Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) is a master of our own best practices. We thrive on delivering vibrant and innovative learning opportunities for our students through the commitment of many dedicated stakeholders. ECS also continues to think about what growth looks like for our students and the organization. With the support of our Board of Directors, we are on the road to a bright future. A valued member of ECS’ Board of Directors, Denise Berger has truly helped ECS by offering her own expertise and network of support.
Denise loves meeting fascinating people. What drew her to ECS in 2013 were the people she connected with and the passion for the organization’s mission each of them embodied. Current Board Chair, Ken Deemer, introduced Denise to ECS, knowing she could provide support during ECS’ strategic planning process. Denise quickly fell in love with the people and the work, and soon signed on as a Board Member.
“Alison [Executive Director and Founder of ECS] is a business-minded person focused on providing the best education for the students. That is an incredibly hard job to fill. The synergy of the Board Members is so magnetic. I just couldn’t keep away from such a group of smart people.”
-Denise Berger, Board Member
Denise served as a Managing Director at Aon Risk Services, where she ran a group of offices that handled overseas needs of Fortune 500 corporations. During her tenure with the company, she ran the Women’s International Network and participated in EXCELerate, an 18-month professional development program with fifty other women leaders at her firm. For Denise, this experience was a huge gift because it allowed her to learn so much. During that time, she also wanted to expand her experience and skills beyond her own industry. She noticed that all the mentors responsible for the professional development of her EXCELerate cohort had doctorate degrees, which sparked her interest in exploring doctoral programs. After much success at Aon, Denise returned to Pepperdine University to pursue a Doctorate in Education. She was attracted to the Organizational Leadership program for its strong focus on the development of women as leaders, achieving a work-life balance, the value of service leadership and global issues – all areas she feels passionately about as well!
Currently, Denise’s work life is “much less structured, almost chaotic, but glorious at the same time,” as she describes it. She is challenged to step outside of her comfort zone on a daily basis through her work consulting with for-profit organizations, non-profit organizations, entrepreneurs and individual employees. She especially loves when the discussions gravitate towards organizational culture and values. Denise feels strongly that culture and values underpin everything about an organization’s success (or failures). In the fall of 2015, Denise will be teaching Leadership and Service as part of the Social Entrepreneurship and Change Master’s program at Pepperdine University. She is excited (and nervous) to see what kind of impact she will have in the classroom.
“Prior to becoming a board member, Denise volunteered to facilitate our strategic planning process. Her strategic leadership helped us engineer a living plan; one that has become our North Star and has helped us stay the course as a team!”
-Alison Diaz, Executive Director and Founder of ECS
ECS is honored to have Denise’s leadership on our Board of Directors. Most recently, Denise introduced us to Dogeared, who has participated in a Sustainability Audit led by Green Ambassador Interns at ECHS. She was also an instrumental part of the strategic planning process that led to the development of our current Strategic Plan: Years 1 to 3. As we plan for the future, Denise shares how she would like to see ECS continue its growth.
“I want ECS to show the world the tremendous results it produces with its unique model. If ECS can demonstrate that our students are thriving, graduating, pursuing higher education and coming out of the higher education experience with skills that make them employable and good citizens of their communities, then we will have a powerful story to share with the world.”
-Denise Berger, Board Member
Denise also serves on the Board for Right Side of Literacy and is a frequent volunteer and Board Member for Lionsraw, a global nonprofit organization focused on harnessing soccer fans to volunteer and do community service. In her free time, Denise loves to travel with her family, hang out at the beach, connect with friends, go to the movies, exercise and do leisurely reading. With her contagious energetic spirit, ECS is grateful and excited to have Denise on board!