Board of Directors

SCA is led by a diverse group of Board Members ranging from leaders in both the public and private sectors who care deeply about the stewardship of our land and the empowerment of young people as conservation leaders. See List of Board members.

Leadership Team

SCA’s Leadership Team is also comprised of leading experts in the field of conservation, partnership development, philanthropy, marketing and corporate relations. Together, they mentor and guide a staff of 152 national employees. See Leadership Team bios.

SCA Founder, Liz Putnam

Visionary is an accurate word to describe Liz Putnam. Launching an American conservation service powered exclusively by young people would be ambitious today, but considering that she conceived of the idea in 1953—at age 20—makes her all the more remarkable. While still attending Vassar College, Liz  modeled SCA on the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps. and enlisted student volunteers to assist with the upkeep of U.S. national parks and public spaces.  Be motivated by Liz’s story.

President’s Council

The President’s Council is comprised of distinguished philanthropic, corporate, conservation and youth development leaders from across the country who have agreed to promote SCA’s mission, advise on strategic matters, and assist in raising public and private funds. For more information about the members of the President’s Council please contact our Senior Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer, Karen Davis.

Board of Directors

Joanne Barker
District of Columbia
Mark Baum
Food Marketing Institute

Kathy Bonavist
New York

Tom Bolger
West Monroe Partners
Margaret Brown, Chair
Claire Caudill
Priya Cook
District of Columbia
Cynthia Cycyota
Amy Efroymson
Carrie Gonzalez
New York
Timothy Gratto
Martin Hale
Hellman Jordan Management Co.
Steven C. Holtzman*
Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
Rachel Jacobson
District of Columbia
Karen Kress
Eleanor W. Morris*
The Nature Conservancy
Mamie Parker
Steven A. Prusky
Windsor Securities, Inc.
J.J. Pryor
New York
Doug Sanders
Mary Gibson Scott
Bob Tamashunas
New Jersey
R. Vincent Taylor
New York
Robert E. Unsworth*,Vice Chair
Industrial Economics, Inc.
Ernest C. Wong*
site design ltd.

SCA Honorary Directors

Elizabeth Titus Putnam*
Founding President
Martha Hayne Talbot
* denotes SCA Alumni

Leadership Team

Jaime Berman Matyas, President and Chief Executive Officer

Jaime Berman Matyas became SCA president and chief executive officer in September of 2014. Prior to that, Jaime rose through a variety of senior roles with the National Wildlife Federation, most recently as executive vice president and chief operating officer. With more than 25 years of experience in marketing, fundraising and management, Jaime creatively advanced NWF’s mission – and her own personal passion – of protecting wildlife by connecting young people with nature.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School’s Executive Education Program, Jaime is also a certified Black Belt in Innovation Engineering. She has served on the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance Board of Directors and Executive Committee, the National Wildlife Productions’ Board of Directors and the Advisory Board of Nature’s Best Magazine and prior to joining SCA was a member of Rachel’s Network.

An avid soccer fan, Jaime lives with her family in Bethesda, MD.

Karen Davis, Senior Vice President and Chief Advancement Ocer

Karen brings more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising, specializing in the development of national campaigns, public/private partnerships, major gift solicitation strategies, corporate relations, communications and marketing.

Most recently Karen served as the Senior Vice President of Development for the National Park Foundation, the Congressionally chartered non-profit partner of America’s national parks, providing oversight and direction of all fundraising and development activities including corporate partnerships, major gifts, direct mail/online appeals and foundation initiatives. Karen led the team that successfully developed partnerships with Adler Fels Winery, AirWick, ARAMARK, The Coca-Cola Company, Disney, GE Lighting and LL Bean. Previously she served as a member of the senior management team with Changing Our World Inc., an international fundraising consulting firm, where she directed the activities of the firm’s Washington DC office. She oversaw a diverse portfolio of client engagements that ranged from healthcare to social service to associations to international aid efforts. Her work included fundraising feasibility studies and capital/endowment campaigns, major gift programs, corporate partnership programs, strategic planning and the development of comprehensive fundraising plans.

Aimee Dobrzeniecki, Chief Financial Officer

Aimee joined SCA in June, 2015 following nearly ten years at the U.S. Department of Commerce where, as deputy director, she led a national network of 50 federal project managers and 1300+ non-profit employees, and managed an annual public-private partnership program budget totaling $300M, including a $90M private sector annual investment. During this period, Aimee also was deployed to the White House to lead the green manufacturing initiative for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. 

Aimee is an Innovation Engineering Certified Black Belt, has held leadership positions with National Institute of Standards and Technology, and has mentored start-up venture entrepreneurs in the greater Washington, D.C. area.  She holds an MBA from George Washington University and a B.S. Mechanical Engineering from Lawrence Technological University.  

Barbara Gonzalez-McIntosh, Chief Counsel

Barbara served as senior vice president and chief counsel for the American Humane Association. Prior to that, she held senior leadership positions with the National Wildlife Federation, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Her work has included tax-exempt corporate law, governance, organizational risk assessment, tax-exempt campaign finance law and lobbying and ethics compliance. She is also an active champion for forging a more diverse conservation community.

