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.
Betty White, Honorary Director
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.
Amelia Salzman, Secretary
Amelia Salzman has been working to improve environmental quality through policy change for over thirty years. She currently provides strategic policy advice to a variety of non-profits and is an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Law.
Ms. Salzman served as Associated Director for Policy Outreach at the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Obama where she was responsible for engaging with stakeholders and citizens interested in learning about or shaping the Administration’s environmental and energy policies and worked on a wide spectrum of issues including climate and energy, land and water conservation, endangered species protection, technology innovation, pollution, and scientific integrity. She also served on President Obama’s transition team for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Prior to working at the White House, Ms. Salzman was the senior program officer for energy, climate change, and biodiversity for the Wallace Global Fund. Ms. Salzman served as a senior program officer in the International Policy Program at World Wildlife Fund US. She launched her environmental career in the honors program of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she served as a trial attorney in the Policy, Legislation and Special Litigation Section of the Environment Division.
Ms. Salzman also serves on the Boards of the Open Space Institute, the Jamaica Bay-Rockaways Parks Conservancy and the Institute for Policy Integrity.
She received a JD from New York University and a BA from Brown University. She has two grown daughters and lives with her husband in New York City.
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.
Blaine T. Phillips
Mr. Phillips, of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania is the retired head of Potter Anderson & Corroon; Delaware’s oldest law firm. He is also emeritus Chairman of both Fair Play Foundation which makes diverse charitable grants, and of Mt. Cuba Center, a charitable organization dedicated to the study of Piedmont flora and the preservation of open space, as well as an active board member of a number of other organizations focusing on conservation of natural resources.
Mr. Phillips is an avid sportsman who enjoys wing shooting along the Chesapeake Bay with his companion Labrador retrievers and traveling worldwide for trout and salmon angling.
Dr. Herbert A. Raffaele
Dr. Herbert Raffaele is a widely respected leader in the international conservation sector. From 1971 to 2013 he served in leadership positions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Department of Natural Resources of Puerto Rico. As Chief of the Division of International Conservation at USFWS, Dr. Raffaele oversaw the implementation of critical international conservation treaties; developed regional conservation programs for Latin America/Caribbean, Mexico, Africa, Russia and Asia; awarded grants for endangered species conservation globally; created conservation initiatives such as the Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative; and shaped regional graduate training programs in wildlife conservation. Throughout his career, Dr. Raffaele has championed the training and mentoring of conservation professionals, designing and implementing programs that have produced passionate professionals addressing the loss of biodiversity worldwide.
In addition to numerous scientific papers, conservation documents, and book reviews, Dr. Raffaele has authored a number of books including The Birds of the West Indies, A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies, A Guide to the Birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Birds, Beasts and Bureaucrats, and Wildlife of the Caribbean. Dr. Raffaele’s latest writing addresses the critical issue of culture and conservation. Dr. Raffaele holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from State University of NY at Stony Brook, an MS in Education from Indiana State University, and a BS in Geology from Queens College. Dr. Raffaele lives in Harwich, MA with his family.
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.
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-Edwards 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-Edwards 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 Wiseman
Alexa Lowe Wiseman 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. Wiseman 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. Wiseman, owns and operates, Nadyleen Enterprises LLC. Her business specializes in the import of European Grand Prix horses and real estate ventures.
Ms. Wiseman has a strong interest in global wildlife conservation. She grew up in Washington, DC, attended Mount Holyoke College, and currently lives in Virginia and Florida with her husband and young son.
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.