living in Bogota Colombia. Amanda has a BA from the University of California in Davis, an MBA from Temple University, and she expects to complete her Doctorate in Business Administration in 2022.  Amanda currently lives in Mexico City with her husband and three children.

Judith Johnson
Judith Johnson

Judy Johnson has spent almost half of her life living overseas, as a child and as an adult working in the consulting industry and for the U.S. government.  Growing up she moved frequently internationally and in the U.S., but Judy always found a welcoming group of friends and a familiar home in each Girl Scout troop, from Brownies through First Class scout.  

Judy has worked in many countries in Africa and Europe, Eastern Asia, and South-Central Asia in the areas of information technology and in management of government operations.  She has a B.A from The George Washington University, a M.A. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and an MBA from the University of Manchester.

Judy moves every few years with her husband who works in a similar field.  She has two children who also grew up as third-culture kids, but to Judy’s regret, her daughter never got the chance to be part of the Girl Scout community based on where the family was deployed.  Judy is looking forward to being involved with the Council of Advisors so that other girls will not miss out on what Girl Scouting brings to enrich their lives and build a sense of service and community.  

Kelley Kagele
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Kelley Kagele is a proud mother to four children and wife to a retired Air Force airman. Over the past 29 years she has lived in eight different cities in five different countries during her husband’s military career. She currently lives in Bydgoszcz, Poland where her husband works at a NATO base. She currently owns an English Language school and is an English textbook consultant. Kelley’s previous work & volunteer experience includes YMCA Director, YMCA national trainer, Red Cross trainer, Rotary, United Way, USO and many other military base organizations. She has BA in Business Management and a MBA certificate in Nonprofit leadership from Park University, Missouri. Her previous Girl Scout experience includes lifelong membership since 1st grade, International Wide Opportunity participate, Gold Award recipient, troop leader, Camp director, Overseas Committee Chair, and Trainer to name a few.

Deb Gerardi Kemper, Treasurer
Deb Kemper

Deb Kemper is an active angel investor and mentor to early stage start-up companies. Deb led deal flow for the Boston Chapter of Golden Seeds since 2014 and was the Chair of the Boston Chapter from 2015 through 2017.   She is also a member of Clean Energy Venture Group and on the Advisory Board of Red Bear Angels. Her investment focus is high growth companies in the clean tech, health care, and technology sectors.  She is a Board Member at Day One Response, and a Board Observer at DayZero Diagnostics and 99DegreesCustom.   Deb serves on several non-profit boards including the Council of Advisors of USA Girl Scouts Overseas.   Deb was a consultant with McKinsey & Company where she served clients in the energy, electronics, and healthcare sectors. Her functional experience spans manufacturing, product development, operations, strategy, and leadership development.  She has provided leadership support to organizations in China, Peru and the United States.  Deb earned her MBA from The Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College where she was named an Edward Tuck Scholar.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Cornell, where she graduated With Distinction and was a member of the Varsity Women’s Crew.  As an alumna, she is serving on the advisory boards of Entrepreneurship@Cornell and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

Cynthia Lane-Hand
Cynthia Lane

Cynthia began her Girl Scout career as a Brownie in Scituate, MA, was a Gold Award recipient and is a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts. She has served in a variety of Girl Scout volunteer roles including Troop Leader, Girl Scout Adult Learning Facilitator, Gold Award Advisor, and Service Unit Volunteer. Cynthia believes that her early Girl Scout experiences led to a passion for community service, philanthropy and social advocacy, for not only herself but also for her children. In addition to her Girl Scout roles, Cynthia has filled challenging leadership roles on two non-profit education boards, as well as a municipal board focused on creating affordable housing. Her areas of expertise include fundraising, identifying and accessing grants, cultivating partnerships, and strategic planning. Cynthia is particularly passionate about building strong, inclusive organizations and communities, as this supports the well-being and mental health of all.

Cynthia has lived throughout the United States and Europe with her husband, who retired from the United States Army after 26 years of Active Duty service and is now working for the Department of Defense. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Excelsior College and her M.A. in Social Work from Middlesex University in London. Since earning her Masters, Cynthia has focused her career on supporting and advocating for others in several different settings including schools, military facilities, and community mental health agencies. Cynthia is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in the United States and a Registered Social Worker in England.  She owns a private practice providing mental health and substance abuse therapy to children, adolescents, and families.  In early 2022, her family moved overseas and Cynthia transitioned to her current role as a full-time academic, lecturing in the Department of Social Work and Mental Health at her alma mater, Middlesex University. Additionally, she continues to practice therapy in her private practice. Cynthia is passionate about advocating for marginalized populations and proudly identifies as a feminist and ally.

