girls 385x175

Board of Directors

As of March 2013

Executive Committee

Clifford A. Knesel, Jr., Board Chair -2012 – 2014

Cliff PhotoCliff has nearly 30 years of experience at all organizational levels. He has worked extensively within the private sector and possesses a comprehensive background in management and leadership. Past employers include Exxon Minerals Company and Peabody Energy’s Powder River Coal Company, which is one of the largest and most productive coal operations in the country. Cliff’s most recent assignment was Vice President and Director of Safety, Training, and Employee Relations with Powder River Coal Company. His daughter and business partner, Melissa Noah, earned her Gold Award. Cliff lives in Gillette, WY.

line w trefoil - grey

Executive Committee

Al Parisian, Vice Chair 2013-2015

Al photo

Al Parisian, CIO, joined Montana State Fund (where he is also responsible for strategic planning) in March 2005.  He came to Montana after a successful 26-year career with Verizon/GTE where he had policy responsibilities in Washington D.C. (communications, IT, industry structure) and spent twelve years as a GM starting and running multi-state IT companies marketing to businesses and consumers.  He also ran small (<$5M) and medium (<$100M) scale venture capital funds.

Two of his many assignments with Verizon happened to be in Florida, providing Mr. Parisian with an opportunity to participate with a major children’s non-profit, the Guardian Ad Litem.  After serving in other capacities, he became Chairman of the Board of this organization until his transfer to Texas.

Al and his wife, Linda, live north of Helena, MT.  Al was born and raised in a U.S. Air Force family and has a MBA from Santa Clara University with emphasis in Finance and Information Technology.

line w trefoil - grey

Executive Committee

Kevan Bryan, Treasurer, 2013-2015

Kevan Bryan is a CPA who currently holds the position of CFO for Pierce Companies.  A  Billings based enterprise, Pierce is a diverse group of entities involved in residential and commercial flooring, RV sales, modular/manufactured housing sales, leasing of storage containers and mobile offices, and real estate development and holdings.

Prior to this employment, he served as Yellowstone County Treasurer for six years, gaining recognition statewide for his innovative customer service approach to local government.  Outside of his work at Pierce, he and his wife own a small machining and welding facility in Billings, and have been active in the buying and rehabilitation of real estate.

Kevan currently serves on the Associated Employers of Montana Insurance Board, and has previously held board positions with the MSU-B Alumni Association and Family Service, Inc., among others.  He has served in volunteer capacities with United Way, American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts, and with his church.

line w trefoil - grey

Executive Committee

Beth Hill, Secretary, 2012-2014

Beth Hill photo

Beth was President of Big Sky Council from 2004-2006, on the board prior to that as an officer and member-at-large. She was also a member of the Council Realignment Committee before joining the GSMW Board. She was a girl member, council trainer, leader, service unit manager, and chair of many committees. She is also active in the Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon Society.  Beth is veterinarian and partner/owner is the Westside Animal Clinic in Great Falls, MT.

line w trefoil - grey

Board Members at Large

Marilee Duncan, Board Member

2013-2015

MD sq

Mary E. (“Marilee”) Duncan is a 45-year member of Girl Scouts and previously served on the board of Treasure Trails G.S. Council.  She has been a troop leader for the last 13 years, organized Junior Encampment, Career Quest, Senior Conference, and countless other events both as a girl member and as an adult.  She is also a musician and teaches international folk dancing.

Marilee is an attorney with Felt, Martin, Frazier & Weldon, P.C., practicing primarily in the areas of employment law, school law, civil litigation, insurance defense, banking, and health care law.  She also teaches as an adjunct professor at Rocky Mountain College in the master’s degree program in Education Leadership.

Ms. Duncan is a Billings, Montana native and earned her B.A. from the University of Wyoming in 1983.  She earned her J.D. from the University of Montana in 1987 where she was named the Outstanding Law Student and received the American Judicature Society Service Award.

Ms. Duncan is a member of the Ethics Committee and the School Law Section of the State Bar of Montana, the Montana Defense Trial Lawyers Association, and the ABA Sections on Tort and Insurance Practice, State and Local Government Law, and Labor and Employment.

 

Board Members at Large

Margaret Johnson-Ayres

Board Member

2013-2015

For her contributions to her community and individuals impacted, Margaret received the 2010 Woman of Distinction Award. She has served as a Board Member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and has contributed in other volunteer capacities with Growth Thru Art, Court Appointed Special Advocacy (CASA), and Self-Help Center.   Margaret was raised in Helena, Montana.   After her marriage to Scott Ayres, she sold her jewelry businesses in Billings and relocated to Casper, Wyoming to work in the family business, which has been established for 80 years.  Her grandchildren are participating in Girl Scouts, and Margaret enjoys being a part of their experience.

 

Board Members at Large

Wendy J. Keating

Board Member

2012-2014

Wendy Keating is the former Commissioner of Labor and Director of the Department of Labor and Industry for the state of Montana. She spent over 35 years working with the state and Federal programs in the employment and training field.

Wendy has been recognized at the state and national level as a leader of change and a strong visionary in workforce development. She is the recipient of two international awards for her work in organizational culture change, as well as numerous local, state and national awards for development of business-driven initiatives that now serve as a model for the national labor-exchange system.

Keating has extensive experience in working with non-profit and community organizations. She is especially interested in activities that promote education and opportunities for women. She is a past chair of Dress for Success-Billings, P.E.O., (a philanthropic and educational organization that supports scholarships for women) and the Billings Zonta Club.

Wendy is a native of Billings, and an alumni of both Billings Senior High and MSU-Billing, where she also did her post graduate studies in Vocational Counseling. She is a grandmother and great-grandmother, a watercolorist, and carries a deep passion for her cabin in the Beartooth Mountains. Keating is a former Brownie and Girl Scout.

