We are honored to be led by the following amazing and resourceful women.

Melanie Puorto Conte

Board Co-President
Melanie Puorto Conte has been a member of the WGGS Board of Directors since 2014 & serves as our Resource Developer. She is an adjunct professor at The Sage Graduate School, Division of Health Sciences, Forensic Mental Health Masters Program. Melanie is also active in The Schenectady Foundation Call To Action For Youth and Youth Advisory Council and she leads a “Life Worth Living” Group at New Choices Recovery Center. Melanie is a volunteer advocate for a number of trafficked women in the Capital Region.

Tanya Hull

Board Co-President
Tanya started with WGGS serving as a muse at Paige Elementary School and Central Park Middle School before joining the WGGS, and she has served on SCSD's Board of Education and is a member of the Adopted Not for Profit Committee with the Capital Region Chamber's Women's Council as well as an Eastern Star. She works as a real estate agent for RE/MAX.

Karen Draper

Board Vice President
Karen joined WGGS in 2005 and has been a Muse in several middle schools since Girls' Circles began. She also assists with Girls' Circles curriculum development & production of the Girls' Journals, Muse trainings & support, fundraising & event planning.

Laura LaFontaine

Program Coordinator
Laura has been a Muse since 2014. She also facilitates workshops for Girls Day Out.

Suzanne DeWald

Board Treasurer
Suzanne holds a B.A. in English Education as well as a Masters of Public Administration. She recently retired after 23 years as the Development Officer for the Schenectady City School District. Prior to her work with the District, Suzanne held leadership positions in public and non-profit organizations. Since retirement she has begun providing grant consulting services.

Mary Lynn Olbrych

Board Secretary
Mary Lynn retired from NYS after working over 35 years as a computer programmer and business analyst. After retirement she became a mentor in the Promises Program at the Boys and Girls Club of Schenectady. A couple of years ago Mary Lynn got involved with WGGS as a volunteer for Girls Day Out, the Celebration Dinner and serves on the Fundraising Committee.

Ebony Belmar

Program Coordinator of Girls' Day Out
Ebony has been with WGGS since 2005. She is deeply committed to the families of Schenectady & in program development. From her role as Program Coordinator of Girls' Day Out, she has also spearheaded the creation of Boys Day Out & Parents Day Out. She continues to function as a liaison between WGGS & the Schenectady City School District. She is a social worker at Mont Pleasant MS.

Miranda Rand

League of Women Voters
Miranda has been a passionate supporter of WGGS for more than five years. She served as lead muse at Jessie Zoller Elementary for three consecutive years and now acts as Muse Recruitment Coordinator.

Jane Baldauf

High School Muse

Kerrie Wolf-Piechota

Kerrie first joined WGGS as a muse during the 2015-16 school year. She serves on several boards and committees in the area. She also volunteers with Community Hospice's Camp Erin and Wave Riders programs, at her church, and in a number of other organizations. Kerrie currently works in development and communications at the YWCA NorthEastern NY.   

Pam Carter

Pam was a previous Muse at Central Park Middle School, and for the past two years she has been a Muse at Oneida Middle School. She will transition to Schenectady High School as a Muse to maintain a connection with her Oneida girls. Pam is active at her church and in the community. She volunteers with the SICM Food Pantry, serves as a Board Member with Safe Inc. of Schenectady County and with the YWCA in Schenectady.

Lakeia Allen Bowman

Board Member
Lakeia served as a Muse at Central Park Middle School and currently works as a mental health counselor for SEAT (Social Enterprise and Training for 16-24 year old out-of-school youth). Lakeia grew up in Schenectady, and her dad was Schenectady City Councilman Joe Allen.

Simone Miranda

Board Member
Simone Miranda is the Community Learning Center Project Manager at Schenectady City School District (SCSD), where she manages the 21st Century Program. Her goal is to inspire students in the afterschool program to become leaders of the future. She was recently accepted in the 2019-2020 cohort of the Network for Youth Success Power of 3:00 Ambassadors and serves on other Boards in Schenectady County. She currently holds a M.S. degree in Public Administration, B.S. degree in Public Policy and an A.S. degree in Computer Programming.

Mary Cowans

Board Member
Prior to retirement, Mary served 30 years in public health nutrition while assisting in the management and administration of the NYS Department of Health, Division of Nutrition. She served as Board President and Orchestra Manager of the Saratoga Springs Youth Orchestra; and continues as an ongoing member of the SEFCU Board of Directors currently participating on the Community Service committee. Mary is actively working to improve her golf game as a member of the Capital Region LPGA Amateur League, continuing to explore a lifelong love of music and service through participation in the Calvary United Methodist church.