Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation

Board of Trustees 2018-19

President  Susanne Wolff Vander Heyden
Vice-President  Mary Jane Jackson Crist 
Treasurer  Jean Lee Schmidt 
Financial Assistance Chairman  Jennifer "Jennie" Jackson Beckham
Trustee  Marnie Wright Barnhorst
Trustee  Cynthia Heaberlin Beaird
Trustee  Mary Pat Brennan
Trustee  Christina Frank Erwin
Trustee  Tamela Jones Lanier
Trustee  Gail Simpson Owen
Trustee  Susan Pile
Trustee  Jan Radke Pishny
Trustee  Marion Wilson Rich





vander heyden  Susanne Wolff Vander Heyden, Washington State
Foundation President

Susanne has volunteered with Kappa since 1988 and has since served in multiple positions, including Director of Alumnae. Graduating from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science in nursing, Susanne worked as an emergency department nurse before “retiring” to raise her three, now-adult children. Susanne has served on several boards, including PTSA/Site Council and 4-H. Both of her daughters as well as her sister and niece are proud members of Kappa. She and her husband, John, spend their time between their homes near Seattle, Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona.



Mary Jane Crist_Jan2018 Mary Jane Jackson Crist, Arizona
Foundation Vice President

A fundraising expert with more than 40 years of management experience in higher education and healthcare, Mary Jane has spent the past 25 years successfully leading foundations of nonprofit hospitals. She has served as a national officer for the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and established her own foundation for funding medical education and research, music and art education and leadership development. Mary Jane was Kappa’s first Development Committee Chairman prior to the Foundation being established in 1989.



 Jean Schmidt headshot Jean Lee Schmidt, Miami (Ohio)

Armed with a law degree in 1976, Jean established a computer-consulting firm before practicing law for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where she worked on union disputes and discrimination cases. She is now a shareholder with Littler Mendelson, P.C., in New York, continuing her interest in employment law. Jean has served as president and vice president of the board of Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families. Jean and her partner have a daughter whose sports teams Jean coached. Jean received Kappa's Loyalty Award in 2008.




 Jennie   Jennifer "Jennie" Jackson BeckhamTCU
Financial Assistance Chairman 

A lifelong Texan, Jennie was born in El Paso, Texas, and joined Kappa Kappa Gamma at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. She currently lives in Houston and has been married for 36 years. Jennie has two grown children — a son who works in the oil business in Houston as well as a daughter who works in finance in Seattle. Jennie was an airline pilot with Southwest Airlines and recently retired after 26 years. Her downtime has been limited, but special interests include Kappa, P.E.O., Junior League, church, and book clubs. Jennie now lives part time in Park City, Utah, where she skis, hikes, and walks with her black lab.



marnie Marnie Wright Barnhorst, Oregon

Marnie is a former college teacher of biology and genetics and a retired lawyer. She received her bachelor's in biology and chemistry from Indiana University and her masters's in genetics from San Diego State University. Marnie switched careers mid-life and got her law degree and license to practice patent law. She founded her own law firm specializing in international trademark law and practiced there for 15 years until retiring in 2018. She served as the President of the San Diego County Alumnae Association for two years, volunteered as an adviser at UCSD and USD, sat on the Adelphi Foundation Steering Committee, represented Kappa on the board of directors of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and hosted many Kappa activities in her home, including an initiation ceremony for Epsilon Pi Chapter, UC Riverside. She is the Governance Committee Chairman for the Kappa Foundation. Marnie and her late husband, Howard — who was also a lawyer — were married for 44 years and raised four children (two lawyers, a doctor, and a small-business owner). Marnie also has seven grandchildren as well as two very shy cats and a darling puppy named Honey.



 Cynthia Beaird Cynthia Heaberlin Beaird, Tulane

With undergraduate and graduate degrees from Tulane University, Cynthia Heaberlin Heaird spent 15 years in the restaurant industry in management operations with Victoria Station restaurants and as director of human resources for the Chili's restaurant chain (Brinker International Inc.). Utilizing her business and management skills, she transitioned to residential real estate, where she is a 30-year industry leader. A founding partner and senior executive vice president with Allie Beth Allman and Associates since 2002, she was the first recipient of the MetroTex Association of Realtors Community Service Award. A community leader, Cynthia serves on the boards of the Junior League of Dallas, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League, the Tulane Fund, the Dallas Summer Musicals, and the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society. Additionally, she is a member of the Crystal Charity Ball. Involved with Kappa Kappa Gamma since college, she was President of her chapter, President of the Dallas Alumnae Association, and and adviser for Gamma Phi Chapter, SMU. Cynthia has three Kappa sisters, six Kappa nieces, and she and her husband, Brice, have a Kappa daughter and son.



