Leadership Matters

Paula Yensen has been chosen to lead dozens of boards and committees during her career. She is a natural leader who’s earned the respect of her colleagues on both sides of the aisle. She knows how to get things done.

With over 25 years of success in leading community service agencies, Paula has proven that she can bring the common-sense approach of business to the non-profit world. She has also developed the rarest of skills — the ability to do more with less. It's a skill she has used again and again on the McHenry County Board.

Volunteer leadership

Paula has a long and impressive record of volunteer accomplishment. Paula served on the Ingham County Women’s Commission and Fair Housing Center in Lansing, Michigan, where she also founded the Economic Justice Task Force. As an expert in consumer advocacy, Paula testified before the Michigan State Legislature.

Dr. Yensen has served as a board member of the Fox Valley Philanthropic Network, is a former board member of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, was a founder of the Kane County Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, and has served in leadership roles with numerous public service and governmental groups in Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois.

Paula is a former President of the Hamilton, Ohio YWCA Board of Directors and a former Advisory Committee Member for the Michigan Women’s Foundation.

She currently serves on the boards of both the Lake in the Hills Rotary Club and AgeGuide (formerly The Area Agency on Aging).

Political leadership

Paula helped the Huntley Fire DIstrict get access to Algonquin Road for their new fire station in 2010Dr. Yensen was a Lake in the Hills Village Trustee from 2001 to 2008. She became the Village liaison to the Transportation Committee of the McHenry County Board. In this role, she was highly effective in promoting better accountability and cooperation from the County. She understood the safety concerns of parents who wanted a traffic light at the Harvest Gate intersection with Algonquin Road, where school buses regularly make left turns. Paula convinced the County Board to approve the installation to prevent a tragedy.

In 2008, she was elected to her first term on the McHenry County Board. In 2010 she was named Vice-Chair of the County Transportation Committee, and Chair of the county's Stormwater Commission. In 2012, Paula was named Chair of the Management Services Committee, one of the most important assignments on the County Board. She held a total of eight committee assignments, the most of any County Board member.

In 2010, Paula also helped the Huntley Fire District cut through red tape to get access to Algonquin Road for a new and critically needed fire station. That fire station has made residents of Huntley, Algonquin and Lake in the Hills safer.

Paula now serves as a member of the McHenry County Mental Health Board, and chair of the Senior Services Grant Commission.

Professional leadership

Paula recently retired as Executive Director of the United Way of Central Kane County. Against all odds, she actually succeeded in increasing contributions year after year, despite the recession and the devastating loss of local business giants Arthur Anderson and General Mills.

Dr. Yensen has led non-profit agencies in three states, focused on helping at-risk populations. She has directed programs serving domestic violence victims, the elderly, and low-income families.

Paula has also taught classes in fundraising, grant writing, board governance and leadership at Harper College.


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