PRESIDENT & CEO
Paula J. Ehrlich, DVM, PhD
Paula J. Ehrlich, DVM, PhD, is the President & CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, where she oversees the Foundation’s broad activities to foster a knowing stewardship of our world through biodiversity research and education initiatives that promote and inform worldwide protection of biodiversity. Dr. Ehrlich leads the Half-Earth Project, which is driving the research needed to better understand and care for our world, providing leadership to guide conservation efforts, and engaging people to participate broadly in the goal to conserve half the Earth and protect 85% or more of species, including ourselves.
Dr. Ehrlich has more than 25 years of strategic scientific management and research expertise, and diverse academic, non-profit, and corporate leadership experience. She was formerly President & CEO of the Drug Discovery Center of Innovation in Research Triangle Park, NC, Senior Director of Scientific Affairs at Ansaris (formerly Locus Pharmaceuticals), and Preclinical Oncology Imaging Lead & Associate Franchise Director at Merck Research Laboratories in West Point, PA. At Merck she led initiatives to establish imaging biomarkers and proof-of-concept for over 12 lead compounds, which are currently in clinical trials. She has held research, clinical, and teaching positions at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, the Atlantic Veterinary College, and the Royal Veterinary College.
Dr. Ehrlich has a B.S. in Zoology from Duke University, a Masters degree in Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia, a DVM from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and a PhD in Bone Physiology from the Royal Veterinary College, University of London. She has Six Sigma Green Belt training and is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.
VICE PRESIDENT OF ENGAGEMENT
Chris Heltne, Vice President for Engagement, develops and implements engagement activities designed to spread the Half-Earth goal. Mr. Heltne is a strategic leader dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives through positive partnerships and creative, integrated outreach approaches.
Mr. Heltne has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, communications and engagement. He spent nine years with Conservation International, working with scientists, business experts, partner organizations, supporters and many others to bring CI’s work to constituencies around the globe. Most recently, Mr. Heltne was Director of Marketing and Communications at Duke University Student Affairs, where he was a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
Walter Jetz, MSc, PhD
Walter Jetz is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Adjunct Professor in the School of Forestry and the Environment at Yale University. Dr. Jetz is Director of the Yale Center for Biodiversity and Global Change, which links scientists, students and practitioners engaged in the environment, biological, informatics, policy or health aspects and implications of global biodiversity change. He also leads the Map of Life, which consolidates global biodiversity distribution data sources into a single asset to provide the best possible species range information and species lists for any geographic area worldwide.
Dr. Jetz’ work addresses patterns and mechanisms of changing biodiversity distribution and the resulting implications on conservation and environmental management. His research combines remote sensing, phylogenetic, functional, and spatiotemporal biodiversity data with new modeling approaches and informatics tools. Dr. Jetz is particularly interested in how environmental, ecological, and macroevolutionary mechanisms combine to determine the co-occurrence of species and the structure of species assemblages.
In addition to his work at Yale, Dr. Jetz chairs the IPBES Task Group on Biodiversity Indicators and is Co-Lead of the GEO BON Working Group on Species Distributions. Dr. Jetz was previously a professor of biological sciences at the University of California San Diego.
Dr. Jetz earned his MSc in Integrative Bioscience and DPhil in Zoology from the University of Oxford.
VICE PRESIDENT OF EDUCATION
Dennis WC. Liu, PhD
A nationally recognized expert in science education, Dennis Liu directed the production of educational media at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and before that with Videodiscovery, and Microsoft designing multimedia science education programs. He’s worked with scientists, education specialists, graphic designers, animators, and filmmakers to produce an array of educational products that have had a lasting impact on science education. Dennis has managed teams devoted to assessing and assuring the educational impact of media, including professional development and community building. He’s been an executive producer and editorial advisor on over a dozen film projects for theatre, broadcast television, large screen, and digital science programs aimed at educational audiences and the general public.
Dennis studied zoology at the University of Wisconsin, earned a PhD in Biology from the University of Oregon, then conducted research and taught in the Department of Genetics at the University of Washington. He has a passion for explaining diverse science to diverse audiences, and has advised on numerous museum exhibits and media projects. He wrote a regular feature for the journal Life Sciences Education.
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE
Gina Eastridge Reynolds, CPA
Gina Reynolds manages all aspects of the Foundation’s financial functions to ensure careful stewardship of its resources.
Ms. Reynolds’ began her career with international firms of Arthur Andersen and EY, followed by 20+ years in Controller positions in a variety of industries, including healthcare, real estate, professional services, and hospitality. Most recently Ms. Reynolds served as the Director of Finance for an international reproductive health and rights non-profit organization, managing financial reporting for a portfolio of more than 100 grants from private foundations and European government agencies. She has led global financial software implementations for finance teams in the US and 15 other countries.
