NIYANTA SPELMAN - Chief Executive Officer
Niyanta Spelman, founder and CEO of Rainforest Partnership, knew from an early age that she wanted her life’s work to focus on protecting tropical rainforests.
A winding path took her from childhood in Tanzania and boarding school in India, to work at the first lobbying firm in London. After moving to Texas, she ran a management consultancy and worked with Texas environmental agencies as part of a legislative agency. She chaired a chamber of commerce, served on the Austin planning commission, and sat on a national health advocacy board.
Along the way, she gathered critical knowledge, experiences and education. Then in 2007, she began conducting extensive research and holding in-depth conversations with about 200 people. The idea for Rainforest Partnership crystallized, followed by a business plan – a rarity for a nonprofit. The inspiration became a collective vision with the selection of a founding board, and RP was born on December 17, 2007.
Niyanta now leads a dedicated team in Peru, Texas, and elsewhere in fulfilling RP’s mission to protect tropical rainforests.
FANNY M. CORNEJO - Country Director, Peru
Fanny Cornejo is a biologist from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Peru, with an MA in Anthropology from Stony Brook University in New York, where she is finishing her Ph.D. in Anthropological Sciences. Since 2005 she has led multiple research and conservation projects focused on endemic species and their habitats within the Tropical Andes, Amazonia, and the Pacific Tropical Forests.
In 2008, she helped create the Peruvian NGO Yunkawasi, where her actions have been focused on the largest endemic vertebrate of Peru, the critically endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey; and have involved the creation of community-owned protected areas, conservation education programs, and sustainable development of rural communities.
Since 2011, she has also led the organization of the symposiums and congresses of primatology in Peru. Fanny is a member of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and Vice Chair for Peru. She also serves as the President of the Peruvian Primate Society.
Her work has been recognized by various organizations; in 2014 she received the Medal of Honor of the Order of Merit to Peruvian Women for Outstanding Professional Activity by the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Peoples of the Peruvian Government and she has been the first recipient of the Sabin Primate Conservation Prize by the Sabin Family Foundation and Conservation International. Recently, she contributed, with the Minister of Environment and the Central Bank of Peru, on the release of a 1 Peruvian Nuevo Sol coin featuring the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, with the coin based on one of her photographs of this critically endangered species.
She directs and manages vision and action of RP work in Peru.
BETH CAPLAN - Chief Strategy Officer
As Chief Strategy Officer, Beth works with Rainforest Partnership’s CEO and leadership team to design and implement strategies across the organization: from top-level strategies such as vision and mission; to the operational strategies that inform campaigns, partnerships, messaging and initiatives.
A professional analyst and strategist, Beth’s 30 + years of experience is rooted in a two-decade career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, before moving to the nonprofit sphere. Beth has been part of Rainforest Partnership since inception, first as a strategic planner, later as strategic advisor to the Executive Director, and now also as CSO where she works with the team to formulate and execute strategy at all levels of the organization.
Beth’s 30+ years of experience and lifelong learning span the public and non-profit spheres. Her last role at NASA focused on advancing space commercialization and strategic alliances for the International Space Station Program. This required her to develop a sensitivity to private sector thinking that she brings into her work at Rainforest Partnership, along with her project management and planning background.
She seeks to understand patterns and trends that might be otherwise lost in noise and disorder. Her natural inclination is to look at any given situation and try to understand not just what is happening, but why; to look at every experience as one from which we can gain learning and use it to improve what comes next.
MÓNICA ALZAMORA - Operations Director/Natural Resources Manager, Peru
Monica graduated as a biologist from Universidad Nacional de Piura (UNP), she has a Master of Science in Integral Management of Hydrographic Basins from Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM). She also holds a certificate on Natural Protected Areas Management from Colorado State University, US; and a certificate on Public Management, Environment and Natural Resources, with specialization in Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Services from Universidad Nacional de Piura.
Monica is interested in using her vast skills in working with regional governments of Peru for the development of policies that would frame and guide the direction of conservation actions. She joins Rainforest Partnership’s team to guide RP’s partnership with government agencies and to assess our intervention on various protected areas proposals.
ROSA GORDILLO - Project Coordinator, Peru
Rosa is an anthropologist and graduated from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM) in Peru. She has experience working with indigenous and farming communities concerning productivity activities, community organizing, and conservation. She has worked to organizationally strengthen the associations Yanesha (Pasco), Wampis (Amazonas), and in the farming community Corosha (Amazonas).
Rosa has also worked with the Center for the Development of the Amazon Indigenous People (Centro para el Desarrollo del Indígena Amazónico, or CEDIA), doing anthropological work to support a proposal to create a protected reserve for isolated indigenous communities (Pueblos Indígenas en Aislamiento y Contacto Inicial, or PIACI). She has also worked with the NGO Rights, Environment, and Resources (Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, or DAR) on a project aiming to empower indigenous communities in Peru to protect their rights according to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Rosa is a founding member of the Cuencas Association (Asociación Cuencas – Red de Asuntos Amazónicos), an institution that links academia and research with indigenous communities to offer investigative and social intervention services.
CARLOS TELLO - Administrator & Biologist
Carlos Tello has been studying small mammals since
in Peru (PCMP).
Currently, he is working as Administrator and Biologist as part of the Rainforest Partnership team in Peru to consolidate
LINDA BERGMANN - Accountant
Linda Bergmann retired from the State of Texas after 21 years working as a manager and accountant at several state agencies, including nine years at Texas Parks and Wildlife as Director of Financial Management. She began volunteering her skills as the accountant for Rainforest Partnership in 2013. The mission of RP is dear to her heart, and she finds working with the staff to be a rewarding experience. Linda also works with other non-profits, and enjoys gardening, traveling with her husband, and spending time with her grandchildren.
MARIKA VESIN - Human Resources
Marika has over 15 years of experience in various aspects of HR. She has been focusing especially on Learning and Development. She has worked with multiple organizations, helping in elevating their working processes, competencies and team working skills to meet their business ambitions. Marika has an organized way of working and doesn’t shy away in front of new challenges. Instead, she is eager to look for new creative ways to solve them.
Marika has volunteered at Rainforest Partnership since August 2019 working with recruiting, orientation and a variety of other HR-related tasks.
NABEEL VIRA - Director of Operations
Nabeel Vira is a graduate of The University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. He was previously a Business Analyst and Quality Assurance Tester for Cisco Systems in Milpitas, California along with database development and maintenance for Austin Pets Alive!. Currently working as a SQL Developer for ICON Integration, he applies his knowledge and experience in Salesforce Development, Information Technology, and Data Management to contribute to the growth and impact of Rainforest Partnership. Volunteering with Rainforest Partnership since 2018, he has grown to support its mission and has developed many friendships with the staff and volunteers. In his free time, Nabeel enjoys exploring Austin’s many parks with his dog.
SOPHIE MOLINARI - Engagement Director
Sophie Molinari coordinates RP’s Rainforest Partner network around the globe, building new relationships and support to grow RP’s impact on rainforest conservation. She works closely with the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Strategy Officer on strategic outreach and partner development.
In 2019, Sophie participated in the SEAPHAGES program where she discovered a novel bacteriophage by infecting water samples with Mycobacterium smegmatis, a non-pathogenic cousin of M. tuberculosis. Her phage species is now listed on a national database where scientists can access it’s genome with the goal of finding a cure for tuberculosis.
Sophie now attends Texas State University as a wildlife biology student in Austin, Texas, and is an activist for environmental and social justice, civil rights, and more. She became involved with RP because she believes that by participating in the work that RP does, we can make a great deal of positive change.
NATALIA LÓPEZ - Project Assistant
Natalia is an undergraduate student of Biological Sciences at the National University Agraria La Molina in Lima, Peru. As a volunteer park ranger in 2019 at the Allpahuayo Mishana-Loreto National Reserve, she participated as a field assistant for other researchers, and learned about real issues facing the management of protected natural areas. She was awared the Christopher Davidson and Sharon Christoph Fellowship to participate in the international course “Andean Amazonian Ecosystems 2020” offered by the Missouri Botanical Garden, from which she gained experience researching primates and monitoring mammals with camera traps. Her interests in conservation biology, wildlife-human conflicts and landscape ecology culminate in a strong passion for conservation initiatives with communities as she continues to collaborate with environmental consultants and NGOs for the conservation of montane forests in Peru. She is a true believer that conservation without development is not conservation for the long term.
LUIS PAZ SOLDÁN - Project Coordinator, Peru
Luis Paz Soldán es un Biólogo, egresado de la Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina de Lima, con amplia experiencia en el camino de la conservación y gestión de proyectos en el Perú. Sus inicios fueron la investigación de la ecología reproductiva de fauna marino costera (pingüinos, aves guaneras y lobos marinos) en el litoral peruano, para luego trabajar como asistente técnico para la ONG Asociación Peruana para la Conservación de la Naturaleza APECO.
Se desempeñó como Jefe de la Reserva Nacional de Paracas (en el ámbito marino costero) entre 1998 y 2002, para luego ser coordinador de equipo que actualizó el Plan Maestro de la misma reserva. Esta oportunidad marcó un un antes y un después en su carrera profesional y en su vida personal, pues influyó en su visión de la naturaleza, la ciencia y la sociedad en general.
Entre 2003 y 2009 trabajó en APECO como diseñador y coordinador de la ejecución en campo de los proyectos conducentes a la categorización de la Zona Reservada Cordillera de Colán (Amazonas) y fortalecimiento de comunidades nativas jibaro awajún y campesinas circundantes. Cuenta también con estudios de magister en Gestión de Proyectos Sociales de la Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos de Lima. Luis se incorpora al equipo como Coordinador de Proyectos en la región Junín y los conocimientos y gran trayectoria con los que cuenta serán fundamentales para impulsar los asombrosos proyectos que se planean llevar a cabo en esa región.
Luis Paz Soldán is a Biologist, graduated from La Molina National Agrarian University in Lima, with extensive experience in the path of conservation and project management in Peru. Its beginnings were the investigation of the reproductive ecology of coastal marine
fauna (penguins, guano birds and sea lions) on the Peruvian coast, and later work as a technical assistant for the NGO Asociación Peruana para la Conservación de la Naturaleza APECO.
He served as Head of the Paracas National Reserve (in the coastal marine environment) between 1998 and 2002, to later be the coordinator of the team that updated the Master Plan for the same reserve. This opportunity marked a before and after in his professional career and in his personal life, as it influenced his vision of nature, science and society in general.
Between 2003 and 2009 he worked at APECO as a designer and coordinator of the field execution of projects leading to the categorization of the Cordillera de Colán Reserved Zone (Amazon) and the strengthening of native Jibaro Awajún and surrounding peasant communities. He also has a master’s degree in Social Project Management from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos de Lima. Luis joins the team as Project Coordinator in the Junín region and the knowledge and great experience with which he will
be fundamental to promote the amazing projects that are planned to be carried out in that region.
KEVIN LÓPEZ - Project Assistant
Kevin López se define como un técnico agropecuario interesado en temas de conservación ambiental y desarrollo de prácticas sostenibles con la naturaleza. Cuenta con 5 años de experiencia en el trabajo con comunidades nativas de la selva central en la promoción de la caficultura orgánica y agroforestal en cooperativas como
la Cooperativa Agraria Cafetalera Yanesha, y con 1 año de experiencia en trabajos con Áreas Naturales Protegidas en la región Amazonas en temas de gestión y promoción de actividades agrícolas sostenibles, que obtuvo mientras desempeñaba la labor de Guardaparque en el
Santuario Nacional Cordillera de Colán. Se unió al equipo con mucho entusiasmo para compartir sus conocimientos, experiencia y proactividad con las comunidades de la selva central en la región Junín e impulsar el desarrollo sostenible en San Antonio.
Kevin López defines himself as an agricultural technician interested in environmental conservation issues and development of sustainable practices with nature. He has 5 years of experience working with native communities of the central jungle in promoting organic and agroforestry coffee growing in cooperatives such as
the Cooperativa Agraria Cafetalera Yanesha, and with 1 year of experience in work with Protected Natural Areas in the
Amazon region in management and promotion of activities
sustainable agriculture, which he obtained while working as a Park Ranger in the Cordillera de Colán National Sanctuary. He joined the team with great enthusiasm to share his knowledge, experience and proactivity with the communities of the central jungle in the Junín
region and promote sustainable development in San Antonio.
LUCIA CARHUARICRA - Project Assistant
Bachiller en Ciencias Ambientales de la Universidad Nacional Daniel Alcides Carrión, Pasco, el 2016 formé parte del proyecto del Voluntariado Global Ambiental de la asociación de jóvenes estudiantes -AIESEC en el país de Colombia;
2018-2019 fui 2 años asistente de investigación del primate endémico mono choro de cola amarilla en peligro crítico de extinción de los andes tropicales, dirigida por la ONG Yunkawasi en el ACP Hierba Buena Allpayacu-Amazonas.
El 2019 y 2020 formé parte del equipo de investigación de Yunkawasi realizando trabajos de investigación en primates que se encuentran en el hotspot de biodiversidad de Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena dentro del Parque Nacional Cerros de Amotape (administrado por el Ministerio de Medio Ambiente).
Soy miembro de la Asociación Peruana de Primatología (AAP) participando con resúmenes de investigación en los congresos organizados.
Durante este tiempo que he venido trabajando en investigación de primates puedo mencionar que al igual que en muchos diversos ecosistemas a lo largo del planeta, los bosques se han visto afectados por el cambio en el uso de las tierras para el provecho del hombre, hecho que ha amenazado a muchas especies de primates (así como otros animales y plantas) incluso hasta llevarlas al peligro crítico de extinción, por ello las investigaciones científicas son pilares para establecer estrategias efectivas de conservación .
Bachelor of Environmental Sciences from the Daniel Alcides Carrión National University, Pasco, in 2016 I was part of the Global Environmental Volunteering project of the association of young students -AIESEC in the country of Colombia;
2018-2019 I was 2 years research assistant of the endemic yellow-tailed woolly monkey primate in critical danger of extinction of the tropical Andes, directed by the NGO Yunkawasi in the ACP Hierba Buena Allpayacu-Amazonas.
In 2019 and 2020, I was part of Yunkawasi’s research team conducting research on primates found in the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot within the Cerros de Amotape National Park (administered by the Ministry of the Environment).
I am a member of the Peruvian Association of Primatology (AAP) participating with research summaries in organized conferences.
During this time that I have been working on primate research, I can mention that as in many different ecosystems throughout the planet, forests have been affected by the change in the use of land for the benefit of man, a fact that It has threatened many species of primates (as well as other animals and plants) even to the point of placing them in critical danger of extinction, so scientific research is the cornerstone for establishing effective conservation strategies.
BRUCE SHARRAR - Information Technology Specialist
Bruce is a proud volunteer at Rainforest Partnership. His tech skills keep our global network running, and keep our partners in communication.
JENNIFER JIN - Digital Marketing
Jennifer Jin is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and currently works as the Product Marketing Manager of Mio, a local technology startup. She was previously the Head of Marketing at another startup called Threatcare. While at Threatcare, she co-authored a book series, Tribe of Hackers, which pledged to donate a portion of all sales to Rainforest Partnership.
In the past, she helped plan many of RP’s annual events such as Films for the Forest and Amazon in Austin. She currently serves as the main website designer and editor and oversees email campaigns and newsletters, operational processes, and other aspects of digital marketing. She has been happily volunteering at RP since 2017.
GERARDO MORAN - Director, Enterprise Partnerships
Gerardo (Gerry) Moran is a serial entrepreneur and an accomplished strategy and business operations executive with experience in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. He has worked in fintech, healthcare, microfinance, education, risk mitigation, and publishing during his successful career. Gerry brings deep operational, financial, and project management expertise to the team working both in the U.S. and Latin America. He holds an MBA in International Finance for IPADE Business School, plus has completed executive level education at Harvard, Dartmouth, and Johns Hopkins.
SAMANTHA DEGAVRE - F3 Coordinator
Sam is a current Environmental Science student at the University of Texas at Austin, with a focus in Business and Public Policy. Sam created a non-profit of her own in her California hometown, and upon coming to college at UT, she wanted to merge her philanthropic passion with her desire to work for an environmental company. Rainforest Partnership was the perfect fit, so she joined our team in 2019 as the “Films for the Forest” Coordinator. As head coordinator, Sam collaborates with the marketing and media teams to communicate with sponsors, celebrity judges, and filmmakers for the annual SXSW community screening each spring.
FELICIA HORWITZ - Enterprise Program Coordinator
Felicia is a recent graduate from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs with a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy. Prior to completing her graduate degree Felicia worked both at the nonprofit and federal government levels on issues related to food security & sustainable agriculture. In her role at Rainforest Partnership Felicia is responsible for developing & maintaining enterprise partnerships with businesses interested in collaborating with Rainforest Partnership as their investment in our planet.
Board of Directors
FRANK RICHARDS - Board Chair
Frank Richards is a seasoned entrepreneur, CEO, and growth executive with 20+ years success founding, building, and growing companies. A serial entrepreneur, Frank is at the forefront of coupling internet marketing strategies with traditional marketing and customer loyalty.
Currently, Frank is the founder and CEO of Rally4 a leading technology and solutions providers to the nonprofit industry. Frank was the founder and CEO of SmartZip Analytics, Inc., a big data and predictive analytics firm serving the home services industry, which is a venture-backed (CCV, Javelin, and Intel Capital) company he
founded in 2008.
Frank has made a career out of helping fortune 1000 companies acquire new
customers and create loyalty, bringing that to the nonprofit industry to empower social and mission-driven organizations to grow and have more impact to make the world a better place.
LINA CONSTANTINOVICI - Secretary
Lina Constantinovici is an applied economist, investor, and pioneer in biomimetic innovation who has launched several organizations focused on building an economy that creates conditions conducive to life and is aligned with 4.4 billion years of our planetary systems. As in impact investor, Lina has launched BVC (Better Value Creation) Fund, investing in alternatives to petroleum-based products, alternatives to toxic chemicals, and film/media that can accelerate the adoption of such solutions. Lina also founded Innovation 4.4, a non-profit with the mission to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of solutions most relevant to the Paris Agreement and the UN SDGs.
Lina serves on various Boards such as Schmidt Marine Technology Partners, American Sustainable Business Council, Environmental Health Sciences. With the mission to move more capital towards urgently needed solutions, Lina advises family offices around the world and is the Founding Co-Chair of the Nexus Global Impact investing Working Group (a network of over 5,000 next-generation inheritors).
Lina has advised Fortune 500 companies on sustainability strategy and implementation, written legislation for the San Francisco Department of Environment, and designed standards for the US Environmental Protection Agency. Lina has also given back to the next generation by teaching Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the MBA level. She has spoken at over 500 conferences globally, such as the United Nations, the Nobel Peace Prize Summit, SXSW Eco, the International Strategic Management Conference.
HAZEL BARBOUR - Treasurer
Hazel worked for many years at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), where she was the manager of the agency’s Mobile Source Emission Reduction Programs. When she learned that more carbon is released into the atmosphere from cutting down and burning trees than from all the cars and trucks in the world, Hazel decided that helping Niyanta start Rainforest Partnership could be a positive way to make a difference regarding carbon emissions and climate change.
Hazel’s past work experience includes serving as Shell UK’s first community affairs adviser. She was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire medal from Queen Elizabeth II for her service to the UK community through her work at Shell. A graduate of the LBJ School of Public Affairs, Hazel researched the effects of climate change on the state of Texas in the early 1990s, before most people were paying attention to this critical subject. She believes that RP’s model and way of working is one of the keys to saving the rainforests for us all.
LUCIA GALLARDO - Board Member
Prior to starting Emerge and joining Penta, Lucia co-founded Dona un Libro, Cambia una Mente, a Honduran education-focused non-profit and 2016 recipient of President Obama’s Young Leaders of the Americas Fellowship. She is currently its Board of Directors Vice President.
Lucia has past experience in both the public and private sectors, ranging from immigration and trade relations on diplomatic missions to AI-enabled mobile tech and early-stage investments. Her academic studies took place at globally renowned McGill University, with studies in International Development, focused on creating economic opportunities in post-conflict, resource-scarce, or poverty-stricken areas, as well as in International Trade & Business. Prior to this concentration, she also studied Communications Strategy.
Lucia is a 2017 Venture for Canada Fellow, a 2018 RBC Future Launch Fellow, a 2018 Money 20/20 Rise Up Fellow, and a certified UN SDG Advocate. Most recently, she was nominated for MIT Technology Review’s Latin American Innovators under 35 and the Royal Bank of Canada’s 2019 Women of Influence. She is Acquisition International’s North American Female Blockchain CEO of 2019.
SERGIO A. LIRA - Advisor
Sergio A. Lira (Alejandro) serves as advisor, translator, connector and occasionally gentle mediator in RP’s partner community. Alejandro is a lawyer, artist, and art collector who studied both fine arts and law at Cornell University before building a career as a Cultural Manager. His long talks with the scholar Carl Sagan introduced him to the concept of ‘healing the world,’ which inspired him to do ecosystem restoration and work with neglected communities.
At a young age, as part of the ‘Libertad’ movement led by Nobel laureate Mario Vargas-Llosa, Alejandro was appointed Editor of the International News Bulletin. For decades he turned his personal art-studio into the project ‘Estudio 235,’ providing artistic opportunities to Peruvian and international artists and allowing him to be a promoter of culture and the arts. Alejandro splits his time between Lima and his newest project, Lyria, in Lamas, San Martin, where his love for art and culture meets his interest in ecosystem restoration and sustainability.
DEBORAH TOMPKINS - Project Consultant
Deb Tompkins is the founder of Sage Point, a consulting firm that specializes in strategic marketing, communications and training for organizations in the non-profit and development sector. In her 25-year career, she has spent extensive time in southern Africa, southeast Asia, and Latin America working with non-governmental organizations, community-based groups and women’s cooperatives to build entrepreneurship skills. She believes investing in the education, support and livelihoods of women is the key to promoting sustainable development. For Rainforest Partnership, she is working on communications projects as well as with the project teams at RP’s headquarters and within programs, and is working directly with the Sani Isla community to provide targeted training for the staff of Sani Lodge and for the Sani Warmi women’s project.
ANUPAM GOVIL - Advisor
We live in a time of unprecedented threats and opportunities related to our environment. Climate change impacts everyone’s lives and those of future generations. At the same time, emerging technologies can address many of the challenges facing our planet today. Rainforests are the lungs of our planet and reservoirs of immeasurable value. Protecting and preserving them is of paramount importance and a matter of great urgency. I am very privileged to have a chance to make an impact on an ecosystem that is essential for the survival of all species. Rainforest Partnership is dedicated to finding innovative solutions that can sustainably grow the global economy while ensuring the survival of this critical ecosystem.
Anupam Govil is a Partner with Avasant, a leading management consulting firm focusing on Digital Transformation, Sourcing and Globalization services. He is also the President of
As a renowned digital transformation and globalization advocate, Anupam has been providing strategic advisory services to global enterprises, technology firms and private equity funds for over 20 years. Prior to Avasant, Anupam was CEO of leading globalization advisory firm Global Equations, He has advised governments and investment promotion agencies across more than 40 countries on driving economic development through ICT and Digital services. Nearshore America has consistently ranked him in the Top 30 Influential Industry Executives. Mr. Govil is also a sought-after keynote speaker and chairs several industry-leading conferences such as Empowering Beyond series, Digital Convergence and IRPA’s Automation Innovation Conference.
COLBORN BELL - Advisor
Colborn Bell is a Founder of the 5th Element Group PBC and Director of the SDG Impact Fund, whose vision is to help create a new socio-economic era that closes historic gaps in last mile inclusion and engages the “bottom billion” to take true quantum leaps for humanity, prosperity and planet through integrating the most innovative blockchain and smart contract technologies into new impact capital vehicles and products. He is the Founder and Managing Principal of Finite Square Well, a pioneering crypto-assets management and services company that develops and executes investment strategies for select private families and UHNW individuals seeking intelligent access to the rapidly emerging, global capital paradigm shift in crypto and digital assets. Highly respected among some of the world’s most influential families, Colborn also leads the US-based private family office for a prominent Middle Eastern family managing investments in green energy, education, hospitality, aviation, real estate and art and specializes in enabling tech and innovation focused companies develop or expand their Middle Eastern presence. Prior, he was with Abacus Wealth Partners leading daily trading of over 1000 client accounts with $1B+ AUM. He previously worked with UNCDF and began his career in investment banking with Laidlaw and Co allocating PIPE deals for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and eHarmony.
CHRISTOPHER SCHMITT - Research Scientist
Christopher A. Schmitt is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Biology at Boston University where he is also Co-PI of the Sensory Morphology and Genomic Anthropology Lab. He has conducted over 70 months of field research on wild non-human primates, including in Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, The Gambia, Malawi, Nicaragua, Peru, South Africa, and St. Kitts & Nevis.
His research interests include primate life history and development, conservation genetics and genomics, and using genomics techniques to better understand the influence of ecological variation and human impacts on primate metabolism and growth. You can learn more about his research at http://www.evopropinquitous.net.
SCOTT THOMAS - Development and Marketing
Scott’s background includes corporate/marketing strategy and execution, lead generation, intellectual property licensing, and software selection/implementation. With experience working for and with such industry leaders as Accenture, American Express, AT&T, Bank of America, Citicorp, HP, IBM, Siemens, Yahoo, and numerous high growth companies.
Prior to founding Intelechy Group, a leading Revenue Growth Marketing Agency, Scott was the Director of Client Marketing, Lead Development at Rainmaker Systems, where he created and executed lead generation programs for respected technology leaders such as Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Panasonic, and Red Hat. At AT&T Knowledge Ventures, Scott played an integral role in the group’s rapid expansion from $1 million in revenue with nine employees to more than $125 million ($98 million EBITDA) in revenue and more than 50 employees in just three years.
Scott enjoys college basketball (and never misses a game played by his alma mater, Duke), adventure travel and live music (good thing he lives in Austin). He also serves on several non-profit boards including Austin Sunshine Camps and Austin Habitat Young Professionals (earning him two Austin under 40 finalist awards). Scott believes that some of the best stewards of our natural world are the indigenous people who live there and there is no one better in enabling them to protect their land than Rainforest Partnership.
KAR DHILLON - Partnership Advisor
UC Berkeley meets Silicon Valley. Kar organized marketing programs for the European Innovation Academy, co-founded Paladin Partners (consulting company spanning 9 countries), founded Berkeley Startup Grind (events), and established the business development arm of 6×7 Networks (fully encrypted telecom carrier – fiber optics, cloud computing, and datacenters). He is now in charge of long-term revenue generation and sustainability for Rainforest Partnership.
ROBERT H. KAESER - Strategic Adviser
Robert serves as a strategic advisor to Rainforest Partnership, advising and representing RP in Germany while working to identify and connect to potential strategic partners in German-speaking countries across Europe. Robert specializes in policy, strategic advising, advocacy on sustainable development, clean energy, global climate change for non-profit organizations, trade associations, and public funding.
Robert’s experience roots from seven years with helping strengthen the structuralize local NGOs in Ecuador with German cooperation GIZ. Born as a son of German parents in Ecuador, he’s combined both cultural backgrounds and speaks both languages fluently. Currently, he is setting up a volunteering program regarding the social and ecological segment in the Amazon basin of Ecuador for German-speaking students and teachers. As an economist, he’s also invested in solar photovoltaic panels within a second life cycle in Colombia and Ecuador as an alternative for the local industry.
SEAN MCHUGH - Reasearch Biologist
Sean McHugh is a Large Mammal Research Biologist, very passionate about conserving biodiversity and habitats as a whole. His work and general research include predator ecology, animal behavior, habitat connectivity, mammalian diversity, land management, and protection of wild areas/hotspots. He believes that using animals as flagship or umbrella species we can provide a conservation blanket for the less known but equally important organisms that depend on the same environments.
His research methods are based on the use of remote camera traps. For wildlife, this type of studies is an effective non-invasive way to estimate species occupancy, diversity, densities, and abundance. As a conservation ecologist, he advocates not only for the species he wishes to study but also the habitat these organisms rely on. Sean believes that “we must look to conserve our remaining forest, natural habitats, or wild places and encourage wildlife-human coexistence for the increased quality of life nature provides us. Without the presence of these intact ecosystems and the countless organisms, they harbor the future of the human race is even more uncertain.”
CHRIS BRUCE - Advisor
Volunteers & Interns
INDRANI SARKAR – Salesforce Administrator
RICK BARAFF – Videographer/Editor
SHIKAR MADAN – Operations Intern
MIA COOPER – Marketing and Communications Intern
ASHISH AGARWAL – WRD and F3 Partnerships
AMELIA ABRUSCATO – Program Volunteer
VERONICA REBOLLO DIAZ – WRD Coordinator
NASSIM DEKKAR – GIS Specialist
JOHN AGGREY – WRD Coordinator
STEPHANIE TOFT – Engagement Coordinator
HANNAH MARTIN – Copywriter
MARSHALL HUGGINS – Engagement Support
BRIAN CRUZ – Project Intern
ASHISH ARGAWAL – Enterprise
RAINA CHINITZ – Ecuador Projects Coordinator
KATELYNN RIVERA – Communications Intern
XUJING YANG – Communications Analyst
KIM CHUA – Graphic Designer
PHOEBE YEUNG – Graphic Designer
CHRISTIAN TAM – WRD Coordinator
NIA GORBUNOVA – WRD Coordinator
MIHNEA PATRASCU – UI/UX Designer
ALEXANDER ROSENFELD – Copywriter
VALI BRINKMAN – Copywriter/PR
ROSHAN KHAN – Project Intern
EMMA GOINS – Engagement Coordinator
FERNANDA MACHICAO – Engagement Coordinator
AMALIA LLANO – Project Volunteer
JAMIE ZIAH – Program Volunteer
CARLA FRIAS DOMINGUEZ – Projects Intern
JOSEPH SCHWIETERMAN – Projects Assistant
NHI NGUYEN – UI/UX Designer
MARY EDWARDS – Outreach Coordinator
MEILIN CHAN, Z4T – Soya Team Lead
AUBREY SCHAFER – Enterprise Support