Our Board

At Wild Earth Allies, we are governed by an active Board of Directors who bring depth of expertise in science, law, finance, art and philanthropy to ensure we operate to highest standards in pursuit of our mission.
Clea Newman

Clea Newman Soderlund, Chair

As the youngest daughter of the legendary acting couple Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Clea’s parents not only encouraged her to find her passion in life and pursue it with fervor, but they taught her the importance and power of giving back. Those two lessons merged for Clea when she discovered her passion in life was philanthropy and working to advance the causes and organizations she cared about.

In addition to her role as Board Chair at Wild Earth Allies, Clea serves as the proud Ambassador and spokesperson for SeriousFun Children’s Network (SeriousFun), helping to elevate awareness of the mission and advance the legacy of her father and SeriousFun founder, Paul Newman. SeriousFun is a global network of 30 camps and programs that provide life-changing experiences to children living with serious illnesses and their family members, totally free of charge.

Clea also sits on the Board of the American Institute of Neuro Integrative Development (AIND), an organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of children and adults with neurobiologically based learning; as well as developing and maintaining outreach, educational, recreational and therapeutic programs while staying current with clinical and medical research.

Clea holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. She resides in Fairfield, CT with her husband Kurt Soderlund. A serious horseback rider since the age of six, Clea is still an avid rider competing in show jumping events throughout the United States. She also enjoys yoga, running, driving anything fast with four wheels, and walking her rescue dog, Teddy, on the beach.

Virginia Busch

Virginia M. Busch, Vice Chair

Virginia Busch grew up in St. Louis Missouri. As part of the Busch family, she has always had a connection to wildlife and animals through the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Parks. For eight years she served as Conservation Ambassador for SeaWorld and Busch Gardens as well as President of the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. In her role, she assisted in the planning and execution of the parks’ expanding conservation programs, including development and oversight of partnerships to support collaborative research projects. She also served as media spokesperson for environmental efforts at the parks.

Since January of 2012, Ms. Busch has led the Endangered Wolf Center as Chief Executive Officer. The Center’s mission is to preserve and protect Mexican gray wolves, red wolves and other wild canid species with purpose and passion through carefully managed breeding, reintroduction, and inspiring education programs. The organization continues to assist U.S. Fish and Wildlife in the recovery efforts of the critically endangered Mexican wolf and red wolf.

Ms. Busch contributes to conservation and animal welfare at home and abroad as Chair of the National Council and board member for World Wildlife Fund, the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and the Humane Society of Missouri.

Ms. Busch earned a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with an emphasis in animal behavior from Washington University in St. Louis.

Anita Winsor-Edwards

Anita Winsor, Secretary

Anita Winsor is the Managing Director of Starpath Dolls, an award-winning toy company featuring dolls and personalized books. She is a Trustee of the William H. Donner Foundation and the Donner Canadian Foundation.

Ms. Winsor served as the Deputy Director for the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) from July 1999 to March 2002. Prior to her work at PADF, she was a professional staff member on the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, International Relations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives (1995-99). In 1994 she authored “The Complete Guide to Doing Business in Mexico” a best-selling book published by the American Management Association (AMACOM). Ms. Winsor served as Trade Representative for the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce from 1989-1992. 

She holds a BA from Smith College and an MA from Cambridge University. She has two teenagers, two Russian tortoises and a bearded dragon.

C. Jonathan Fischer

C. Jonathan Fischer, Treasurer

Born and raised in Madison, Connecticut, Mr. Fischer currently resides in Miami Beach, Florida. He is a founding partner of Stone Harbor Investment Partners, and for over twenty years, has specialized in the pension industry.

He graduated with a degree in History from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1981. Mr. Fischer began his career as a consultant and eventually headed the global sales effort for Gordon, Haskett & Company in Stamford, Connecticut. Later, after representing Citigroup Asset Management as a Managing Director of Institutional Sales, he became a founding partner of Stone Harbor Investment Partners.

His active interests include skiing, climbing, hiking, kayaking, and travel. He has climbed several notable peaks in Europe, North America, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Russia, New Zealand and Africa. In addition to Wild Earth Allies, his non-profit involvement has included participation with the efforts of The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, The Appalachian Mountain Club and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. 

Karen B. Winnick

Mohamed I. Bakarr, Ph.D.

Mohamed I. Bakarr is a Sierra Leone national who has worked in the environment and conservation field for over three decades. His expertise covers a broad range of issues related to natural resource management in the tropics, with a focus on the linkages between biodiversity conservation, agriculture, and human livelihoods in rainforest regions.

Dr. Bakarr is currently Lead Environmental Specialist in the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Secretariat, where he oversees all major GEF programs designed to advance holistic and integrated solutions to global environmental challenges.

Prior to joining the GEF, Dr. Bakarr was with Conservation International (CI) as Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science. While at CI, he served as Deputy Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and played an important role in organizing the 5th World Congress on Protected Areas. Dr. Bakarr also served for four years as Director of Strategic Initiatives and Assistant Director General at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr. Bakarr holds a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from Njala University in Sierra Leone and an M.S. and Ph.D in Tropical Biology from the University of Miami in Florida. He has authored/ co-authored more than three dozen peer-reviewed publications and contributed to major global assessments including the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the International Assessment of Agriculture Science and Technology Development, and the 4th Global Environment Outlook. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Natural Resources Management at Njala University.