She holds a BS in Business Administration from the Indiana University Kelly School of Business.
Nicole Hance is the Business Manager for the E. O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. She assists with coordination of the activities of the Half-Earth Project research and educational programs, and leverages the Foundation’s business systems to streamline operating processes. She is dedicated to uniting her business skillset to support stewardship of the natural world.
Ms. Hance received her degree from Iowa State University, where she majored in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, International Business and Environmental Studies. She minored in Spanish at the Universidad de Extremadura in Cáceres, Spain. She spent eight years with John Deere, working in production scheduling, supply management, logistics, information technology and data analytics. She also served on the John Deere Water Volunteerism Committee during her time in San Diego, CA. Most recently, Ms. Hance was the Sustainability Project Coordinator for The Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation, where she led audits for their nonprofit grantee recipients for the Burt’s Bees Sustainability Team.
DIRECTOR OF VIDEO AND WEB PROJECTS
Chris Sims, Director of Video and Web Projects, is a multimedia storyteller who designs and creates web content, videos, and photographs for the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and the Half-Earth Project. Mr. Sims is the Undergraduate Education Director at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and a Lecturing Fellow in the Documentary Arts. He has also worked as a photo archivist at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Sims most recent exhibitions include shows at SF Camerawork, the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Houston Center for Photography, the Light Factory, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, and the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. He was selected as the recipient of the Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers in 2010, selected as one of the “New Superstars of Southern Art” by the Oxford American magazine in 2012, awarded the Arte Laguna Prize in Photographic Art in 2015, and named an Archie Green Fellow by the U.S. Library of Congress in 2017–2018.
Mr. Sims has an undergraduate degree in history from Duke University, a master’s degree in visual communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a M.F.A. in studio art from the Maryland Institute College of Art.
PRINCIPAL CONSERVATION SCIENCE ADVISOR
Bill Finch works with the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and the Half-Earth Project to address conservation issues throughout the southeastern United States, including creation of a Mobile-Tensaw Delta national park unit in Alabama. Bill was formerly the conservation director for The Nature Conservancy’s Alabama office, director of the Mobile Botanical Gardens, and a managing editor with the Mobile Press-Register. Bill is the author of Longleaf, Far As the Eye Can See, and is a well-known regional writer and media host. He has received numerous regional and national awards for his writing on conservation and environmental issues.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
David J. Prend, Chairman
David J. Prend is a Managing General Partner and co-founder of RockPort Capital Partners, a Boston and San Francisco-based venture capital firm focusing on investments in technologies in the energy, mobility and sustainability sectors.
Mr. Prend currently serves on the Boards of RockPort portfolio companies Achates Power, Enki Technology, Enlighted Inc., Glasspoint Solar, InVisage Technologies and Solar Universe. In addition, he serves as a Director of the National Advisory Council for the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), where he is also Chairman of the Solar Technology Review Panel. David served as a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Venture Capital Association from 2007–2011.
Mr. Prend began his career in the energy industry as an engineer at Bechtel where he worked in the area of advanced energy technologies. From 1984–87, he worked at Amoco in the Treasurer’s Department, and in the chemical and upstream oil and gas subsidiaries. He later joined Shearson Lehman in their Natural Resources Investment Banking Group where he advised companies in the energy, mining and forest products industries. In 1990 he joined Salomon Brothers where he was promoted to Managing Director and headed the Global Energy Investment Banking Group. In 1998, Mr. Prend co-founded RockPort Partners, a merchant bank specializing in the energy and environmental sectors and in 2000 he co-founded Rockport Capital Partners.
Mr. Prend received a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Gregory C. Carr, Treasurer
As a humanitarian and prolific philanthropist, Mr. Carr has dedicated the last 15 years of his career to the betterment of the human condition and the world we live in. In 1999, he co-founded the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. Joining family and friends, he co-founded the Museum of Idaho in 2000, a cultural and natural history museum in Idaho Falls that is the largest institution of its kind in the state. In 2008, Mr. Carr signed a 20-year agreement with the Government of Mozambique to restore and co-manage the country’s flagship national park, Gorongosa. National Geographic Television chronicled the Park’s restoration in their film Africa’s Lost Eden.
