Chris Linnell has been the Volunteer Services Supervisor at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Illinois, for the past 20 years. During her tenure, the district’s volunteer program has grown from six volunteer programs to a valued 10 programs with over 60 diverse volunteer positions. In 2014, over 900 long-term Forest Preserve District volunteers, along with 2,500 episodic volunteers, supported the efforts of the district in countless roles. In fiscal year 2013-14, these dedicated volunteers donated over 72,000 hours of service.
A firm advocate for volunteer management, Linnell encouraged support of DuPage Association of Volunteer Administration as president and program committee chair. As Master Trainer for DAVA’s Betty Stallings’ 55 Minute Training Series, Linnell taught and learned valuable lessons from her colleagues in volunteer administration. She is an active contributor to Volunteer Coordinators of Cultural Institutions for the Chicago area. Linnell has been a panelist/presenter for Illinois Conference on Volunteer Administration, Illinois Park and Recreation Association, and other seminars, and she has explored the critical role volunteers play in our organizations. Linnell has served on committees for Giving DuPage, a county-wide organization promoting volunteerism and giving. As a member of their Youth Task Force, Linnell brought her expertise with youth service-learning and the Boy Scouts of America to Giving DuPage. She is a member of the Non-Profit Steering Committee for this outstanding community resource.
Before joining the Forest Preserve District, Linnell came to volunteer management in roundabout way, and “yes” it included goats in the scenario. At Missouri State University, she pursued the first of two Masters Degrees in directing for the theatre. In breaks between classes and rehearsal, she ventured to visit friends at the nearby All-Seasons Goat Dairy. During summers, Linnell worked at Brookfield Zoo’s Children’s Zoo, giving visitors information about goats and their virtues while simultaneously milking a very patient Nubian dairy goat. Years later, as Discovery Center’s operations supervisor, she guided volunteers who answered questions at the information desk and narrated an introductory program to the Zoo. These early experiences with volunteers (and goats) continue to inform Linnell’s work with the Forest Preserve District.