Our board approves funding our teams and provides financial and strategic support to the partnership.
Ruth is Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia University in New York City. A member of the US National Academy of Sciences, Ruth has received the MacArthur Foundation “genius” award. She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, Ecological Society of America, and American Academy for Arts and Sciences. She co-directs the undergraduate program in Sustainable Development at Columbia University.
Author on more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, her research, focused in the Amazon and India, balances human societies’ landscape transformation for requirements such as food production and settlements, and maintaining a habitable planet. Her book, The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Nature Crisis is aimed at a popular audience.
Nichole serves as the Deputy Chief Scientist and Lead Global Scientist for The Nature Conservancy (TNC). She is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado. Nichole is an ecologist and author of over 70 peer-reviewed papers with over two decades of experience in supporting sustainable land management and restoration of a broad variety of ecosystems throughout the world. She works in partnership with diverse governmental entities on land degradation and restoration issues such as the ecological risks of fire mitigation treatments, historical drivers and biogeochemical responses to woody plant encroachment, forest decline and regeneration, and restoration of degraded dryland ecosystems.
Nichole is also engaged in international science-policy activities having served as a coordinating lead author on the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) global land degradation and restoration assessment. She is the current co-chair of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Science Policy Interface group that works to translate scientific findings and assessments into policy-relevant recommendations. Nichole previously served as the Research Director of the Canyonlands Research Center located at the TNC’s historical Dugout Ranch in southeast Utah. More recently she served as the Science Director for TNC’s Utah Chapter and directed a summer program for indigenous students from the Four Corners region of the Southwest US. Barger received her Master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and holds a Ph.D. from Colorado State University.
Adriana serves as Executive Coordinator of the UNDP – Global Environmental Finance (GEF) Unit. She provides strategic leadership and management of a US$4 billion portfolio with over 1,000 projects in 150 countries. These cover five technical areas: sustainable management of ecosystems and biodiversity; sustainable, accessible and affordable energy services; scaling up climate change adaptation and mitigation; sustainable water and ocean governance; and sustainable management of chemicals and waste.
Before joining UNDP, Adriana was based in South Africa as Development Director for Fauna & Flora International and in Washington, DC as EarthVoice’s Director for Habitat Programs and a biodiversity expert with the World Bank. She began her career Romania as IUCN Country Representative and a researcher in freshwater ecology at University of Bucharest.
Harry is the retired CEO and board chair of the investment firm Dodge & Cox. He served the firm over 39 years and earned his MBA from Northwestern University. He was a Governor of the Investment Counsel Association of America (ICAA) Board. Harry also served on boards of St. Luke’s Hospital, the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, and the highly respected scientific and education institution California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
Harry and his wife Shirley (a trustee of TNC’s Idaho Chapter) are restoring several miles of spring creeks and providing much needed habitat for native fish, birds and mammals near Bellevue, Idaho. They worked tirelessly with the founding partners to launch SNAPP in 2010 and continue to foster its mission.
As Chief Conservation Officer for WCS, John is keenly interested in the sustainable use of natural resources and the relationship between conservation research and practice. After postdoctoral studies with the Smithsonian Institution, John was professor at the University of Florida, establishing a graduate program to train students from tropical countries.
John has over 180 publications including four books. Former president of the Society for Conservation Biology, board chair of the Christensen Fund and Foundations of Success, and on the executive committee of the Tropical Forest Foundation, he presently serves as IUCN councilor and vice president for North America and the Caribbean. King Bernhard of the Netherlands inducted John into the Royal Order of the Golden Ark, recognizing a lifetime of achievement and service to conservation.
Cristián Samper is Principal Advisor for Nature at the Bezos Earth Fund and has served as President & Chief Executive Officer of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) since 2012. WCS is one the largest environmental non-profit organizations in the world, established in 1895 to save wildlife and wild places. WCS manages the largest network of urban wildlife parks, hosting four million visitors each year, and carries long-term field research and conservation programs in more than 60 countries.
Prior to joining WCS, Dr. Samper served as Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and was the founding director of Colombia’s Alexander von Humboldt Institute. He served as Chair of the science advisory body of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and was one of the leaders of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Raised in Colombia, Dr. Samper studied biology at the Universidad de Los Andes and earned his MA and PhD from Harvard University.
Mike Sweeney is Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in California and Managing Director of Global Fisheries. He has worked in business, government and nonprofits and has more than 20 years of experience solving major environmental challenges in the U.S. and internationally. He joined TNC in 1998 as a project director and became Chief Operating Officer and Associate State Director in 2001. In that role he oversaw historic accomplishments and major strategic initiatives in water, climate, oceans and public finance. In 2007, he was named Executive Director in California, and in 2016 he added the role of Managing Director of Global Fisheries. As an assistant to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, he helped advance the first Clinton Administration’s conservation priorities, including national park concessions reform, the transition of closing military bases to wildlife refuges, Everglades restoration, and making the Endangered Species Act more effective. Previously, he worked in national politics for the Clinton-Gore 92 campaign in Little Rock, for Kodansha Ltd, Japan’s largest publisher, and served on the staff of a member of the Japanese Diet. Since 2008 he has served as a director and program committee chair for Island Conservation. He holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from Harvard College.
Ward is chair of the board of the WCS and the Advisory Board of the Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University; and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Former positions include trustee of Stanford University; chairman of Stanford Management Company; governor and treasurer of The Nature Conservancy; and Vice-Chair of the Asia Society.
After graduating from Stanford University in 1964, he worked in the engineering construction business, then became a Managing Director and a Partner of Lehman Brothers. He moved to be a senior partner and member of the management committee of Lazard Freres & Company. During his career, Ward was also president and CEO of Bessemer Securities Corporation and Founding Partner of Bessemer Holdings, L.P.