Charles J. Smith, Secretary
Mr. Smith is a serial entrepreneur who has launched four companies and one foundation. He is perhaps best known for developing the royalty-free licensing model for digital images which today accounts for over 95% of worldwide image sales. Mr. Smith also co-founded Knowledge Factor, a company that pioneered the Amplifire protocol, which demonstrably accelerates learning and enhances long-term retention. He has served on the Director’s Cabinet at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the world’s oldest and largest organization devoted to understanding the dynamic between land, ocean, and atmosphere. Mr. Smith currently serves on the board of Nature and Culture International, a position from which he is applying time and expertise toward saving the remaining biodiversity hotspots on the planet before they disappear forever. To date, Nature and Culture has conserved nine million acres in the most diverse ecosystems of Latin America.
Marcia Angle is an environmental advocate and preventive medicine physician, who has published and worked in the area of international reproductive health. She was medical director at IntraHealth, focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa, for two decades. In North Carolina, she served as Medical Director of the Orange County Health Department, and taught environmental epidemiology at Duke University’s School of the Environment. Ms. Angle has a BA from Harvard University, an MD from Duke University, and an MPH from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill, NC. Ms. Angle currently serves on the Board of Directors of three non-profit organizations: E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, Nature and Culture International and the Southern Environmental Law Center. She serves on six Advisory Councils: Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Superfund Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, The North Carolina Conservation Network, and Reserva La Esperanza. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for Impact Global Education., which creates and markets to U.S. college students travel abroad opportunities for social entrepreneurship.
During his distinguished career spanning six decades, musician and songwriter Paul Simon has produced timeless masterpieces, such as Bridge Over Troubled Water, Still Crazy After All These Years, and Graceland, all of which garnered GRAMMY Album of the Year. Mr. Simon was awarded the inaugural Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, which recognizes the profound and positive effect of popular music on the world’s culture. Mr. Simon is also a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, and, in 2006, was named one of Time magazine’s “100 People Who Shape Our World.” Paul Simon’s varied philanthropic work includes the co-founding of the Children’s Health Fund, which donates and staffs 53 mobile medical units that bring health care to low-income children and their families around the United States, providing more than 3 million doctor/patient visits since its inception in 1987. In June 2017, net proceeds from Mr. Simon’s month-long U.S. concert tour were donated to benefit the Half-Earth Project, an initiative of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.
Jeffrey W. Ubben
Jeffrey W. Ubben is a Founder and the Chief Executive Officer of ValueAct Capital. Mr. Ubben is a director of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., where he is a member of the Audit Committee, and Willis Towers Watson plc, where he is a member of the Compensation Committee. He is the former chairman and director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc., and a former director of Catalina Marketing Corp., Gartner Group, Inc., Mentor Corporation, Misys plc, Sara Lee Corp., Valeant Pharmaceuticals International and several other public and private companies. Prior to founding ValueAct Capital in 2000, Mr. Ubben was a Managing Partner at Blum Capital Partners for more than five years. In addition, Mr. Ubben serves on the boards of Duke University, Northwestern University and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, and formerly served as chair of the national board of the Posse Foundation for nine years. He has a B.A. from Duke University and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
John Taylor Williams
John Taylor “Ike” Williams is a partner in the Boston law firm of Sennott & Williams. His practice emphasizes the creation, production, and licensing of intellectual property, particularly in the areas of publishing, film, television, music and new media. He has served as a Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts Awards Panel and Co-Chair of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts; is a former Trustee of the Institute of Contemporary Art, The Huntington Theatre and currently serves on the board of The Boston Book Festival. Ike is also a partner of The Kneerim & Williams Agency, LLC, a literary and dramatic rights agency. Authors he represents as an agent or attorney include Howard Gardner, Joseph J. Ellis, Jeff Kinney, E.O. Wilson, Frances Fitzgerald, Bobby Orr, Richard Wilbur, Lawrence Tribe, Tim Berners-Lee, Charles Ogletree, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Nigel Hamilton, Michael Porter, Drew Gilpin Faust, and Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot.
Paula J. Ehrlich, DVM, PhD, President (Ex-officio)
BOARD OF ADVISORS
Edward O. Wilson, Chairman
University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
Director, Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University
Oceanographer, Mission Blue
Actor and conservationist
Daniel Nathans Professor and Director of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences, Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, 2009
Eric R. Kandel
University Professor, Columbia University, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2000
Cofounder, Chief Scientist and Chairman Emeritus, Rocky Mountains Institute
Gregory T. Lucier
Chairman and CEO
James B. McClintock
Endowed University Professor of Polar and Marine Biology, The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Sir Paul Nurse
President, Royal Society
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2001
Stuart L. Pimm
Doris Duke Professor of Conservation, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
President, Saving Species
Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University
Peter H. Raven
Director Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden
Larry G. Rosenstock
CEO, High Tech High
Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University, Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General
Director, Harvard University Center for the Environment
Provost, Washington University in St. Louis
James D. Watson
Chancellor Emeritus, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1962