Promoting Excellence and Trust in the Nonprofit Sector

Nonprofit Staff of Standards for Excellence

Heather Iliff, President and CEO

Heather Iliff is President & CEO of the Standards for Excellence Institute and its sponsor, Maryland Nonprofits, and is responsible for advancing both organizations’ vision to create a highly effective, ethical and accountable nonprofit sector that drives change through collective action and advocacy. Ms. Iliff previously served as Vice President of Maryland Nonprofits and Director of the Maryland Nonprofits Consulting Group, She is an experienced facilitator, trainer and manager with international, national and local nonprofit organizations. Ms. Iliff served a 4-year term as an elected member of the Prince George’s County, Maryland Board of Education, and was appointed to County Executive Rushern Baker’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Prince George’s County. Previously, Ms. Iliff was Deputy Director of Alliance for Nonprofit Management and Assistant Director of the Institute for Educational Policy at Open Society Institute – Budapest. Ms. Iliff has been featured as a speaker at national conferences including Organizational Development Network Annual Conference, The Philanthropy and Non-Profit Performance Conference, Alliance for Nonprofit Management Annual Conference, and the Association of Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. Ms. Iliff holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from The American University and a Masters in Political Science from the Central European University (University of the State of New York).

Amy Coates Madsen, Director

Amy Coates Madsen is the Director of the Standards for Excellence Institute, a national initiative to promote the highest standards of ethics and accountability in nonprofit governance, management, and operations, and to facilitate adherence to standards by all organizations. The Standards for Excellence Institute is a program of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations where Amy has served for more than sixteen years. Amy is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the association’s comprehensive ethics and accountability program and efforts to replicate the program nationally. She serves as a frequent trainer and writer in the areas of board conduct, program evaluation, program replication, fundraising ethics, and nonprofit management. She has taught courses on nonprofit ethics and accountability at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies Certificate Program on Nonprofit Management.

She has held positions at the Trenton lobbying firm of the Princeton Public Affairs Group, and the Public Policy Liaison Unit at the world headquarters of Catholic Relief Services. Amy received her Master of Arts in Policy Studies degree from the Johns Hopkins University – Institute for Policy Studies in Baltimore, Maryland; and her Bachelors degree from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Amy is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Amy serves on the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT). Amy is a former member of the Disaster Action Team of the Central Maryland Chapter of the American Red Cross and is qualified to provide disaster preparedness training to children and adults. She has also served as the former President of Central Maryland CAN TOO and was a member of the Board of Trustees of the largest United Methodist Church in Baltimore City. She serves on the board of her children’s preschool PTA and is a volunteer with the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. Amy is currently leading an effort to establish an endowment for the Virginia Tech University Honors Program.

Kate Scherr-Adams, Accreditation and Recognition Program Manager

Kate Scherr-Adams is the Standards for Excellence Accreditation and Recognition Program Manager. Kate manages all aspects of the Standards for Excellence Accreditation and Recognition programs, offered in Maryland and across the nation.

Kate has a BA in Social Work and a MA in Nonprofit Management. Combined with over 18 years in the nonprofit sector, this experience gives her a unique perspective and a skill set to understand needs of organizations, employees, volunteers and those served.

Kate has served in a variety of roles in the nonprofit sector such as a a program director, facilitator, caseworker and grants administrator in organizations in Vermont, Georgia and Maryland. She has provided professional development locally and nationally. Kate is an active community volunteer with Baltimore Women United and Barclay School Advisory Board (a Baltimore City school), a nature-lover and a trained hike leader. She has lived and worked in Baltimore City for the last 17 years and shares her life with her husband, dog-child and a host of nieces and nephews.

Darryus Johnson, Member Relations Manager

Darryus Johnson is the Member Relations Manager at the Standards for Excellence Institute and its sponsor, Maryland Nonprofits. He manages all customer retention activities and takes initiative in customer satisfaction via process improvement plans and efficient reporting and flow of information. He acts as a “first-responder” handling feedback from customers, advocating their concerns, resolving and escalating as needed. He develops understanding of member issues, offers suggestions and identifies alternatives and develops unique solutions. He also maintains database information as well as assists members with using fundraising databases.

