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Meet the CEO

Energetic, engaging, dedicated. Since childhood, Brenda’s vision has always been to make the world a better place by improving the skills and mindsets of those she meets.

She has lived that vision with nearly 20 years of experience in the non-profit field and more than 15 years of experience in senior leadership roles.

With a track record of developing innovative initiatives and community outreach programs, Episcopo possesses a history of directing non-profit agencies with a focus on growth, engagement, and collaboration for the advancement of that agency.

Among her many talents are that of an influential problem solver, excellent public speaker, and motivational mentor. By implementing strategic approaches to time-tested business principles, she is able to leverage increased funding while winning engagement among employees, volunteers, and community stakeholders.

Brenda has a Masters of Science degree in Applied Sociology from the State University of New York. She is a graduate of an exclusive Executive Leadership Development Program.

Her extensive success has led to the honors of Salute to Outstanding Women, NYS Women Inc. Mohawk Valley Chapter Woman of the Year, Accent on Excellence, Follow the Leader, 40 Under 40 Awards, and installation to the Mount Markham Central School Hall of Fame.

Brenda is a year-round outdoor enthusiast and volunteers her time advocating for the protection of wildlife and wildlands. She has a grown son and lives in Albany, NY with her husband Matthew and black lab Rocky.

Q & A with Brenda

Q: Were you a Girl Scout as a child?

A: I was a Brownie, and my mom was our Troop Leader! I always admired the girls who continued onto Cadettes and Ambassadors and those who completed their Silver and Gold Awards; circumstances made that impossible for me. I have great memories of our troop meetings at the town hall in Bridgewater, N.Y. (just south of Utica) where I grew up and marching in parades.

Q: What drew you to Girl Scouts and this position?

A: With the times we’re in, there is nothing more important than inspiring girls to be all they can be in the future. It’s hard to be a girl in today’s world, especially with so many pressures and influences on them, yet there is also this call for more women in leadership positions.

In my previous role with United Way of New York State, I missed having a direct engagement with individual communities and a direct connection to the mission. I’m excited to use my skills and talents to empower girls. Also, I have a strong passion for the outdoors, and so I connect with the outdoor programming of Girl Scouts!

Q: What are your first priorities as you take on this role?

A: My first goal is to get to know everybody who makes this mission work, from staff to the board, the volunteers, and our supporters. I want to know, from their perspectives, what are our strengths and weaknesses so I can get a good picture from different viewpoints of what our priorities need to be moving forward.

Our outdoor properties are also more relevant than ever, especially due to COVID. I really want to promote the use of those spaces, not just for troops but within the community so that we can ultimately provide the best programming to girls.

Q: What’s your vision for GSNENY for the next three to five years?

A: My vision for the future, is to ensure access to all girls in Northeastern New York have access to our high-quality program to make the world a better place. I look forward to recovering and reimagining our service delivery that is girl-centered, and volunteer supported.

Q: What do you think girls gain by being a Girl Scout?

A: It really comes down to courage, confidence, and character. Too often girls are taught to doubt themselves and the ability to learn new skills and gain new experiences goes a long way to building their inner strength and power, giving them the ability to recognize their potential as individuals and stand up for what they believe in.

Girl Scouts provides continual opportunities and experiences that challenge girls and instills a belief in themselves. Through every badge they earn and every new interaction they have with others that belief is built little by little.

Q: What impact do you think role models have on girls? Do you think they look towards successful women to inspire them?

A: I don’t think girls look for role models intentionally, but seeing others succeed and learning from others does inspire them. The experiences they have with role models and mentors leaves an indelible mark and influences their character. My grandma was that person for me. I would not be the woman I am today without her. While I didn’t recognize the lessons she was teaching me as a kid, now as an adult, I look back and reflect on our conversations. She would always tell me that I could be anything I wanted to be as long as I worked towards my goals, and I have carried that with me throughout my career and my life. I am looking forward to carrying this message forward to the girls of GSNENY!