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
Kathy Bonavist* Chairperson
New York
Priya Cook*
District of Columbia
Chris Dhanraj
New York, NY
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
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

Stephanie Meeks, President and Chief Executive Officer

Appointed in April, 2020, Stephanie has extensive leadership experience in both the conservation and nonprofit sectors. She served in several senior roles with The Nature Conservancy, including interim president, chief operating officer, chief administrative officer, and chief marketing and philanthropy officer over an 18 year period. She also was president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for eight years. It was there that she launched the HOPE Crew program to engage a new generation of preservationists. Additionally, Stephanie led the creation of a multi-year strategic plan, successfully completed a capital campaign, and established the Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to convey a fuller accounting of American history.

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 has over twenty years experience as a tax-exempt organization attorney leading 501(c)(3) public and private charities as well as 501(c)(4) and 527/political committee organizations.  Before joining SCA, she held senior leadership positions with the Pew Charitable Trusts, National Wildlife Federation, and the League of Conservation Voters where her work included corporate law, organizational and board governance, enterprise risk assessment and management, contracts and litigation management, and campaign finance law, lobbying and ethics compliance. She is also an active champion for forging a more diverse conservation community, currently serving on the management board of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Diversity Joint Venture and Rachel’s Network’s Diversity Committee. Barbara serves on the boards of the Alliance for Justice and Rachel’s Network and participates in certain grantmaking decisions of the McIntosh Foundation. Barbara has chosen her work and civic activities to compliment her conservation values and is proud to work at SCA for the next generation of conservation leaders.

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.