Scouting out ambitious plans with new North Texas CEO

Danielle Abril
Staff Writer-Dallas Business Journal

Jennifer Bartkowski celebrated her five-year mark at the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas by taking the largest bite of the cookie she could.

On May 12, she accepted the CEO job at the Dallas-based nonprofit that serves 33,000 girls in 32 counties. Bartkowski, 43, the former executive vice president and chief operating officer, replaces Colleen Walker, who will fill the CEO role at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science on June 1.
What have been your biggest accomplishments at the Girl Scouts?
When I started in 2009, I was able to build a strategy to raise additional public dollars for the Girl Scouts. Over the course of five years, the annual campaign has grown by 46 percent.
We’re almost at $2 million annually. We were able to launch a $13 million capital campaign, the very first capital campaign in 15 years and the largest one in our history. All of that led us to being able to celebrate our 100th anniversary (in 2012) in a really big way with the largest 100th anniversary celebration in the country. About 145,000 people came through our Girl Scouts exhibit (at the State Fair of Texas).
What are your priorities in your new role? 
The first is the launch of our STEM Center of Excellence down in South Dallas, which is a $13 million investment. It’s about transforming our 100-acre camp that’s 20 miles south of downtown Dallas into a living laboratory for girls to explore science, tech, engineering and math. The second priority we have is around growth. We want to serve more girls in our community
How will you take advantage of former CEO Colleen Walker’s new post at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science?
It’s truly a win-win. We have science, technology and math curriculum, but to make that curriculum come alive. We have to partner with organizations that are experts in STEM. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is the best example of that in the community. We do overnight workshops for our fourth and fifth graders around energy at the Perot museum, and the Perot is helping us develop volunteer curriculum.
What are some of the things you plan to introduce?
We have 5,000 volunteers in Northeast Texas. We are introducing the volunteer relationship management digital platform this summer. We’re one of the first pilots across the country to do this. The technology will allow us to provide customized information to our volunteers when they need it.
Favorite Girl Scout cookie: Samoas.
Hobbies: Running and spending time with family.
Family: Tom, husband; Luke, 13, son; Elissa, 10, daughter.
Random fact: Bartkowski and her husband both graduated from Texas A&M and are Aggie fanatics

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