Society Board Members

The Quiet Adventures Society is led by a Board of Directors, all volunteers.  We have three new Board Members joining the Board in mid-2023.  Welcome to Emma Bailey, Susan Hopp, and Collin Tarr!  We now have just one Board Director position available. 

Current Board of Directors:

President: Cynthia Donovan 
Cynthia has been the President of the Board of Directors since 2021. She is an avid kayaker and hiker, as well as skier and snowshoer, when the snow is good. She spends part of the year encircled by water on an island in the northern Great Lakes region. She retired from Michigan State University in 2019, where she was on the faculty of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, engaged for over 20 years in development and training projects in Africa and elsewhere. Among her responsibilities at MSU, she was the Deputy Director of the Legume Innovation Lab. Her interest in the Society began with the Quiet Water Symposium as a volunteer and speaker. She loves being able to bring people together to connect and is always looking for new adventures and learning among the friends, old and new, at QAS.

Vice President: Lauren Smith

Lauren joined the Quiet Adventures board in 2022 after several years representing various organizations as exhibitors at the annual symposium. Lauren brings more than a decade of event planning, outreach, and fundraising experience to the Quiet Adventures Society.
An enthusiastic outdoorsperson, Lauren enjoys hiking, backpacking, kayaking, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and hammocking. Her adventures have taken her from the mountains of the west coast of the U.S. to the beaches of Cape Town, South Africa and beyond; but her favorite place in the world is the shores of Lake Superior. Lauren is grateful for the opportunity to help others explore and enjoy the outdoors through her service with the Quiet Adventures Society and Quiet Adventures Symposium.

Secretary: Emma Ruth Bailey

Emma joined the QAS Board of Directors in 2023 after many years of involvement with the symposium as a volunteer, volunteer coordinator, planning committee member, speaker and exhibitor. She is an avid paddler, backpacker and lover of all things outdoors. Self titled "A Freak FOR Nature", Emma has always had a passion for experiencing those hard to get places. Emma was raised in the Lansing area and is passionate about supporting, growing and enjoying the unique outdoor community in the Mid-Michigan area. She is excited to offer her skills, knowledge and insight to support the Quiet Adventures Symposium and connect people to outdoor resources, education and ideas.

Treasurer: Joe Lessard

Joe Lessard has been a part of the Quiet Water Symposium for many years and joined the Board as treasurer in 2018. His contributions as a planning committee member, board member, and lead volunteer have enhanced the show’s growth and focus on quality and conservation. He is an unsung hero, keeping the books straight not just for QWS but for LOAPC as well, playing a behind the scenes role. An avid paddler, he smiles at the challenges of whitewater and can be seen paddling through the waves of the Great Lakes and many Michigan Rivers, one of our paddling community. As one paddler put it “He’s someone I’d want in my party when the going gets tough, because I know he’s always there for others.” 

Director: Gary De Kock
Gary served as chair of the Quiet Water/Adventures Society Board of Directors from 2014 to 2022. He presented the River Guardian Award to Verlen Kruger at QWS 2003 and made a presentation on kayaking in the Great Lakes at QWS 1996. In 2014, he and Linda De Kock paddled a tandem kayak from source to sea on the Mississippi River (2,291 miles in 70 days). In 2018, they canoed the Missouri River from Three Forks, Montana to St. Louis (2,341 miles in 86 days). These and other trips have been used to raise funds for communities worldwide that lack safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. In 2023, they were honored to receive the annual Verlen Kruger Award for these and other contributions to paddlesport.

Director: Pat Harrington
Pat has been active on non-motor transportation since hit by a school bus while commuting in 1976.  Having participated in 40 DALMAC bicycle tours, with 20 as a volunteer organizer for Tri-County Bicycle Association, Pat also has been active in recreational paddling volunteerism for over 20 years and co-organized such events as The 2010 Grand River Expedition and’s Hugh Heward Challenge.  Pat has a collection of Sawyer solo canoes and has been involved with Lansing Oar & Paddle Club since the mid 1990’s.
Actively participating in Quiet Adventures Society activities, Pat’s voice is commonly heard from the rafters of The Symposium’s speaker system and can be found with his wife Robin helping out in whatever way we let them.  They are known as “The Dynamic Duo” of Patman & Robin or Flipper & Sweep and received the Stacy Smith Volunteerism Award in 2021 from The Quiet Adventures Society.

Director: Susan Hopp
Susan attended and volunteered at Quiet Adventures Symposium in 2023 for the first time. She found it to be an amazing event, motivating her to get more involved. She loves biking and paddling and would like to pass that on to others, including the next generation. Susan bring business and educational skills to the Board.

Director:  Collin Tarr 
Collin is an avid outdoor enthusiast, finding himself spending his time backpacking, rock climbing, and skiing whenever he can. Collin graduated from the University of Redlands in 2021 where he received his Bachelor’s Degree while also working as an outdoor guide for university students. He has led trips in California, Utah, Arizona, and New Hampshire in the United States, as well as international trips in Austria and Bavaria. While he hails from the Northeast, he now finds himself located in the Greater Lansing Area of Michigan where he has and currently works in both the outdoor retail sector and the outdoor non-profit sector with organizations like Moosejaw Mountaineering, the Quiet Adventures Society, the Michigan Waterway Stewards, and others. Collin finds himself now focusing on educating and spreading a passion for stewardship in outdoor spaces, and hopes to continue to help build community through the QAS.