Karen B. Winnick

David Hamlin

David Hamlin is a multi-Emmy and Pulitzer Prize winning media executive and filmmaker. He’s responsible for 250+ award-winning, commercially successful landmark Specials, Long Form Series, Digital Shorts, and VR Experiences for broadcasters including National Geographic, NBC, PBS, TBS, Smithsonian Channel, USA TODAY NETWORK, Google/YouTube and numerous global foundations and NGO’s.

For two decades Hamlin served as an Executive Producer and Writer/Producer/Director at National Geographic Television. Hamlin’s work has received numerous international awards including 2 Emmy wins and 8 nominations. He’s led production crews of 100+ in environments ranging from the Polar Regions to the Amazon to the Himalaya to the Congo Basin. His work focuses on science, natural history, conservation and social justice. Hamlin’s landmark series, Great Migrations, remains the highest rated Natural History program in the history of National Geographic Television.

Hamlin also produced almost 100 AR/VR/XR projects including, The Protectors, filmed in the Dem. Republic of Congo. This project was co-produced with Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty), National Geographic and Here Be Dragons. The Protectors premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was introduced by Hillary Clinton.

Currently, Hamlin is working for Gannett, America’s largest newspaper company, to launch a new film/television production studio, Blue Point Originals. He holds an MFA from USC School of Film/Television and a BA from Dartmouth College.

Karen B. Winnick

Jo-Elle Mogerman, Ph.D.

Jo-Elle Mogerman is a native Chicagoan who grew up with a love of animals, Mogerman applied that love to her academic pursuits, obtaining a B.A. in biology from Macalester College, an M.A. in conservation biology from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in biology with a focus on foraging ecology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition, she is currently adjunct at DePaul University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, teaching an on-line course that engages students as citizen scientists.

Currently, she serves as the first African-American female zoo director as the Director-Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Park. There she is leading the effort to build from scratch a new safari experience and animal science and conservation breeding facility. At John G. Shedd Aquarium she oversaw the vision and strategic direction for all learning and community programs. She brings extensive executive experience in informal education and community relations and is well-versed on topics related to the conservation and zoological community through nearly 14 years at Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo.

Dr. Mogerman has served as chair of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Diversity Committee, a member of the AZA Ethics Committee and Executive Council of Chicago Wilderness. She currently serves as an executive committee member of North County Inc. and Alliance for the Great Lakes. She is an Illinois Nature Preserves commissioner and member of the AZA Wildlife Conservation Committee. She has garnered more than 10 awards for the organizations, programs and projects under her lead.

Beth Ruoff

Beth Ruoff

Beth Ruoff worked at senior levels with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide for more than 25 years. A member of Ogilvy’s Strategy & Planning team, Ms. Ruoff was integral to shaping communications strategies and programs for corporate, nonprofit and government clients. She has a particular expertise in awareness building and behavior change and developed innovative programs that address such topics as heart disease, sexual health, education and environmental sustainability.

Ms. Ruoff was the creative force behind the National Institute of Health’s campaign, The Heart Truth, also known as “The Red Dress Campaign,” which made that garment an iconic symbol for women and heart disease. In addition, Ms. Ruoff helped lead the development of Ogilvy’s corporate responsibility (CR) offering, working closely with agency clients to develop CR strategies and surrounding marketing and communications programs.

She also brings professional, real-world experience to Johns Hopkins University where she teaches a graduate course in corporate responsibility.

Ms. Ruoff is active in the nonprofit community—serving on several boards and providing branding and communications expertise to a diverse set of organizations. She holds a BA in Graphic Design from Pennsylvania State University and currently resides in Washington, D.C.

Steven Rosenthal

Steven Rosenthal

Steven Rosenthal is a litigator who has handled more than sixty appeals in various appellate courts, including four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Among his noteworthy cases, he successfully represented environmental groups suing to challenge a federally-funded road construction project through El Yunque National Forest, a richly biodiverse tropical rain forest in Puerto Rico, and secured an injunction preventing the project from going forward. Mr. Rosenthal also represented Keiko, the male orca that was the star of the movie, Free Willy, in securing his transfer to specially-built facilities in Oregon from an amusement park in Mexico. He also successfully represented, at the request of the American Kennel Association, the owner of a pit bull dog who challenged a Denver city ordinance that banned ownership of pit bulls in the city.

Mr. Rosenthal  has long experience with nonprofits, having served as the President and trustee of the largest family social service agency in the Greater Washington area and as an adviser on legal and policy matters to other organizations. He is a Life Member of the American Law Institute.

Mr. Rosenthal received an A.B. degree magna cum laude from Dartmouth College and a J.D. degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. He served as law clerk to the late Judge Malcolm Richard Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, one of the nation’s leading authorities on international law.

Karen B. Winnick

Karen B. Winnick

Karen Winnick is an author and illustrator of children’s picture books, including How Lucky Got His Shoe and Goodnight, Baby Animals, You’ve Had a Busy Day, Gemina, the Crooked Neck Giraffe, Hank the Ballpark Pup, Lucy’s Cave, Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers, Sybil’s Night Ride, A Year Goes Round, Barn Sneeze, The Night of the Fireflies, Cassie’s Sweet Berry Pie, and Sandro’s Dolphin and Patch & The Strings. Her paintings have been exhibited in local galleries, and her poetry has been published in magazines and anthologies.

Ms. Winnick also serves as President of the Board of Commissioners for the Los Angeles Zoo, the Board of Trustees Emeritus at Brown University, and on the Board of the Lange Foundation, an animal rescue group.

She and her husband Gary, Chairman of Winnick and Company, support many health, education, and animal charities.

Ms. Winnick received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University. She also studied in Florence, Italy, at NYU, the School of Visual Arts, and at the University of California, Los Angeles.