Executive Staff

Meet the people behind the impact


Michael Johnson, MBA – President & CEO

Johnson currently serves as president & CEO for Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County (BGC) and has made it a priority to ensure BGC continues to be a leader in youth development while enhancing partnerships to produce positive outcomes for young people and their families. In seven years as CEO, the Club has made some significant accomplishments.

  • Johnson developed a bold, five-year $15 million plan that has resulted in more than doubling the number of children and families being served in Dane County, tripling the number of employees and growing the organization’s operating budget by over 185 percent.
  • Through its partnership with MMSD, BGC’s AVID/TOPS program has produced graduation rates of over 90 percent for seven consecutive years, with more than 85 percent of their students (390 students) enrolled in local colleges and universities. This program is the largest public/private partnership in the Madison and Verona Area School Districts and the only college preparatory program of its nature validated by third-party data from UW-Madison.
  • Johnson is also leading the most cost-efficient college preparatory program in the nation based on a study conducted by the University of Vermont. Because of his leadership, Johnson was featured in a nationally televised Culver’s Frozen Custard commercial, which aired in 37 states; he was also included in a video archive through History Makers, where his work is being featured in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. for African Americans who have made significant contributions to American life, history and culture.
  • Johnson has also worked closely with local businesses to create paid internship for more than 500 young people securing wages of $10-$20 an hour, helping to ensure that young people are being exposed to both college and career pathways. He also championed and secured a $1.5 million in cause marketing agreements (combined) for Boys & Girls Clubs of America in partnership with Oscar Mayer, Fiskars and Van Holten Pickles to benefit Boys & Girls Club locations nationwide.

Johnson currently serves on the following boards: Caplin Family Charities, Overture Center, and the Board of Visitors for the School of Human Ecology.

Below are some awards Johnson has received over the years.

  • NBC Award for Making a Difference (2017)
  • Culver’s Hero Award (featured in national commercial, 2016)
  • Madison 365’s “Most Influential African-Americans in Wisconsin” (2015)
  • In Business Magazine’s “Most Influential Person” (cover story, 2014)
  • State of Wisconsin’s “Friends of Education” award from state superintendent of schools (2014)
  • Wisconsin State Journal’s “Five People to Watch” (2013)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s “Midwest Executive of the Year” (2012)
  • Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate Honoree (2012)
  • Madison Magazine’s “Person of the Year” (2011, cover story)
  • Omega Psi Phi Wisconsin Chapter’s “Citizen of the Year” (2011)
  • Proclamation by the mayor of St. Louis to create “Michael Johnson Day”(2006)

In addition, Johnson earned a BA in business education from Chicago State University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Johnson also holds a certification in fundraising management from the Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University, and a certification in human resource management from Cornell University. Johnson is married to Toya and they are blessed with three children ages 13, 6 and 3. Prior to moving to Madison, Johnson spent 15 years in executive-level positions in Chicago, Philadelphia and St. Louis, leading large, complex government and nonprofit agencies.

Rod Mitchell, M.A. – Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Rod Mitchell comes to the club with 15 years of youth development, operations and educational leadership experience. Rod is also an accomplished finance manager, human resource professional and organizational leader. Rod has made it his mission to work “for” youth and provide access to “doorway” services that helps the under-served become viable citizens. Rod has a bachelor’s degree in education and sport’s management, a master’s degree in higher education administration and multiple certifications through professional organizations. In his spare time, Rod enjoys, going to the gym, riding his bike, and watching sports at every opportunity.

Karen Gallagher – Vice President of Development

Karen Gallagher, Vice President of Development, has served the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County for more than four years. Karen brings a wealth of experience with 10 years working in fund development, leading and growing organizations in the Madison Community, such as St. Colette of Wisconsin, American Heart Association and today Boys & Girls Club of Dane County. Karen has also served on many community committees to further the mission of many agencies to enhance educational opportunities and leadership development for young people. A fun fact about Karen is that she was the first coach for the University of Wisconsin softball program, and she lead the program to Big Ten and national prominence in her 12 years at the helm.

 Alex Gagnon – Vice President of Education

Alex Gagnon, Vice President of Education, has the privilege of working with an outstanding group of individuals who are dedicated to supporting our students’ growth and success. Please visit our Contact Us page to review our school-based team who makes the dream happen!
Alex has nearly a decade of youth development experience with an emphasis on supporting college access and success programming for students who are the first in their families to attend college. Before joining Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, Alex was a program officer for a local philanthropic organization focused on promoting post-secondary achievement and equity, and previously worked for more than five years with the Chicago Scholars Foundation in Chicago, IL, as the Director of College to Careers creating leadership pipelines for students from under-resourced communities. He holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.