Laura Herrin, Senior Vice President for Programs 

Laura oversees all of SCA’s national, regional and community programs. She joined SCA in 2002 and has served in a number of roles for the organization including National Director of High School Programs and Director of Innovation before moving into her current Role. Laura’s background includes youth and workforce development and has worked in the nonprofit arena for over twenty five years. Laura has presented and spoken at numerous national conferences, and was selected by former Secretary Salazar to serve as a primary member of the Federal Advisory Committee for the 21st Century Conservation and Service Corps. A member of the Corps Network Board of Directors for the past four years, Laura was named Chair of the National Corps Council in 2012. Laura holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Management and Leadership and is also a graduate of Leadership New Hampshire.

Chris Jackson, Eastern Regional Vice President

Chris has been with SCA since 2012, initially working in the Seattle office but now posted in SCA’s National Office in Arlington, VA.

Chris came to SCA after six years of work at Oregon State University, College of Forestry, where he served as the Recreation Manager for the Research Forests, overseeing all aspects of the recreation program as part of the forest management team and teaching faculty.

After working for the US Forest Service in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon for two years, Chris  then moved to Arizona and spent the next eight working for the City of Phoenix, where he oversaw the afterschool and summer youth programming, before managing the city’s outdoor adventure programs in northern Arizona, along with the “Daring Adventures” adaptive recreation program for youth and adults with physical and mental disabilities. Chris is a member of the National Recreation and Parks Association. He holds degrees in Rural Resource Management from Writtle College, England, and also Recreation Management from Arizona State University.

Rafael Rosa, Central Regional Vice President

Rafael Rosa directs SCA’s programs and partnerships in a 12-state area ranging from Ohio to Missouri and North Dakota. He brings to SCA more than 20 years of experience at the Chicago Academy of Sciences and its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, most recently as Vice President of Education. In 2012, a program Rafael developed with community partners, Using Cultural Symbols to Introduce Monarch Conservation and Nature-Based Activities in Chicago, received the Urban Communities in Conservation Award from the US Department of Agriculture.

A strong believer in the value of partnership and collaboration, he chairs the Museums in the Park Education Committee and co-chairs the Chicago Wilderness Education Organizing Committee. He also serves on the Arts and Environment Xchange Advisory Council and its local Board of Education. He is a member of the North American Association of Environmental Educators, the Environmental Education Association of Illinois and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Rosa holds a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University.

Jay Watson, Western Regional Vice President

Jay joined SCA in November 2004.  His responsibilities include program and partnership development, major donor, foundation, and corporate advancement in the West, government relations, media outreach, and staff management.  Prior to joining the staff of SCA, Jay spent nineteen years with The Wilderness Society, fourteen of which were in California, where he was regional director.  His past positions include five years as a wilderness ranger with the U.S. Forest Service in the Trinity Alps Wilderness in northern California and three years as executive director of the Camp Unalayee Association, a non profit wilderness youth camp, also in the Trinity Alps. Jay serves on the Board of Directors of the California Fire Safe Council and graduated from Humboldt State University with a B.S. in Wildlife Management. Jay and his wife Kathleen live in the Town of Sonoma, and have two sons, Thomas (18) and Charlie (16).

Dan McCabe, Vice President, Corporate Partnerships

Dan has held leadership roles in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors, most recently serving as President of SixDegrees.org, a charity founded by actor/musician Kevin Bacon to connect celebrities with cause-related activities aligned with their interests and availability. He brings experience crafting innovative partnerships that deliver financial, social, and reputational benefits for all stakeholders. One of Dan’s proudest accomplishments came while working in the Business Leadership Program at The Home Depot. He devised and developed what is now known as the “Framing Hope” product donation program, an environmental initiative that doubled charitable giving for the company and has contributed over $150 million in merchandise to more than 1000 nonprofits across the country since its inception. Dan left The Home Depot to help other Fortune 500 companies like Mattel, HP, and Disney to start and strengthen strategic product philanthropy programs through an organization now known as Good360 (www.good360.org). When he’s not working, you can probably catch Dan hiking local parks, playing pickup basketball or ultimate frisbee, or helping his kids find the coolest playgrounds in the country.

Kevin Hamilton, Vice President of Communications

Kevin directs organizational branding, strategic communications, marketing, public relations and media relations.  He oversees collateral creation including annual reports and The GreenWay newsletter as well as video production and SCA’s online and social presence.  Kevin also served as editor of Our Land, Our Youth, Our Future: Commemorating 50 years of the Student Conservation Association.  He has presented on a range of communications topics at national forums conducted by the Association of Partners for Public Lands, the Wilderness Risk Managers Conference and others.  Prior to joining SCA in 1999, Kevin managed communications campaigns for leading financial institutions, health care facilities, architectural practices, museums, insurance companies, retail clients and more.  He also has 12 years of award-winning journalism experience. 

Lauren Kass Harnishfeger, Vice President for Individual Giving and Foundation Relations

A career fundraising officer, Ms. Harnishfeger joined SCA in January 2015, having previously served as Vice President for Development with the National Building Museum. Prior to that, she held leadership positions with the National Park Foundation, Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, and the Smithsonian Institution. Harnishfeger holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Trinity College, a postgraduate diploma in the Fine and Decorative Arts awarded by the Royal Society of Arts in London, and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from George Washington University. She and her family reside in Arlington, VA.