Darryus previously worked for the MVA, Air Tran Airways and Danya International. Darryus’ work as Communications Coordinator for Danya International and as a flight attendant for Air Tran Airways afforded him the opportunity to support global as well as domestic business operations, and to work with all levels of employees, from frontline staff to executive leadership.

Lydia Alcock, Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Lydia Alcock joined the Standards for Excellence Institute in February 2017, and joined its sponsor, Maryland Nonprofits, in March 2016. She is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator.

Born in England and raised in New York, Lydia moved to Baltimore in 2008 to earn her B.A. from Johns Hopkins University. Lydia previously worked at Maryvale Preparatory School, Port Discovery Children’s Museum and the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, and also has extensive experience volunteering with an animal rescue nonprofit.  Lydia keeps busy exploring the Baltimore region and riding her horse, Ace. She lives in Baltimore City with her cats, dogs, and backyard chickens.

Juliana Thomas, Finance Manager

Juliana Thomas is an accomplished financial and human resources manager with experience in nonprofit and for-profit businesses. She served as accounting and human resources manager for Juele Enterprises, PTC International, and Mid-Atlantic Lifespan and its subsidiaries. She was also tax associate for Reznick, Fedder and Silverman CPAs. Juliana attended Coppin State College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Management Science. Outside of work she is stays busy in ministry work with her church and spending time with family and friends, all of which she enjoys. Juliana enjoys traveling with her family and friends also.

Governing Body

The Standards for Excellence Institute is governed by members of the Maryland Nonprofits Board of Directors and its Standards for Excellence Committee, and individual volunteers who serve on the Standards for Excellence Ethics Standards Committee.

The Standards for Excellence Board Committee provides oversight and support to the staff of the Standards for Excellence Institute in the implementation of its goals and objectives. The Committee acts as a liaison between the Standards for Excellence Institute and the Maryland Nonprofits Board of Directors. The activities of the Committee include: maintaining the Standards for Excellence certification of the Corporation, and ongoing compliance of the Corporation with the Standards for Excellence code; serving as an advocate for the Standards for Excellence program as a whole and helping to inform the Board of Directors of the program’s features.

The National Ethics Standards Committee is charged with overseeing the Accreditation and Recognition Programs of the Standards for Excellence Institute. The Committee’s main roles and responsibilities include: Providing advice and guidance to staff regarding the periodic review and evaluation of the application policies, procedures, and processes; providing advice and guidance to staff regarding the periodic review of content of the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector; and reviewing and approving or denying all Accreditation or Standards Basics Enhanced applications.

Maryland Nonprofits Board of Directors

Michael Mitchell, HIAS

Marla Bobowick, Bobowick Consulting

Grace Lee, Maryland New Directions

Kimberly Corbin, Greater Washington Urban League

Destiny-Simone Ramjohn, Ph.D., Kaiser Permanente

Violet Apple, Girl Scouts of Central Maryland
Sheryl Brissett-Chapman, National Center for Children and Families
Carl DeLorenzo, Howard County, Maryland
Janice Liggins, The Clarion Call
Patty O’Malley, Rubino & Associates
Josh Pedersen, Maryland 2-1-1, Inc.
Philip Symonds, CPA
Allen Tien, MD Logix


Heather Iliff

The Standards for Excellence Board Committee

Mark Muedeking, Chair
Barbara Huston, Consulting Member
Lisa Rusyniak, Consulting Member
The Ethics Standards Committee

Janetta Cravens

Janetta Cravens is the Vice President of Programs at the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits and oversees the consulting, professional development, and membership programs the Center offers to the 18,000 nonprofits throughout the state. Janetta is gifted at identifying, training, coaching, and equipping leaders. She has built her career working at the intersection of social justice and community change and knows the unique support leaders need when they are leading initiatives to change a community and an organization. She specializes in understanding complex networks and identifying immanent workflows and strategies within the system. She has crafted processes throughout her more than 20 years working in the nonprofit sector that have assisted organizations in moving strategically forward to reach their goals. She holds a Masters of Ecumenical Theology from the University of Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland and a Masters of Divinity from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Natasha Cavanaugh

Natasha Cavanaugh is a tax attorney for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to joining the Gates Foundation, she served as lead tax attorney at a major public research university where she managed complex corporate governance and tax-exempt matters, including employee benefits and public-private partnerships. Ms. Cavanaugh began her career in private practice where she represented educational organizations, museums, private foundations, and other tax-exempt organizations.  Ms. Cavanaugh has a J.D., University of Virginia; M.A., Sociology and a B.A., Economics, Stanford University.

