New Board Members include Debbie Dorsett, Jerry Jacobs, Jim Lyons, Kionne McGhee, Jennifer Palmieri, Karen Pittman, and David Vela
WASHINGTON, DC – The Corps Network’s Board of Directors is pleased to welcome seven new Board members: Debbie Dorsett, Executive Director, Greater Miami Service Corps; Jerry Jacobs, Jr., CEO, Delaware North; Jim Lyons, Consultant, Natural Resource Policy, Conservation, Climate Issues; Kionne McGhee, Miami-Dade County Commissioner; Jennifer Palmieri, Political and Communications Strategist; Karen Pittman, Co-Founder of the Forum for Youth Investment; and David Vela, Former Deputy Director of the National Park Service.
The Corps Network’s Board of Directors is responsible for helping govern The Corps Network, providing oversight of the organization’s finances, strategy, and important personnel decisions. The Board meets regularly throughout the year as a full body and in committees, providing guidance and support to The Corps Network’s leadership team and staff. Each new Board member represents a different relevant sector to the Corps movement and brings valuable expertise, experience, and connections.
“Our new Board members represent an exciting and knowledgeable addition to The Corps Network’s governing team. Their depth of experience, passion for helping youth and young adults, and diverse backgrounds are sure to bring new ideas and connections to the Corps world,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network. “On behalf of the Board and staff of The Corps Network, I thank each of them for offering their time and wisdom. The Corps community is strengthened by the leadership of individuals like our new Board members. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work with them.”
About the New Board Members
Debbie Dorsett and Jerry Jacobs Jr. joined the Board of Directors in 2022. The other new members joined as the 2023 cohort.
Debbie Dorsett is the Executive Director of Greater Miami Service Corps. Her primary areas of concentration include grant development and implementation; contract management and monitoring; personnel management; budget development; design and implementation of education, job training activities and coordination of social services. Over more than 30 years in public administration, Ms. Dorsett has served as a former Chairperson of The Corps Network’s Board of Directors and is now on the Corps Council. She also previously served as Vice President and Treasurer of Unity of Miami Gardens Church; and President and Vice President, Fountain Park Village Homes Association. In addition to The Corps Network’s Board, Ms. Dorsett serves as Assistant Treasurer of the Women’s Involved in Service to Humanity (WISH) Foundation; Vice Chairman of NieCat Foundation of Excellence, Inc.; Vice President of the Florida YouthBuild Coalition; and Chair of the Risk Management Committee of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter.
Jerry Jacobs, Jr.
Jerry Jacobs, Jr. is the CEO of Delaware North, a family-owned concessioner, with operations in food and retail at airports and sports venues, hospitality services at parks and major tourist attractions, hotel ownership and management, gaming operations, fine dining and catering, and sports facility ownership and management. Jerry Jacobs serves on the board of Say Yes Buffalo, an organization dedicated to increasing high school and postsecondary completion rates for students in the City of Buffalo. He has dedicated over two decades of volunteer service to the United Way including serving on the board. He is also an active member of the U.S. Travel Associates CEO Roundtable and the Partnership for New York City.
Jim Lyons is a consultant specializing in Natural Resource Policy, Conservation, and Climate Issues. He began his career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and then served as Policy Director for the Society of American Foresters. Jim was chosen by President Clinton to serve as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, where he oversaw the Forest Service and the new Natural Resources Conservation Service. Jim was Interior Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Management in the Obama administration with conservation efforts on public lands including using solar and wind energy and combating rangeland fires. Jim has also been a Lecturer and Research Scholar at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (now School of the Environment) and recognized as a distinguished alum by Yale.
Kionne McGhee is a Miami-Dade County Commissioner. He was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2012 for Florida House District 117 and served as the Minority Leader from 2018 to 2020, when he was elected as Miami-Dade County Commissioner for District 9. Commissioner McGhee is an accomplished attorney and the author of the bestselling-book Conquering Hope: The Life You Were Destined to Live. His numerous affiliations include the Florida Trial Lawyers Association, Wilkie D. Ferguson Bar Association, and the Greater Miami Service Corps, where he serves as a board member. He is also President and founder of 2NOIT Media & Publishing, founder of Y.A.L.E. (Young Advocates Leading by Example), and president of Transitions, Inc.
Jennifer Palmieri is a Political and Communications Strategist and a co-host of Showtime’s Emmy-nominated “The Circus.” Jennifer served as White House Communications Director during the Obama administration and was Head of Communications for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Previously she served as White House deputy press secretary for President Bill Clinton and as President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the advocacy arm for a premier progressive think tank. Jennifer is also the author of Number 1 New York Times bestselling book Dear Madam President, and She Proclaims: Our Declaration of Independence from a Man’s World.
Karen Pittman is the Co-Founder of the Forum for Youth Investment and served as its President & CEO until February 2021. Karen has made a career in promoting youth development. She began her career at the Urban Institute, conducting studies on social services for children and families. She served as a vice president at the Academy for Educational Development in 1990, and in 1995 joined the Clinton administration as director of the President’s Crime Prevention Council. Afterward she became a part of the executive team of the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and helped the organization strengthen its program content and develop an evaluation strategy. She launched the Forum for Youth Investment after a leave in 1998; it later became a separate entity from IYF. The Forum works as a national nonprofit, nonpartisan “action tank” committed to changing the odds that all children and youth are ready for college, work, and life.
David Vela is the former Deputy Director of the National Park Service (NPS). Before being named Deputy Director in September 2019, Vela had a 29-year career with the National Park Service. Vela held several positions including as superintendent of Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, and as Associate Director for Workforce, Relevancy, and Inclusion in the NPS Washington Office. He began his career with NPS in 1981 as a cooperative education student at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in Texas and then a permanent park ranger. While serving as Associate Director for Workforce, Relevancy and Inclusion, Vela administered a $32 million operational budget with 153 employees and served as a key advisor to the NPS Director and Deputy Director on the full spectrum of strategic Human Capital Management issues, initiatives, and policies. Vela retired as Deputy Director of the National Park Service in September 2019.
About The Corps Network’s Governance
The Corps Network is governed by a Board of Directors and the Corps Council. The Board of Directors is comprised of professionals with expertise relevant to the Corps community. Board members are invited to join after being recommended by the Board Development Committee and voted upon by the Board. The Board Officers include the Chair, Co Vice-Chairs, Treasurer and Secretary. Officers are elected by fellow Board members. Officer positions last for one year, upon which time the position can be renewed. Board positions last for three years, upon which time Board members may be invited to serve a second term. Information on members of The Corps Network’s Board of Directors can be found here.
The Corps Council, comprised of leadership and senior employees from The Corps Network’s membership of 150 Corps, serves as the voice of member programs. At any given time, up to one-third of the Board of Directors’ membership is comprised of representatives from the Corps Council. Members of the Council act as key advisors to the Board of Directors and The Corps Network.
The Corps Network
The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, provides leadership and support to 150 Corps across the United States. Through advocacy and providing Corps access to funding opportunities and expert guidance, The Corps Network annually enables more than 20,000 Corpsmembers to strengthen communities, improve the environment and transform their lives through service
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