 Mary Pat Brennan Mary Pat Rooney Brennan, Drake

Mary Pat is the director of development, gift planning at the University of Denver and focuses on tax-savvy gift planning techniques. She delights in collaborating with donors to ensure they create their legacy in a way that makes the most meaningful impact on their family, the university and its students. Mary Pat brings seven years of experience as a development professional, including fundraising for the arts, cultural, and educational organizations in both Denver and Chicago. Mary Pat began volunteering with Kappa in 2008 in varied roles, most recently as the Academic Excellence Director and now as Vice President. Mary Pat lives in Denver and is an active member of the Junior League of Denver and the Colorado Planned Giving Roundtable, loves to read, and escapes to the mountains whenever she can.



christina Christina Frank Erwin, Washington University

For more than 15 years, Christina held held director-level positions in corporate strategy and consumer marketing at AT&T. In 2017, she joined CenturyLink, where she guides the company's fiber internet marketing strategy. She joined Kappa at Washington University in St. Louis and later earned her MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Christina has served as a Province Director of Alumnae and Province Director of Chapters as well as a variety of roles within the San Antonio and Kansas City Alumnae Associations, including co-chairman of the Kansas City Alumnae Association's 2013 Holiday Homes Tour. She is a member of P.E.O. and Junior League and actively volunteers at her children's parish school. Christina lives in Overland Park, Kansas, with her husband, Marty, their young children, Ethan and Caroline, and German shorthaired pointers, Ellie and Frost. When busy schedules permit, they enjoy spending time together at Table Rock Lake.



 Tamela Lanier2 Tamela Jones Lanier, Oklahoma

An entrepreneur and computer software consultant, Tamela specialized in banking for 15 years. She and her husband, Doug, have two sons and a Kappa daughter-in-law. For two years, Tamela served on the Kappa Foundation Development Committee. In addition, she was the chairman of the Beta Theta Memorial Scholarship Campaign from 2012–17. She is also a member of P.E.O. as well as the Dallas, Frisco, and Richardson-Plano Alumnae Associations. She is helping update our national membership records. Tamela also has a passion for Rose McGill Disaster Relief and has volunteered with Samaritan’s Purse to help with disaster recovery in Louisiana and Texas.



   Gail Owen  Gail Simpson Owen, Monmouth

The regional superintendent of schools for her county in Illinois, Gail has spent her career as an educator in elementary, middle and high school as well as at the university level. She assists community efforts as a volunteer in a variety of capacities and, among other commitments, currently serves on a regional economic development council and the board of trustees for her alma mater, Monmouth College. A member of the Fraternity Council that created the Kappa Foundation, Gail has been a devoted Fraternity and Foundation volunteer since her college graduation. She is currently serving as President on Fraternity Council. Gail and her husband, Tim, are the parents of three sons and one grandson. 



 Susan Pile Susan Pile, Miami (Ohio)

Susan has held a number of volunteer roles within the Fraternity, including Director of Membership. With 20 years of experience in higher education, Susan works as the senior director of university unions and auxiliary services at the University of Michigan. This is her second term as Fraternity Vice President. She resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is an avid traveler.



Jan pic Jan Radke Pishny,  Arkansas

Jan is a retired family dentist. She led a dental practice in Kansas City, Missouri, for the past 31 years. She believes in equipping and encouraging women in their professional careers. She is also a mentor to rising dental students. Jan received her bachelor’s in horticulture from the University of Arkansas and her Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Missouri-Kansas City. A lifelong outdoorswoman, Jan raises grass-fed beef on her family’s farm in northeastern Kansas. Additionally, Jan serves as the president of the Greater Kansas City Alumnae Panhellenic. Jan and her husband, Lyle, serve on the board of trustees of the Kansas State University Foundation as well as the Johnson County Community College Foundation. Furthermore, they have three grown daughters.  



marion Marion Wilson Rich, Cincinnati

Thirty years of community volunteerism in Tampa Bay, Florida, define Marion’s passion for giving back. She is a lifetime Girl Scout and currently serves as the second vice president on the board of directors of the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida. Her commitment to health care led Marion to her current involvement with her local hospital’s board and community health needs task force. Marion’s love of film recently landed her a seat on the board of directors of the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City. She has been an engaged alumna member for 30 years and has served in several officer positions for the Clearwater Bay Alumnae Association. An avid photographer, Marion travels worldwide and captures cultural images. She has a daughter, Mimi, in New York as well as a son, Tom, in Orlando, Florida.