Melissa Curtin

Melissa Curtin is the Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County, Melissa recently served as President and CEO of the Virginia‐based Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence, a Standards for Excellence replication partner and affiliated entity of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia. Throughout her career, Melissa has served in a variety of leadership positions at Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Forum for Youth Investment, Altria Client Services, Inc., Philip Morris USA and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Melissa became a Standards for Excellence Licensed Consultant in 2012. She is a certified leadership coach through the New Agreements Coach Training and Leadership Institute, and is certified to provide Emergenetics WETeam training and teambuilding.


Julio Galan

Julio Galan is President and CEO of Family and Youth Counseling Agency (FYCA) where he is responsible for the overall operation and development of the organization. He currently serves as CEO of the Family Foundation of Southwest Louisiana (FFSWLA), the endowment arm of FYCA. Prior to FYCA and FFSWLA, Julio worked in leadership capacity at Bethlehem Children’s Treatment Center, Covenant House, and Kingsley House. He also works as a consultant for various nonprofit organizations and businesses in the United States. He currently serves as Chairman of the Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Board and the Louisiana Alliance for Children and Families. He is a board member for the LA Commission on Law Enforcement, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities – CEO Council, and the LA Center for Afterschool Learning Board. He also serves on the Ethics Standards Committee for the Standards of Excellence Institute. Julio earned his BA in Psychology from the University of New Orleans and Loyola University where he attained his Master’s Degree in Education – Guidance and Counseling. Additionally, he completed the Executive Education Program in Resource Development from Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Jim Gardner

Jim Gardner has an outstanding career in leadership at various nonprofits, including Walter E. Fernald State School in Massachusetts, the Greater Lawrence (MA) Educational Collaborative, the University Center of Excellence in Disabilities at Johns Hopkins University, the Sheppard Pratt Mental Health System, and, the Council on Quality and Leadership. He completed the Masters in Administrative Sciences program at Johns Hopkins University, and has taught Leadership, Organization Development, Strategic Planning, Organizational Theory and Design, and non‐profit management at graduate programs at Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland, College Park, and Loyola College in Baltimore. He earned a Ph.D. in a dual program of American Studies and American Social History from Indiana University. A year later, he was recognized and awarded a Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., Post‐Doctoral Fellowship in Medical Ethics at the Harvard Medical School.

John G. Geist

John Geist has made a profound impact as an Executive in the nonprofit sector, with more than 30 years in senior management. He served as the Executive Director for the Health and Welfare Council, and the Association of Community Services of Howard County in Columbia, Maryland. He also served as Personnel and Training Officer for the U.S. Air Force in Baltimore. He served on the board as President of the Bach Concert Series, Christ Church Harbor Apartments, Charles Light Parking, Faith Presbyterian Church and the Harbor Walk Townhouse Association. He is a Peer Reviewer of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations with the Standards of Excellence Program. He received his Masters from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work with a concentration in Community Organization.


William Gorman

William Gorman serves as the Managing Director for GP Catholic Services, a company he helped establish. Prior to that, Bill served as Associate Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Washington while reporting to Donald Cardinal Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington. He also served as the Ex‐Officio board member, on behalf of the Archdiocese, to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington and of Victory Housing of the Archdiocese of Washington for nine years. Bill founded a registered investment advisory practice, provided counsel on socially responsible investing, and was co‐host of Lighting the Investors Way radio show in the Washington, DC market. When Pope Benedict XVI and then Pope Francis visited the United States, Bill held executive leadership positions in the planning of the visits to the Archdiocese of Washington. Bill is a graduate of the University of Leicester where he earned a Diploma in Management and a Master of Business Administration, Marketing.

Julie Hart

Julie is the Senior Director of Museum Standards and Excellence. She has been involved with accreditation and efforts to nurture institutional excellence throughout her 20 + year tenure at the American Alliance of Museums. Her access to, and assessment of thousands of museums’ operations, plans, governance, and policies during her two decades at AAM—plus service on other non-profit certification review panels—provides her with unique and holistic insight into the best practices and challenges faced by museums and non-profits. Julie is regularly sought after by other countries and industries as an expert to advise and speak about the US/AAM museum accreditation model. She has delivered numerous presentations and trainings on accreditation and museum standards across the U.S. and at international venues including Italy, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, China, Taiwan, and Canada. Also, she recently led a comprehensive, five-year reinvention of the Accreditation Program, which included everything from streamlining forms and processes to creating a new economic model to developing new preparatory programs.


Julie has been an Ethics Standards Committee Member for the Maryland Nonprofits’ Standards of Excellence Program since 2015, and served as a Peer Reviewer for eight years prior to that. She holds an M.A. (1996) in Art History from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Joyce Hoebing

Joyce Hoebing is the Administrator for Education at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she oversees budget and finance, human resources, strategic planning, and new project development. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, she worked with Towson University’s Division for Economic and Community Outreach, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She is a member of the board of the Samaritan Community. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Chicago and Bachelors of Science in Marketing and Sociology from the University of Oregon.

Karen Ito

Karen has an extensive background in nonprofit governance and management, with over thirty years of experience in the sector. This includes work at a national foundation, resource development for multiple organizations, and work as a consultant. She holds an MS in Family and Human Development as well as an MPA with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. Her past graduate work focused on the role of the education system in connecting children with nature and the resulting improvements in cognitive development. Her more recent academic emphasis was on nonprofit ethics and accountability and included research with Independent Sector. Karen has worked with organizations focused on animal welfare, environmental advocacy, community corrections, healthcare, and services for those with developmental disabilities. Areas of expertise include grant writing, on‐boarding training, merger facilitation, accreditation, governance, resource development and strategic planning.

Carmen C. Marshall

Carmen Marshall specializes in organizational development including nonprofit governance, performance improvement, program design and execution, strategic communications, marketing, training and executive coaching. Carmen has served as an Executive Director and in other nonprofit executive positions at the local and national levels, including a national organization dedicated to equity in media for Black broadcast owners, professionals, and students; and of a faith‐based community development corporation. Her board service has included National Consortium for African‐American Children, and she served on the advisory group for the National Smoking Cessation Campaign. In addition, she has 10 years of experience as a financial advisor in municipal finance advising on an aggregate $15 billion in transactions. Carmen is also a professional writer, speaker, trainer, executive coach, and Licensed Consultant with the Standards for Excellence Institute. She attended the University of Massachusetts at Boston majoring in economics and is a graduate of Texas Southern University with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration.

Kate McGuire, CFRE

Kate McGuire, CFRE is Chief Advancement Officer for The Arc Baltimore. Over the past 30 years she has worked in development, communications, government relations, and nonprofit issues for anti‐poverty, nonprofit association, and disability service organizations in Baltimore, Raleigh, and Miami. She is past‐president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals‐Maryland Chapter and chairs the selection committee for the MD National Philanthropy Day Philanthropist and Foundation of the Year awardees. She has experience as a development and communications professional with a broad skill‐set and seasoned approach to growing a nonprofit's capacity to tell its story, attract new partners and deepen relationships with a variety of constituencies. She also serves on the Ethics Review Committee for Maryland Nonprofits’ Standards for Excellence and the Program Committee for Leadership in Baltimore County.

W. Harry Schwarz

Harry Schwarz has over 30 years’ experience as a Manager/Executive/Fundraiser for health care and higher education nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining Bearsolutions LLC, Harry served as Chief Administrative Officer for the Tai Sophia Institute, now Maryland University of Integrative Health. He previously served as President/CEO of a Baltimore, MD health care agency, and has held senior staff and management positions at the Catholic University of America. He has served as President of the Howard County Association of Community Services, Peer Reviewer for the Standards for Excellence Program of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations, and was a candidate for election to the Columbia Council. Harry has a BA in Economics and a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in community planning and administration.

