Clea Newman Soderlund, Chair
Clea Newman Soderlund serves as the Senior Director of Special Initiatives for SeriousFun Children’s Network; formerly known as The Association of Hole in the Wall Camps. Ms. Newman Soderlund’s expansive career in not-for-profit development has focused on providing support to children and adults with disabilities and their families. Ms. Newman Soderlund’s role with SeriousFun marks a return to her family’s philanthropy. Early in her career, Ms. Newman Soderlund worked in the development department of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a camp started by her father, actor Paul Newman, for children with life-threatening illnesses and blood-related diseases. SeriousFun is the support center for the growing number of camps all over the world highlighting her father’s belief that taking fun seriously can make a real difference in the lives of children who need it most.
Prior to assuming her position at SeriousFun, Ms. Newman Soderlund was Director of Development for AIND Giant Steps, an organization dedicated to serving children with neurological impairments. Ms. Newman Soderlund was Director of Development for Pegasus Therapeutic Riding, Inc. for thirteen years before joining Giant Steps. In 1991, Ms. Newman Soderlund worked for her family’s business, Newman’s Own, researching and distributing charitable funds.
In addition to serving as Board Chair for Wild Earth Allies, Ms. Newman Soderlund currently serves on the boards of the following organizations: Newman’s Own Foundation, Giant Steps School, Gillian Brewer School and the Equus Foundation.
Ms. Newman Soderlund holds a BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a skilled equestrian.
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 Executive Director. 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 a National Council Member and board member for World Wildlife Fund, the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, the Humane Society of Missouri and the Saint Louis Zoo.
Ms. Busch earned a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with an emphasis in animal behavior from Washington University in St. Louis.
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. Additionally, he sponsors a facility for homeless children in Medellin, Colombia.
Joy Jacobson, a professional landscape designer, owns her own design/build landscaping company; Jacobson Design, LLC. Joy started her company as a way to professionally combine her love of landscaping, with her knowledge of design and her concern for the environment. Ms. Jacobson earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and has a landscape design degree from George Washington University.
She has served as President of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (local chapter) and as a member of the University of Virginia National Committee on University Resources.
Ms. Jacobson is married to Gerald Felix Warburg II, Professor of Public Policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia.
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 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.
José Urteaga has been working in sea turtle and coastal habitat conservation in Central America since 2002. He uses interdisciplinary methods and common sense to find solutions that integrate human needs and conservation. Currently, Mr. Urteaga is completing his Ph.D. studies in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University.
In 2005, Mr. Urteaga was recognized as a Conservation Hero by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. He is an active member of several sea turtle conservation networks including the Marine Turtle Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and was country co-coordinator of the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network (WIDECAST) between 2007 and 2012. In 2010, Mr. Urteaga was named a National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer.
Between 2002 and 2014 Mr. Urteaga worked with the Conservation NGO Fauna & Flora International, serving in the role of Nicaragua country coordinator from 2008. He coordinated the expansion of the Pacific Sea Turtle recovery plan, the promotion of a highly regarded national awareness sea turtle conservation campaign, and the implementation of various nesting beach conservation projects in Nicaragua.
In his role as Wild Earth Allies board member, Mr. Urteaga is especially focused on improving the organization’s impact on the promotion of socially sound conservation interventions, the support of community-based conservation, and creative ways to cultivate local stewardship and conservation capacity.
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.
She and her husband Gary, Chairman of Pacific Capital Group, 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.
Anita Winsor is a Trustee of the William H. Donner Foundation and the Donner Canadian Foundation.
She is currently staying at home to raise her two children and develop an online business. She 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 US 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 United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce from 1989-1992. She received a BA from Smith College and a Masters from Cambridge University.
Alexa Lowe is a dedicated equestrian competitor. She contributed to a team gold in 2008, when she represented the United States Equestrian team, and has since won numerous championships. Ms. Lowe travels widely competing at the highest level of show jumping. She has worked and trained with many of Europe’s best riders and trainers in Germany, Holland, and Belgium. Ms. Lowe, owns and operates, Nadyleen Enterprises LLC. Her business specializes in the import of European Grand Prix horses and real estate ventures.
Ms. Lowe has a strong interest in global wildlife conservation. She grew up in Washington, D.C., attended Mount Holyoke College, and currently lives in Virginia and Florida.
Melissa Shackleton Dann, Immediate Past Board Chair
With over twenty-five years of experience in the philanthropic, non-profit, and government sectors, Ms. Dann’s career encompasses major programmatic, management, board, and executive leadership roles marked by a collaborative, results oriented approach. As the former Executive Director of a private family foundation, Ms. Dann has a deep understanding and experience of what makes effective philanthropy; believing that maximizing impact requires the creative use of grants, investments, and relationships.
While at the Wallace Global Fund, she developed the Fund’s environmental portfolio which included early involvement on climate change, commodity certification, and reform of international financial and trade institutions. She spearheaded the Fund’s first program related investment, raising the profile of using capital markets to drive social and environmental change. Ms. Dann began her environmental career at the World Wildlife Fund and later directed programs for the U.S.-Asia Environmental Partnership; a $100 million dollar Presidential initiative.
Ms. Dann currently serves on the Boards of Winrock International, Root Capital, and Island Press. Formerly she chaired the Boards of Fauna & Flora International, Inc. (now known as Wild Earth Allies) and the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity. She also served on RARE’s Board. Melissa is a graduate of Columbia University (Masters in Political Economy), Denison University (French and Political Science), and she attended the Institute d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. Ms. Dann is a Fellow with the Royal Geographic Society. She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband, Tom, and their four (nearly grown) children.