Our 2019 Annual Meeting took place at Chewonki on May 17 and 18, and among the items on the agenda were appointments to the board of trustees and the board of advisors. Trustees and advisors play an essential role in shaping Chewonki. They use their skills and wisdom to guide us toward more effectively meeting the Chewonki mission.
We are grateful for all that Kate Wilkinson (an outgoing member of the board of advisors) and Birgit Townley (outgoing member of the board of trustees), have given to Chewonki. A huge thank-you to both of them.
Kate Wilkinson retired from the board of advisors. She has given 17 years of service to Chewonki as a trustee (2001-2013), advisor (2013-2019), and staff member. Kate came to work at Chewonki in the summer of 1978. She continued to work at Boys Camp and lead family and cabin trips through 1982, along with working in the garden, on the farm, and in the office. Since then she’s been part of the regular crew who travels on the famed Gordy Hall (the man, not the cabin bearing his name) expeditions. She was an early supporter of girls at Chewonki, serving on the advisory committee for Chewonki’s Canoe Expedition for Maine Girls and hosting regional events to support Girls Camp scholarships. She has been the foundation treasurer and chair of the Committee on Trustees and Advisors. Her mother, Jean, is an honorary trustee.
Birgit Townley retired from the board of trustees. She first became involved with Chewonki when she sent her eldest son, Hendrik (Henry), to Boys Camp in 2007. From 2007 to 2016, one or more of her children, Hendrik, David, and Charlotte, spent the summer here as a camper or a Wilderness Trips participant (there was a brief hiatus in 2014 when no Townley was at Chewonki). Birgit joined the board as an advisor in 2013 and became a trustee in 2016. She served as a member of the Girls Camp Task Force and a member of the standing committees for advancement and finance. Her husband, Dan Townley, is an incoming trustee.
We also look forward to working with these old friends in new roles:
Sam Buttrick has moved from the board of trustees to the board of advisors. Sam came to Chewonki in 1970 and became a lifelong birder after three summers at Boys Camp and a Chewonki Wilderness Trip on Salisbury Island in Nova Scotia. Sam holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and an A.B. in Slavic languages from Stanford University. He was a camp parent for six years, and his step-children and nephew also came to Camp Chewonki. His mother, Susie, preceded him on the board. Sam joined the Boys Camp Advisory Committee and then became a trustee in 2004. He has been a member of the Finance Committee and the Investment Management Subcommittee. It’s thanks to Sam that campers who love birding can earn a set of binoculars, something they will treasure for a lifetime.
Charles B. Gordy II has moved from the board of trustees to the board of advisors. Charlie came to Boys Camp in 1969. After three years of camp, he did three years of Chewonki Wilderness Trips (Umbagog, Thoreau Wilderness Trip, and Mistassini) in the mid 1970s. He returned as a staff member in 1988 and 1989. From 1989-1991, he served as Chewonki’s first development director. He was back as camp staff again in 1992 and 1993. In 2003, he became a Foundation Advisor, a role he filled until becoming a trustee in 2013. He has been active on the Committee on Trustees and Advisors, the Advancement Committee, the Executive Committee, and the Capital Campaign Planning Task Force. In 2011, his daughter Abby came to Vacation Camp, and in 2012, his daughter Claire spent a summer at Girls Camp. Claire returned in 2015 to be part of our Sustainable Ocean Studies program.
Elizabeth Mygatt has moved from the board of advisors to the board of trustees. She is an associate partner in McKinsey & Company’s Boston office and a leader in the organization practice. She has wide experience in healthcare and other sectors, on topics including organizational and performance transformations, organizational health and culture change, non-clinical functional excellence, leadership, and governance and decision rights. Her recent work focuses on organizational effectiveness, organizational design, increased collaboration across functions, and leadership and capability building. Liz was previously a consultant with an environmental strategy firm, focusing on energy and carbon management, water management, and communications. She holds an M.B.A. from Cornell University and a B.A. from Williams College. She grew up frolicking in the New Hampshire mountains and coastal Rhode Island and Maine. She is an alumna of Maine Coast Semester 20 and says that during her semester, she learned a great deal about community, showing up as her authentic self, and squirrels. In a former lifetime she was an elite rower but has transitioned to competing in an occasional marathon or triathlon.