Susan Dishler Shubin

Susan Dishler Shubin exemplifies excellence in the legal field of human services. She has served as a Staff Attorney for 16 years, Supervising Attorney in Assisted Living and Nursing Home Programs, and the Director of Resource Development for the Legal Aid Bureau, Inc in Maryland and was admitted to practice before the State of Appeals and the Supreme Court. Susan was appointed a member of the State Advisory Council on Administrative Hearings, the Governor’s Assisted Living Task Force, the Task Force on Quality of Care in Maryland, and the Assisted Living Advisory Panel. She also released several publications, including the Arbitration Agreements in Nursing Home Contracts, What every Attorney Should Know About, and a publication in The Maryland Bar Journal. Susan is a Peer Reviewer of the Maryland Nonprofits’ Standards of Excellence, and has been a member of Ethics Standard Committee since 2015. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, and the University of Maryland School of law, where she received her J.D. with Honors.

Ann Skeet

Ann (Gregg) Skeet is the Markkula Center's Director of Leadership Ethics, a position that directs the Center's work in business ethics, nonprofit ethics and considers the unique ethical concerns of those in leadership positions. Ann served as CEO of American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley for 8 years and previously for Knight Ridder at the San Jose Mercury News for a decade. In her last role there she served as Vice President of Marketing for the San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times. Ann has also been active in Catholic issues in Silicon Valley, having served as President of Notre Dame High School of San Jose and a board member of the Catholic Community Foundation of Silicon Valley. Ann is currently a member of the Ethical Standards Committee for the national nonprofit, Standards for Excellence Institute. She holds a master of business administration degree from Harvard Business School and a magna cum laude graduate of Bucknell University and member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Dr. Lise Anne Slatten

Dr. Slatten is currently Interim Associate Dean for Academic Programs and a member of the Management Department faculty in the College of Business Administration at the University of Louisiana – Lafayette. Her dissertation examined the effectiveness of nonprofit certification and accreditation, with a specific focus on the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organization's (LANO) Standards for Excellence® program. Sections of the dissertation have been presented in whole or in part at several academic conferences since 2008. Dr. Slatten has had her research published in numerous academic journals including the International Journal of Public Administration, American Journal of Management, International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, Organization Management Journal, and the Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship. Dr. Slatten completed the degree requirements for a doctorate in management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in 2009.

Debra A. Thompson

Debra Thompson is President of Strategy Solutions, Inc. where she provides organizational development, strategic planning, training, facilitation, research and project management services to organizations and communities who want to grow and thrive. She is a licensed consultant, trainer and peer reviewer for the national and Pennsylvania Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector. She was appointed in December 2016 to the National Standards Ethics Committee. Deb has completed advanced training in Strategic Planning, Quantitative and Qualitative Market Research, Total Quality Management and Leadership Development, Systems Thinking & Facilitation (through affiliates of MIT) and is a 1993 graduate of Leadership Erie. Additionally, Debra was a finalist for the International Stevie Award for Women in Business in 2006 in the Technology Innovator category and was also a finalist for the Woman of the Year in Erie, 2011. Debbie is a graduate of Villa Maria College with a B.S. in Marketing and received her Master of Business Administration from Gannon University.

Pattie A. Tingle

Pattie Tingle an experienced and dynamic facilitator focused on advancing and strengthening the missions of nonprofit organizations ranging from small grassroots to mid-size service-focused agencies.  She brings a vast array of knowledge and experiences to strengthen nonprofits through identifying and targeting attainable goals and mediating group consensus to achieve lasting impact.   She currently serves as Executive Director of MAC, Inc., where she oversees an agency of 65 staff to address the needs of aging populations across the lower four counties of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of the Bay Area Center for Independent Living, Inc. for 27 years, serving individuals with disabilities of all ages. She holds a Masters in Administration of Human Services from Wilmington University in Wilmington, Delaware, and is a Licensed Consultant for Maryland Nonprofits Standards of Excellence.