Board of Directors


Wendy Benchley is an ocean conservationist, marine policy advocate, and renowned global voice for protecting sharks and safeguarding our seas. She is the 2014 recipient of the International SeaKeepers Award, which is given annually to an individual or an organization that has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to ocean conservation. Based in Washington, D.C., Wendy is actively engaged in the marine policy community and supports many of the world’s leading ocean and environmental philanthropies. She was president of the board of Shark Savers and was instrumental in helping to merge the organization into WildAid. She is also an advisory board member of Ocean Champions, a non-profit political organization that supports pro-ocean congressional candidates and lobbies members of Congress on behalf of the oceans. Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, Wendy worked on many environmental issues as a trustee of Environmental Defense Fund. She is currently a trustee on the EDF’s advisory board. Wendy started her environmental and political career in the ‘70’s in her home state of New Jersey as a co-founder and trustee of the New Jersey Environmental Federation. She was elected to the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders and was elected as a Princeton Borough councilwoman for three terms. Among many legislative accomplishments, she worked on smart growth and sustainability issues, playing a leadership role in bringing to fruition a prize-winning downtown development and expanding affordable housing. Wendy was married to Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws and a well-known voice for ocean conservation through his numerous books, articles and documentaries about the wonders of ocean life and its many threats.


Chris is director of environmental initiatives at Apple where he leads a team overseeing strategy, forecasting & accounting for Apple’s 2030 carbon neutral goal, as well as standards and prioritization for climate and circular economy. Chris and his team established Apple’s Restore Fund, and direct nature based climate solutions investments globally. In addition, Chris’ team oversees Apple’s environmental grants portfolio. Prior to joining Apple, Chris served in the Obama Administration as a policy advisor at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Chris holds Master’s degrees from Columbia University and the London School of Economics.



Alan is a serial entrepreneur with nearly thirty years’ experience creating software companies. He’s currently founder and CEO of Perka, a mobile loyalty app that helps businesses turn occasional visitors into loyal regulars. He was formerly the CEO of Zenbe, an email suite that reinvented web-based email, which was acquired by Facebook in 2010. Zenbe also produced a successful task list app, Zenbe Lists, one of the first 500 apps in the Apple app Store. Prior to Zenbe, Alan founded and led iAmaze to develop cutting edge Javascript applications. iAmaze was acquired by AOL in 2000. Alan has dual degrees in electrical engineering and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Before joining the WildAid board, Alan and his wife, Buffy Redsecker, have been a long time supporters of WildAid. And they are both keen wildlife photographers. They both accompanied WildAid on its annual whale shark trip in 2011 and are excited to play a more active role with WildAid in the coming years.


Robin is the founder and CEO of Farient Advisors, an executive compensation and performance consultancy. Prior to founding Farient, Robin held senior leadership roles at Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), Mercer (a subsidiary of MMC), SCA Consulting, a firm she cofounded, and Booz Allen & Hamilton. Robin is an expert in corporate governance and compensation. She is the author of “Fair Pay, Fair Play: Aligning Executive Performance and Pay”, published in 2010. She also has been named to the Directorship 100, a list of the most influential people in the boardroom, for the past ten years. Robin received her MBA from the Harvard Business School and her BA from Duke University. Robin has been active in animal welfare and conservation for over 20 years. She was the founder of A Breed Apart Veterinary Services, a best in class veterinary hospital for companion pets and exotics, and is on the board of directors of Trupanion, Inc., a publicly-traded pet health insurance company. She is an avid supporter of WildAid, as well as numerous other animal protection organizations.


Donna is a wildlife conservationist, community volunteer, philanthropist, and backyard farmer. She has degrees in Hospital Administration, Veterinary Technology, and Animal Husbandry. Her work transitioned from the veterinary and wildlife rehabilitation fields to not-for-profit environmental conservation in the 90s. Board positions with an international marine wildlife organization and local community nonprofits soon followed. Donna brings 15 years of nonprofit board experience to WildAid and is thrilled to be a part of an organization which promotes change of mindset. She believes that scientific study and local protection of threatened species are crucial, but insufficient to conserve biodiversity. For wildlife to thrive in the long-term, human perception of the importance of wildlife must be changed. Donna and her husband are deeply committed to several projects around the globe that protect vulnerable species and restore balance to habitats and ecosystems for animals, plants and people.


Carol has had a lifelong love of animals and the ocean. She served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning for the Animal Hospital Division of VCA, Inc. There she oversaw strategy and marketing, pricing, and training initiatives for over 500+ animal hospitals. She also developed operational “Best Practices” and led the integration of large multi-unit acquisitions. Prior to VCA, Carol was a partner and COO of a veterinary start-up. Earlier in her career, she was a Vice President in the Corporate Finance Department of The First Boston Corporation and began her career at Bankers Trust Company financing Mexican companies. Carol earned her MBA from the Harvard Business School and an AB in Biology from Cornell University. She and her husband raised their two children in Los Angeles where you can often find Carol rowing among the sea lions and pelicans. Inspired by her interest in conservation, Carol and her family have created a small wildlife sanctuary near their home in north Idaho. She was drawn to WildAid because of the organization’s unique strategies for protecting both land and sea creatures, and their habitats.


