I am the executive director of the Shark Conservation Fund, a collaboration of philanthropists dedicated to solving the global shark and ray crisis. The fund aims to halt the overexploitation of the world’s sharks and rays, prevent extinctions and restore endangered species through the strategic and catalytic awarding of grants. Before joining the Shark Conservation Fund I spent 20 years working on fisheries management at state, federal and international levels with the US government and the non-profit sector. Most recently I was the director of US Oceans for The Pew Charitable Trusts, where I led Pew’s efforts to establish policies that would end overfishing and promote ecosystem-based fisheries management in the USA. As the director, I oversaw Pew’s US fisheries campaigns in the north-east, South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, US Caribbean and the Pacific.
Before joining Pew I was the executive director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network, the largest national coalition dedicated exclusively to promoting the sustainable management of ocean fish. Under my leadership the network was instrumental in re-authorising and strengthening the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 2007. Previously, I was a fishery biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service, leading the agency’s efforts to protect essential fish habitat. I also served as a staff member of the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, working on a variety of fisheries, environmental and boating safety issues.
I hold a Bachelor’s degree in biology and a Master’s degree in biological oceanography from the University of Connecticut. Before college, I served in the US Coast Guard. I am also an avid angler and enjoy fishing in the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.
I work from my home in Galesville, Maryland, a small waterfront community just south of Annapolis. Most of my day is spent in front of my computer, but I do also enjoy a gorgeous view of the West River, a tributary that flows into the Chesapeake Bay. In the late afternoon, if time permits, I hop on my boat for a bit of fishing.
On a typical day I communicate with members of the Shark Conservation Fund, current and potential grantees, other marine funders and scientists via Zoom conference calls. I spend a significant amount of time reviewing and commenting on concepts, proposals and reports from our grantees. Another important piece of my day entails communicating with the fund’s board and providing summaries of the projects I am recommending for funding. I also read a lot to catch up on the latest news and science. Before Covid, I travelled to visit grantees in Indonesia, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Argentina and England and attended various meetings and conferences. Travel restrictions are beginning to lift, so I hope to start travelling again soon.