Cynthia enjoys traveling, volunteering, and running in her free time. She is an active member of the National Association of Social Workers and the British Association of Social Workers. She resides in London, England with her husband, two daughters and one son, all active in Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts.

Laurie Menzel
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Laurie Menzel is a Girl Scout Lifetime member, beginning as a Brownie in Honolulu and has found memories of “Camp Menehune”. She has served in a variety of volunteer roles from Girl Scout Troop Leader to USAGSO-NA Board Chair, 2010-2014. Laurie credits Girl Scouts with providing critical life skills to not only herself but her daughter through all their moves as a military family. She was on staff with Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital as an Individual Giving Officer and Membership Specialist. While on staff, she worked closely with volunteers to identify and cultivate potential gifts from their peer members; created major donor recognition events and training for their board members on fundraising.

Currently, Laurie is a Major Gifts Officer for The Rotary Foundation. She has over 15 years’ experience in the Nonprofit sector working for a variety of nonprofits. She earned a Master’s degree in Non-Profit Management from Regis University and the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification.

Through challenging nonprofit leadership positions and business ownership, she gained a solid background in financial oversight, strategic planning, volunteer management, and fund development. She has led successful large scale fundraising events and trained boards in the importance of a culture of philanthropy.

Her other love is for fitness, especially teaching youth the benefits of exercise and healthy eating. She was a Jazzercise Franchise owner for over 13 years, operating multiple locations both in the US and abroad.

She and her husband, Ralph, live in Alexandria, VA, after spending almost 18 years in various overseas locations. They have one daughter, Meredith, who also resides in the greater Washington area.

Melinda Murphy, Vice Chair
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Melinda started Girl Scouts in her small Texas town as a Brownie and went all the way through earning her First Class Award, the earlier version of a Gold. A busy career as an EMMY-award winning television journalist took her away from Girl Scouting for many years. Primarily a feature reporter, Melinda also did breaking news including covering 9/11 which earned her an EMMY nod. Melinda left television after a stint as a network television correspondent working for CBS News.

After moving to Singapore in 2012, Melinda got involved with Girl Scouting again, leading her daughter’s troop ever since while working as a print journalist in Singapore. In 2018, she was named Singapore’s Journalist of the Year. The recipient of the Thanks Badge, Melinda has held many roles in Singapore: OCC, Secretary and Trainer. A natural-born events manager, she’s also overseen the Father Daughter Dance, Day Camp, the Singapore Scurry (an Amazing Race event for older girls), Adventure Day, Cadette Journey-in-a-Day, Closing Ceremonies and much more. This year, she organized Scouts & Guides Care, a letter writing campaign which united all 18,000 Scouts and Guides in Singapore from eight international groups and more than 30 nationalities to thank health care workers on the front line of the COVID-19 virus. She’s been a Master Global Facilitator for four years as well as a National Volunteer Partner.

Sjoukje Neil, Council Development Committee Chair
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Sjoukje Neil lives in Bottmingen, Switzerland, where she is a Managing Consultant for ChangeFocus GmbH, Switzerland.  She also serves as a Non-Executive Director for MeeTwo Ltd., an award-winning mental health app for teens.  Sjoukje has extensive experience in Human Resources, including at a senior level with Eli Lilly and Company in regional and country roles across Europe. Her work is focused on change management, organizational effectiveness, and cross-cultural leadership.  Sjoukje holds a BA in English Language from Sheffield University, an MBA from Manchester University, and an MA from the Open University. 

Sjoukje has been involved in Scouting since she was 14, and she served as a Troop Leader for Basel International Girl Scouts, Switzerland from 2010-2013, and then as Chair from 2013-2016.  In her time as Chair, she put considerable effort into recruiting and developing leaders, and by the time she stepped down, they had over 100 girls.  She has drawn extensively on her business experience to develop long-term strategies for success for Girl Scouts, as well as other movements serving youth.  Sjoukje is enthusiastic about making Girl Scouts more accessible internationally.   

