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Red Kayak Institute has assembled a dynamic team of individuals committed to furthering the mission of the organization.

Red Kayak Institute Team

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Mary Anne Smrz, Founder & Chair

Mary Anne Smrz, Founder & Chair

Ms. Smrz is a published author and an avid kayaker who uses insights gained on the water to enrich her own life and the lives of others. In her vocation, Ms. Smrz is a Certified Financial Planner™ who helps clients find meaning beyond money by identifying and clarifying their beliefs and values. Prior to career as a financial advisor, she owned her own business for 12 years. In her avocation as a photo journalist, Ms. Smrz shares her thoughts and musings while kayaking, taking others on an insightful journey. Mary Anne holds a B.S. in Physical Education from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a M.S. in Sport Management from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.

Ann Moss, Director

Ann Moss, Director

Ann has over 25 years of experience in advertising, creative and marketing in B2B and B2C. She was the creator of Hollingsworth Moss, Inc., a highly successful creative advertising and marketing firm that specialized in branding, event production, corporate identity, design and marketing. Ann is currently the Creative Director for International Cruise and Excursions in Arizona. Ann has won several creative awards ranging from a Chicago Addy Award to an Adrian Award Bronze Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association.

Dee Beckman, Director

Dee Beckmann, Director

Ms. Beckmann has a B.S. degree from the University of South Carolina and brings 18 years of experience as an educator to the Red Kayak Institute. She has held the position of Treasurer of the Milford Public Schools PTA and has been involved with the nonprofit Girls on the Run serving as an event manager and fundraiser. Her greatest joy has been raising her two sons. Ms. Beckmann is an avid outdoor enthusiast and has had the pleasure of helping a friend guide women’s adventure tours around the world.

Josette Songco, Secretary

Josette Songco, Secretary

Ms. Songco brings 40 years of marketing and project management experience to the Red Kayak Institute board of directors. She worked for Sears, owned her own marketing firm for more than 20 years and is currently employed in a project management role with an IT company serving the education sector. Ms. Songco also brings several years of volunteer experience as a counselor of women in crisis.

Colleen Thomas, Treasurer

Colleen Thomas, Treasurer

Ms. Thomas brings more than 30 years of experience on community and nonprofit boards, as owner of an education business, and as the hearing officer for the local school district to the Red Kayak Institute. A graduate of Allegheny College and the Paralegal program at Arizona State University, Ms. Thomas has honed her skills in management, decision making, and concern for others during the last 42 years in Mesa, Arizona.

Vice Chair

Position: OPEN

STAFF

Josette Szalko

Josette Szalko, Executive Director

Josette brings 20 years of association and nonprofit management experience to the Red Kayak Institute. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Josette honed her management and fundraising skills at some of Chicago’s most prestigious nonprofit organizations including The Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo, the Museum of Science and Industry and The Radiological Society of North America. Travel, golf, family time and any outdoor endeavor keep her a happy person.