 

Board Members at Large

Nancy MacCracken

Board Member

2012-2014

Nancy served as Secretary on the GSMW and Treasure Trails boards, and she has served as a Brownie Leader in the Livingston Service Unit. She joined the GSMW Board in 2008. Attorney and Senior Law Clerk for the Sixth Judicial District Court, Nancy has served with the Boy Scouts and the Livingston Junior Women’s Club. She lives in Clyde Park, near Livingston, MT.

Board Members at Large

Anne Marken

Board Member

2012-2014 

Anne Marken is a teacher with the Natrona County School District. She was a Girl Scout member at the Brownie, Junior, Cadette, Senior, Mariner, and Campus levels. In addition, Anne served as a leader for Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette, and Senior troops from 1988-2002. She served as Board Member-at-Large and as the first Vice President on the Girl Scout Council of Wyoming from 2004 – 2008, as well as on the Council Realignment Committee. Anne has volunteered with the 1st United Methodist Church youth group in Casper, WY, and served on numerous committees with Natrona County schools.

 

Board Members at Large

Claudia Perkins

Board Member

2012-2014

Claudia became a Girl Scout leader when her daughter entered Girl Scouting as a Brownie. Claudia found Girl Scouting helped her daughter to grow in ways other than just school, and finds Girl Scouting an important organization for today’s girls. She is interested in fund development and providing girls opportunities only Girl Scouting can provide.  Claudia is a retired comptroller with Excal in Casper.

 

Board Members at Large

Diane Ruff

Board Member

2013-2015

Diane Ruff recently retired after 24 years as President of Associated Employers, a regional human resource organization.  For many years while in this capacity, she also served concurrently as Executive Director for the Downtown Billings Association.  In these positions, she gained extensive knowledge of not-for-profit and membership organizations.  Previous experience also includes healthcare, the oil and gas industry and Kampgrounds of America.

Throughout her career, Ruff served on numerous local and State Job Service committees, as well as committees with the Billings Area Chamber of Commerce.  She also served on the Board of Directors for the national Employer Associations of America.

Born in Riverton, Wyoming and raised in Billings, Montana, she graduated from Billings Senior High and attended Eastern Montana College (now MSU-Billings) where she studied accounting.  As a young girl she was a Brownie Scout and is now a proud grandmother of two granddaughters.

 

Board Members at Large

Jill Wright

Board Member

2013-2015

Jill Wright is a second generation Wyoming Native and has taught health class to eighth graders for 13 years. She’s currently employed with the Natrona County School District in Casper and holds a degree in Leadership and Human Development. Jill was a committee member in 2008 – 2009 for the Public Health “Real Aids Prevention Project.” She believes that when given encouragement and opportunity, girls achieve wonderful things.

 

line w trefoil - grey

 

Board Development Committee

Marilee Duncan

Board Member

2012-2015

Mary E. (“Marilee”) Duncan is a 45-year member of Girl Scouts and previously served on the board of Treasure Trails G.S. Council.  She has been a troop leader for the last 13 years, organized Junior Encampment, Career Quest, Senior Conference, and countless other events both as a girl member and as an adult.  She is also a musician and teaches international folk dancing.

Marilee is an attorney with Felt, Martin, Frazier & Weldon, P.C., practicing primarily in the areas of employment law, school law, civil litigation, insurance defense, banking, and health care law.  She also teaches as an adjunct professor at Rocky Mountain College in the master’s degree program in Education Leadership.

Ms. Duncan is a Billings, Montana native and earned her B.A. from the University of Wyoming in 1983.  She earned her J.D. from the University of Montana in 1987 where she was named the Outstanding Law Student and received the American Judicature Society Service Award.

Ms. Duncan is a member of the Ethics Committee and the School Law Section of the State Bar of Montana, the Montana Defense Trial Lawyers Association, and the ABA Sections on Tort and Insurance Practice, State and Local Government Law, and Labor and Employment.

 

Board Development Committee

Wendy J. Keating

Board Member

2013-2016

Wendy Keating is the former Commissioner of Labor and Director of the Department of Labor and Industry for the state of Montana. She spent over 35 years working with the state and Federal programs in the employment and training field.

Wendy has been recognized at the state and national level as a leader of change and a strong visionary in workforce development. She is the recipient of two international awards for her work in organizational culture change, as well as numerous local, state and national awards for development of business-driven initiatives that now serve as a model for the national labor-exchange system.

Keating has extensive experience in working with non-profit and community organizations. She is especially interested in activities that promote education and opportunities for women. She is a past chair of Dress for Success-Billings, P.E.O., (a philanthropic and educational organization that supports scholarships for women) and the Billings Zonta Club.

Wendy is a native of Billings, and an alumni of both Billings Senior High and MSU-Billing, where she also did her post graduate studies in Vocational Counseling. She is a grandmother and great-grandmother, a watercolorist, and carries a deep passion for her cabin in the Beartooth Mountains. Keating is a former Brownie and Girl Scout.

 

Board Development Committee

Suzanne McKeirnan

Non-Board Member

2013-2016

Suzanne is currently the Development Associate at the Billings Community Foundation.  Previously, she was Development Director for the YWCA of Billings.  She has served on 2 different school Boards and, also, on Boards for BikeNet and the Volunteer Center of United Way in Billings and founded the Blue Creek Elementary School Foundation.

Suzanne’s background includes a history of Girl Scout work, from Brownie leader to Board President and later, a national volunteer for Girl Scouts USA.

She recently co-chaired  the successful campaign to build a new library in Billings and is chairing that Grand Opening scheduled in February, 2014.