Danielle Pierson
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Danielle Pierson, a Licensed Customs Broker, has 15 years of international experience, including work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Currently, she is a freelance Management and Process Improvement Consultant, facilitating leadership training for 11,000 U.S. personnel in Japan and liaising between military senior management and stakeholders to align interests and communicate solutions.  Danielle holds a BA in International Business, Economics, and German from Georgetown College and an MBA from the University of Oxford.

Danielle and her daughter, who is a Brownie, are both registered Girl Scouts at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Franny Puente-Bonilla
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Franny Puente-Bonilla was a Girl Scout as a child and has been heavily involved in volunteering roles in troop, service unit, and council levels.  Her main focus has been on serving and supporting the children of Military families, including her own.  She is presently the OCC for USAGSO-Bogotá, Colombia.

Franny is the Foreign Service Office Management Specialist for the US Embassy, Bogotá, Colombia.  She has also worked for USAG Wiesbaden RSO, Fort Bliss Officer & Civilian Spouses’ Association, USAG Ansbach Army Community Service, USAG Darmstadt Army Community Services, and III Corps, Army Community service.  Franny holds a Bachelor of Science in Math from the University of Puerto Rico as well as a Certificate in Adult and Youth Ministry from the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives.

Kelly Roy
Kelly Roy

Kelly Roy has lived mostly overseas since 1999. She studied in Paris, worked for a digital media company in London, volunteered with the Peace Corps in Fiji, and has been posted with the State Department in Jeddah, Moscow, Shanghai, and now Nairobi with a move planned to Jerusalem later 2022. Kelly graduated from Baylor University and is currently getting her master’s in human resources from Tarleton University.

Kelly’s time with Girl Scouts began with her daughter, Malosi, as a Daisy in Moscow, then a Brownie in Shanghai, and now a Junior in Nairobi. Kelly started the troop in Nairobi as Overseas Community Chair with nine girls in 2020 and as of today the community has grown ten-fold with no evidence of stopping. Her home-base is Texas, so Malosi always attends summer events at the STEM Center of Excellence in Dallas with the GSNETX community. 

Valerie Russell, Chair
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Valerie Russell is a life-long Girl Scout who has directly benefited from the amazing outcomes the Girl Scout program delivers.  She experienced the program as a girl from Daisies through Seniors with the Virginia Skyline Council, earning her Gold Award in 2001.  She credits the Girl Scouts for helping her identify her career path as a chemical engineer and helping her build the confidence to take on new challenges.

The impact of her girl experience led Valerie to become a lifetime member, and she actively engages with the Girl Scout family everywhere she goes.  She has been in many troop, service unit, and council-level volunteering roles across multiple councils as well as most recently serving the Amsterdam, Netherlands community of USAGSO as the Overseas Committee Chair and a troop leader from 2015-2018.  She joined the USAGSO Council of Advisors in 2018.

Valerie is the Director of Sales & Operations Planning for the Acetyl Chain of Celanese Corporation based in Irving, Texas.   She previously was the Business Director for the Sweeteners business of Celanese in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  She held prior roles in business management and manufacturing with Celanese across multiple US locations.  Valerie has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Valerie and her husband Lance have two daughters and the first is finally old enough to be a Daisy!

Marissa Scott
Marissa Scott

Marissa Scott is the French Language Spokesperson for the Department of State and the Director of the Department’s Africa Regional Media Hub, a media platform that amplifies U.S. policy messages to the Francophone world and develops media training programs for U.S. government professionals. The Africa Hub also works to cultivate relationships with media outlets and journalists through conference calls and virtual briefings with U.S. policymakers. Marissa is a career American diplomat and has spent most of her career working in Africa on public diplomacy and media relations. Her previous assignments were Djibouti, the Dominican Republic, Algeria, Niger, and Cabo Verde.  In her next assignment, Marissa will lead the U.S. Consulate in Casablanca, Morocco from 2023-2026 as the Consul General. Marissa has a BA in English and Spanish language and an MA in International Relations from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. She also holds an Advanced Certificate in Conflict Resolution from Syracuse and a Certificate in Strategic Communications and Public Relations from Portland State University.  She speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese, and just enough Arabic to stay out of trouble.  

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