Ne

Perot Museum of Nature and Science Appoints Colleen Walker As The Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer

The Board of Directors of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas today announced that it has appointed Colleen Walker as the Museum's Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer, effective June 1, 2014.  Ms. Walker joins the Museum from The Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, where she has served as CEO since 2007.  In this capacity and throughout her career, Ms. Walker has promoted a meaningful understanding of science and technology while enhancing organizational effectiveness.

Ms. Walker succeeds Nicole G. Small, the Museum's Founding CEO, who retired in late 2013 after thirteen years.

Carolyn Perot Rathjen, Chair of the Perot Museum Board of Directors, said, "After an exhaustive and comprehensive national search, the Board is thrilled to welcome Colleen as our Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer.  By virtue of her management acumen and lifelong passion for science, Colleen is a perfect fit for the Museum as we turn to building on our early success of inspiring minds through nature and science."

Ms. Perot Rathjen continued, "From earning an undergraduate degree in Architectural Engineering to her more recent efforts advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, Colleen's personal and professional life has been aligned around the very pillars that define our work at the Museum.  Moreover, her leadership with the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas affirms Colleen's keen understanding of the interplay between the corporate and philanthropic worlds.  While serving as CEO, she instilled a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, including advancement of the Girl Scout promise of outdoor leadership by analyzing six legacy camps and developing the strategy to transform four of the camps into unique Centers of Excellence.  This includes spearheading the development of Camp Whispering Cedars in South Dallas into a STEM Center of Excellence -- a 'living laboratory' for girl exploration in nature, science, and STEM careers of the future.

On behalf of the Board and our dedicated Museum Staff, we welcome Colleen and look forward to her many contributions." - Ms. Perot Rathjen concluded.

Ms. Walker added, "I am delighted and honored to serve as the Museum's CEO, and look ahead with energy and focus to advancing an understanding of – and respect for – the many ways in which nature and science can transform our lives.  Thanks to my predecessor Nicole's outstanding leadership, and a stellar and committed team, the Museum has quickly established itself as a national leader in this regard.  I assume my new responsibilities with a deep appreciation for the Museum's mission and a limitless view of the possibilities moving forward."    

Millie Bradley, Chair of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, also commented, "We are extremely grateful to Colleen for her leadership at Girl Scouts for the past seven years.  With her focus and priorities clearly on the development of young girls, she has been instrumental in creating a council recognized for its strengths in preparing young girls for leadership in the 21st century.  The Museum and Girl Scouts have enjoyed a long-standing partnership that will continue to mature, providing STEM activities and mentors to the girls of northeast Texas, and we are proud that Colleen will lead that work at the Museum."

As CEO of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, which includes 50,000 girl and adult members, Ms. Walker oversaw an annual operating budget of $15.1 million, an endowment investment portfolio of $2.5 million, and consolidated asset base of $20.9 million, including eight service centers, five camp properties, and 300 employees. 

Prior to her tenure at the Girl Scouts, Ms. Walker served as President and Executive Director of Education is Freedom, a public charity providing educational scholarships, counseling, and program services to underserved students, most of whom would be first in their family to attend college.  While there, she created new sponsorship programs that vastly improved fundraising commitments, implemented efforts focused on targeted schools, and elevated the organization's profile.  Earlier in her career, Ms. Walker was Founder and Executive Director of Engineers of Dreams, a non-profit organization promoting math and science literacy among 4th through 9th  grade students, especially young girls.  In this capacity, she developed and implemented an hour-long multi-media educational program, "Technology Today," to encourage the pursuit of STEM education.

Ms. Walker's career also includes private sector experience at Neiman Marcus and Energy Service Associates, Inc. in Boulder, CO.   

She earned a B.S. in Architectural Engineering in 1994 from The University of Colorado in Boulder, and an MBA from Harvard University in 2000.