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 over 150 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

Mark Asbury
Joanne Barker
Mark Baum
Food Marketing Institute
Tom Bolger
West Monroe Partners
Priya Cook*
District of Columbia
Amy Efroymson*
Carrie Gonzalez*
New York
Rachel Jacobson
District of Columbia
Karen Kress
David Leathers
Greg Moga III
Moga Investments
Mamie Parker
Steven A. Prusky
Windsor Securities, Inc.
J.J. Pryor
Doug Sanders
Mary Gibson Scott
Bob Tamashunas
New Jersey
R. Vincent Taylor
New York
Robert E. Unsworth*, Chairman
Industrial Economics, Inc.
Don Winsett
The Davey Tree Expert Company
Carol Wren
Bristol Bay Native Corporation


SCA Honorary Directors

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

Leadership Team

Kathy Bonavist, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer

Kathy Bonavist, who had servedon the Student Conservation Association board for two years prior to her current appointment, brings twenty years of youth development expertise to the role. As a consultant, she has worked with Ruffalo Noel Levitz, the nation’s leading higher education consulting firm. 

Kathy has served in leadership roles with six colleges, specializing in managing organizations through transition and cultural shifts. Her success with facilitating organizational change, strategic planning and repositioning organizations in a competitive marketplace are valuable proficiencies for this interim position. 

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.

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.

Rafael Rosa, Senior Vice President for Program 

Rafael Rosa directs SCA’s programs’ operations, strategy, and staff. From 2014 to 2016, Rosa served as Regional Vice President for Partnerships for SCA’s Central Region. He brings to SCA more than 25 years of museum education experience at the Museum of Science and Industry and 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, Rosa chaired the Museums in the Park Education Committee and co-chaired the Chicago Wilderness Education Organizing Committee. He has served on the Navy Pier Environmental Working Group, Illinois Statewide High Quality Teacher Professional Development Task Force and his local Board of Education. He is a member of the North American Association for Environmental Education, 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).

Kevin Hamilton, Vice President for 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 Public Lands Alliance, the National Outdoor Recreation Conference, 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.

Jennifer Layman, Vice President, Central Region

Jennifer Meccariello Layman is the Regional Vice President for Partnerships for SCA’s Central Region. Her work revolves around building relationships with SCA’s federal, state, local, and nonprofit partners. Prior to this, Jenn spent three years as a Regional Partnership Director for SCA, focused on Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh, and eight years in government relations at Carnegie Mellon University. She is working towards a Black Belt in Innovation Engineering, has a degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh, and recently completed a research fellowship at Pitt’s Graduate School of Education. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two sons.

Robb Hampton, Vice President, Eastern Region

Robb Hampton has a long history of connecting different groups with public lands and the outdoors. Prior to joining Student Conservation Association, Robb operated an independent consulting practice; Seneca Ridge Consulting, specializing in work with outdoor based organizations such as American Park Network and American Recreation Coalition.

Prior to his role as an independent consultant, Robb served as director of The National Public Lands Day Program at the National Environmental Education Foundation. He grew the program to more than triple the amount of participating sites (2,000+) with over 180,000 volunteers participating annually. Robb established several new partnerships, instituted the Public Lands Tour and worked with federal land management agencies to establish NPLD as one of only a handful of ‘fee-free’ days per year. Robb also developed and directed the Public Lands Program which focuses on capacity building for organizations supporting public lands.

Robb earned a Bachelor of Science from Arizona State University. In Arizona, he also worked as a counselor for inner-city teens and as a teacher on Gila River Indian Reservation. After college, Robb served as legislative assistant for The National Park Service Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs. Robb lives in Darnestown, Maryland with his wife and two daughters.