Kristan is Vice President of Product Management at Capital One, where he and his team work to revolutionize banking through technology. Prior to Capital One, Kristan worked in strategy for Meta and Google. Before transitioning into tech, Kristan specialized in military policy and geopolitical strategy for the RAND Corporation and Northrop Grumman. He holds a  B.A. in Economics, B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, M.B.A. and M.S. in Industrial Engineering. A scuba instructor and sailor in his free time, Kristan has witnessed first hand the impact of global warming and our demand for wildlife products on biodiversity and ecosystems. WildAid’s unique mission of reducing the demand for wildlife products instantly resonated with Kristan as it is a sustainable and scalable strategy to protect earth’s ecosystems.


Rob is a conservation ecologist with a B.Sc. from UC Irvine, and Ph. D. from University of Oregon who has more than 25 years of professional experience working in over 40 countries on issues related to: wildlife trafficking; biodiversity conservation; ecosystem restoration; protected areas management; climate change; and empowerment of civil society organizations and communities. He currently serves as Managing Director of the Laguna Ocean Foundation. Previously, he served in executive and senior science positions at the National Geographic Society, Wildlife Conservation Society, and UNESCO. He has held faculty positions at the City University of New York and George Washington University, and board positions with other conservation organizations. He serves on scientific and conservation commissions including: IUCN Species Survival Commission; World Commission on Protected Areas; and Commission on Environmental, Economic, and Social Policy.


Kathy is the founder and president of a boutique search firm, Kathy Macdonald Associates, Inc., which provides retained search and consulting services exclusively for CEOs nationwide. Prior to creating and establishing her successful firm 23 years ago, Kathy served in top administrative management positions at the international consulting firm of Booz Allen & Hamilton and the worldwide executive search firm of Spencer Stuart. She received her B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Colorado. Born and raised in Hawaii, Kathy developed an early passion for dolphins and ocean conservation. She has been a lifelong advocate for the protection of animals and their habitats. She has served on WWF’s marine leadership committee and has created successful fundraising events for WWF and the American Oceans Campaign.



Steve Morgan is a principal at AllianceBernstein. Steve works extensively with entrepreneurs and founders of early stage companies in advance of an exit. He has a particular focus on advanced wealth transfer and tax strategies. Steve has been a wildlife supporter for many years and joined the WildAid Board because it provides an extraordinary opportunity to impact the survival of many of our most iconic species. He holds a BA, cum laude, in Finance from the University of Florida and an MBA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Raised in Florida, Denis formed a love of the ocean while surfing, sailing, and diving between the Florida Keys and southern Maine. College football in east Tennessee cemented an appreciation for the mountains, and he completed a degree at East Florida State University following stints in yachting and land & hydrographic surveying. A short trip to Los Angeles turned into ten years in Southern California and a bi-coastal career in fitness, eventually building a chain of studios in Dallas/Fort Worth before settling in New York City. Denis is currently in his seventh year at Peloton teaching cycling and yoga, and is excited to join the board of WildAid.


Jason is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Assembly Biosciences, Inc., a biotechnology company developing innovative antiviral therapeutics targeting serious viral diseases, including high-recurrence genital herpes, transplant-related herpesviruses, chronic hepatitis delta virus infection and chronic hepatitis B virus infection. Prior to joining Assembly, he served as Senior Vice President, Legal, and Assistant Secretary for Gilead Sciences, focusing on strategic transactions, corporate governance and SEC matters as well as heading the Asian and Latin American legal organizations. He started his career at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in New York, where he represented companies in connection with mergers, acquisitions and corporate finance matters. Jason received his B.A. from Stanford University and J.D. from U.C. Hastings College of the Law. He also serves on the board of the International League of Conservation Photographers, the advisory board of the Stanford Medicine Center for Asian Health Research and Education and a member of the Stanford LEAD Council. He and his wife, Marielena, are passionate photographers (both above and underwater) and conservationists who spend their free time exploring the world and working on Marielena’s travel, photography and conservation blog, Epic 7 Travel.


Ellie is an active supporter of many environmental, wildlife and animal welfare causes, but elephants have always had her heart. While working and traveling in Africa for a malaria prevention project, she became aware of the tragedy unfolding for elephants. She is dedicated to making a difference for wildlife by joining WildAid. An avid equestrian, Ellie lives in Sonoma and is the owner of Durell Vineyard and founder of Dunstan Wines. She attended the University of California at Berkeley.


Rich’s passion for preeminence and being with clients is embedded in the culture, connections and competences of Nucleus Advisors—something that happened by design. Twenty-six years ago, while sharing a desk on Wall Street with Jordan Waxman, a meaningful advisory partnership emerged from the tension of executing for clients by day and debating the mysteries of life by night.

Today, as one of Nucleus’ founders and the senior investment strategist of Nucleus, Richard enjoys strategizing with Alex Bass, Nucleus’ Chief Investment Officer, and overlaying macroeconomic and capital markets perspectives on the qualitative and quantitative work of our investment team. Rich’s direct responsibilities include managing high-grade, tax-exempt fixed income portfolios for domestic clients, as well as analyzing and recommending alternative investments.

Richard began his career in 1986 in the Equity Research Department of Goldman Sachs, covering healthcare companies and non-bank financial institutions. Prior to that, Richard graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. from Syracuse University with a concentration in finance and corporate law. He was named a Five Star Professional Wealth Manager as featured in New York Magazine for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.* Richard has also been named as part of the Financial Times Top 300 Teams in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Rich and his wife, Kathy, live in Tenafly, NJ and have two amazing sons—one a retired professional ballet dancer and the other is a Masters Candidate at Montana State University. If you ever happen to be in Big Sky, Montana and see Rich exploring nature on hikes or going skiing, you will see why he formally held a position on the Board of Directors for the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP).