OWL Board of Directors

Executive Officers

MHH 2013Margaret Hellie Huyck, Ph.D.
Chicago, IL

    Margaret Huyck has been a gerontologist for more than 40 years, beginning with her graduate studies with the Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago. She is Professor Emeritus from the College of Psychology at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). She has published two books about aging (Growing Older: What You Need to Know About Aging, 1974; and The Psychology of Adult Development and Aging, 1984), and has lectured in the U.S., Norway, and the Netherlands.
    Margaret has been working with two research projects, including exploring the responses of blind individuals to the prospect or reality of receiving a brain implant device intended to restore perception. Previously, she was the principal investigator for an intensive study of 150 families that explored the ways the generations influenced each other as they moved along the life course.
    Her contributions have been recognized within IIT with the Julia Beveridge Award for Outstanding Women at IIT. She is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. She was awarded a Senior Science Policy Fellow by the American Psychological Association 1997-98; during that year she worked in the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at the National Institutes of Health.

Janet Pitt
Vice President
Rockville, MD

Janet has more than 10 years of experience promoting a wide range of causes.  She has worked with UNESCO and other world heritage organizations, helping to strategize U.S. involvement; she has facilitated introductions to various bilateral ambassadors, and is involved in efforts to create an International Museum and Education Center for
Women Artists in the Middle East. 

She has helped raise awareness and money for countries in Southeast Asia after natural disasters, as well as for women’s education and health issues, such as heart disease and MS. She interacts with high-level government officials, leaders of corporate and community groups, and foreign ambassadors and manages an extensive network of contacts. Janet is currently a board member of the American Committee for Tyre and a member of the Protocol Officers Association.  She lives in Rockville with her husband, where she is raising three women of the next generation. Read more about OWL’s board of directors

Joan_headshotJoan Bernstein, J.D.
Brewster, MA

    Joan Bernstein is an award-winning author on Social Security issues with a long and productive history with OWL. She has served twice as President of OWL National, as Vice President and Chair of the Public Policy Committee, and currently serves as treasurer. Bernstein is a nationally-recognized expert in Social Security and Medicare, and was a leader in OWL’s Medicare for All initiative. She practiced law in St. Louis, MO where she was a Commissioner and Vice Chair of the St. Louis Housing Authority. She previously served as President of the St. Louis, MO chapter of OWL.

Beedie.Jones.revBeedie Jones, M.Ed.
Chicago, IL
    Beedie Jones is Manager of Mather’s—More Than a Café, located in the Chatham community of Chicago. She’s a national aging network advocate with over 30 years of experience in the field of aging. She has extensive knowledge and expertise in management, training, counseling, project development, and community organizing, and serves on several boards.
    Prior to joining the Mather’s team, she was employed with AARP for 12 years in its Southwest Regional Office in Dallas, Texas, as Operations Manager for the region and State Director for Louisiana and Arkansas. Other professional experience includes Director of Mature Worker Training & Employment Program, Counselor at Pennsylvania State University, Texas Southern University, University of Texas Medical School, and Director of the Histology-Chemical Laboratory at Indiana University Medical School.

Board Members

Charlene Fike, B.A.
Warm Springs, VA

    Charlene Fike’s entrepreneurial career began in college, where she was earning her BA in social work. She joined the Shaklee Corporation, quickly rising to become one of the youngest people to reach the highest leadership ranks of the company. Using those skills, she was able to launch four businesses before turning 40, and exploring every continent except Antarctica two years later.

She has spent the last decade networking with women weavers primarily in Central America and Asia, creating marketing platforms, developing products to provide meaningful employment, and conducting business skill training.

Last January, inspired by The Shriver Report on high rates of poverty among women in the US, she, along with her daughter and daughter-in-law decided to start a training program for women in DC transitioning out of homelessness. The goal would be to provide them with the basics of sewing, providing marketable skills, and potential employment opportunities.  They are using an unusual ‘modified fundraiser’ approach, creating scarves based on her husband’s unique photographs from around the world. Every 12 scarves purchased from Kilometer66.com will train one woman.


Carol Gardner
Portland, Oregon

Carol is the founder of Zelda Wisdom, Inc., an international, multimillion-dollar company she started in her living room with greeting cards featuring her English bulldog, Zelda.  When she was 52, recently divorced, depressed and in debt, her attorney told her to “get a therapist or a get a dog.” Choosing the latter made a world of difference; she leveraged her own background as a creative director in advertising along with Zelda’s good looks to build a hugely successful licensing business that includes calendars, books, greeting cards, canine costumes, cookie jars, cutting boards, clothing… you name it and Zelda’s image and wisdom appears on it.  Zelda’s Day to Day Dogmas are sent to thousands of subscribers around the world every day and are available on her website: http://www.zeldawisdom.com .
Zelda and Carol have donated their time and talent to help nonprofit organizations like the Morris Animal Foundation’s campaign to find a cure for canine cancer. Zelda and Carol presently are working to promote the Zelda Children’s Hospital Initiative.  They also continue to work with the Banfield Charitable Trust’s Pet Peace of Mind project. The PPOM project keeps people in hospice together with their pets. Carol has also served on the boards of several organizations, including World Affairs Council, the Portland Symphony, Portland Art Museum, Emanuel Hospital, and the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center (OHSU).