In addition, we are excited to welcome one new trustee and two new advisors:
Danforth Townley is a new member of the board of trustees. Dan lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and Rye, New York, and is the general counsel of Bracebridge Capital, an investment firm he joined in 2017. In this capacity, he leads the legal team at Bracebridge in its day-to-day responsibilities and provides strategic legal counsel regarding firm initiatives. Dan was a partner for almost 20 years with Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City, advising private fund sponsors regarding the structuring and offering of funds, ongoing operations and mergers and acquisitions, and regulatory compliance. He then served from 2013-2017 as an attorney fellow in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Investment Management, where he provided leadership on the commission’s rulemaking activities as well as policy advice on asset management initiatives. Dan graduated from Yale College with a B.A. in history and received his J.D. from Yale Law School.
Dan and his wife, Birgit, who just resigned from the board of trustees, have two sons and a daughter (ages 23, 21, and 18), each of whom has been a Chewonki camper and wilderness tripper. Dan enjoys hiking, gardening, singing, traveling, and a variety of sports (including golf and table tennis). He has been active in his community as a member of the board of the Rye Presbyterian Church and as a Rye Youth Soccer coach for his daughter’s team.
Darron Collins is a new member of the board of advisors. Darron is a 1992 graduate of College of the Atlantic (COA) and in July 2011 became the college’s seventh president and the first alumnus to hold that position. Over the past eight years, Collins has helped make COA one of the country’s most successful, innovative, and financially stable schools dedicated to the environment.
Prior to coming back to COA, Collins enjoyed a decade managing international and domestic conservation projects at World Wildlife Fund (WWF). After four years of work in the Amazon Basin, he was asked to lead the organization’s strategic planning process. Then, during the latter half of his career at WWF, Darron served as managing director for the Amur-Heilong Ecoregion—an area the size of Alaska, encompassing parts of Russia, Mongolia, and China—and as senior advisor to the organization’s CEO.
Collins holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Tulane University. His doctoral research and academic work are based on the ethnobotany of the Q’eqchi’-Maya in northern Guatemala. He has also conducted investigative reporting of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, worked on leopard conservation on the Russia-North Korea border, and has written, produced, and directed the award-winning documentary “Amur River Basin: Sanctuary for the Mighty Taimen.” As a COA student, he received both the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship–a competitive, national award given to outstanding student work in the sciences–and the Watson Foundation Fellowship, funding a year of travel outside the United States. Fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and Q’eqchi’-Maya, Collins has numerous publications to his name, both in scientific journals and popular media.
A native of Morris Plains, New Jersey, Collins is an avid trail and ultra-runner, fly fisherman, cyclist, hiker, and photographer/videographer. In summer 2015, Collins climbed 40 peaks on Mount Desert Island in one 27-hour expedition. In 2021, he will attempt his first 100-mile ultramarathon. He is a Fellow National of the New York Explorers Club, a board member of the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters, and serves on the Science Advisory Committee of the Schoodic Institute. He lives in Bar Harbor with his wife, Karen, their daughters, Maggie and Molly, and their Lab, Lucy.
Sophia Shaw is a new member of the board of advisors. She is co-founder and managing partner of Acorn Advisors LLC and adjunct professor of social impact at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. She teaches board governance and directs Kellogg Board Fellows, a rigorous program that connects top Kellogg MBA students to Chicago-area nonprofits for an opportunity to learn and give through board service. From 2007–2016, Sophia served as president and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden, among the largest cultural institutions in the Midwest and one of the preeminent botanic gardens of the world. Under her guidance, the 385-acre campus experienced a 52 percent increase in attendance as well as record-breaking fundraising (nearly $240 million) and operating budget results. The garden also became recognized as a global model for environmental conservation, urban agriculture, and horticulture jobs training and education, emphasizing programs for diverse and underserved communities in partnership with a wide variety of corporations, schools, healthcare centers, organizations, and government agencies. In recognition of her team’s work at the garden, in 2016 Sophia was awarded the Openlands Conservation Leadership Award. Prior to leading the Chicago Botanic Garden, Sophia served as vice president of exhibitions and education at The Field Museum and worked in curatorial roles at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Throughout her career, Sophia has made board service a priority. She brings her skills in governance, strategy, enterprise risk management, master site planning, construction, and nonprofit finance to her current roles as trustee at the Art Institute of Chicago and advisory board member at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution), where she also serves on the executive and nominating committees and chairs the public engagement committee. She sits on the arts and culture membership committee of the Chicago Network. She is a past board president of the Arts Club of Chicago and has served on the executive committees of the Commercial Club of Chicago and the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).
Sophia holds both a B.A. from Wellesley College and an M.A. from the University of Chicago in art history, and an M.B.A. in finance from the Kellogg School of Management. Her sons, Nathan and Jonah Siskel, are both Boys Camp alumni and this summer will be heading off on two different Wilderness Trips.