ISBA Member Elected as National President of Girl Scouts of the USA
Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) convened its 55th National Council Session (NCS) for the first time virtually for three days last month, Friday, October 23, through Monday, October 25.
Starting in 1915, and every few years since then, the Girl Scout Movement has engaged in its democratic process by bringing together delegates from every council across the nation and USA Girl Scouts Overseas to discuss, debate, and vote on issues important to the Girl Scout Movement and elect national leaders for the next triennium. This year, there were approximately 1,200 delegates, including several hundred girl members who represented their councils.
When COVID-19 required that the event be moved online for the safety of all participants, GSUSA seized the opportunity to invite all members to watch the organization’s democratic process live. Several thousand members joined to see their elected delegates represent them and discuss the important business on the agenda.
Delegates also elected the members of the National Board, including devoted Girl Scout alum, lifetime member, and adult volunteer Karen Layng as National President (also known as the Chair of the National Board of Directors). With her election, Layng became the highest-ranking volunteer member of GSUSA and joined a prestigious group of past National Presidents that extends back to the Movement's founder, Juliette Gordon Low.
Layng was a Girl Scout in her youth and went on to serve as a troop leader for her Gold Award Girl Scout daughter’s troop for 13 years. She has been awarded the Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II. She is also the former board chair of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
As National Board President, Layng will oversee the 30-member National Board of GSUSA, tasked with managing the organization's governance, legal, and fiduciary responsibilities. She is the founder and president of M.A.I.T. Co., a consulting firm focused on business strategy, construction, legal advisory services, and enterprise risk management. She is also an adjunct professor at Northwestern University’s Engineering Master’s in Executive Management for Design and Construction program, where she teaches courses in ethics, alternative dispute resolution, cybersecurity, and due diligence. She is the former chief strategy officer and general counsel of a national mechanical firm and a former partner and member of the board of the international law firm Vedder Price.
Layng succeeds Dr. Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, who served as National President for two trienniums, starting in 2014. Layng began her remarks during NCS by thanking Dr. Hannan for her undeniable commitment to the Movement and truly living the mantra, “it’s all about the girls.”
Layng’s term runs at least through the triennium ending in 2023. In addition to Layng’s election, the delegates also elected a new slate of National Board members. These individuals have the innovative spirit to propel the Girl Scout Movement forward during this critical time in the organization’s history and are ready to take on the important work ahead.