Galapagos Conservancy is led by a volunteer Board of Directors who bring a wide variety of expertise and enthusiasm to GC. Learn more about each below.
- Dr. Dan Sherman, Chair
- Dr. Charles Lane, Secretary
- Mr. Hurdle H. “Trip” Lea, Treasurer
- Mr. Billy Campbell
- Ms. Carolina Jijon
- Dr. Charles Knapp
- Dr. Stephen Mette
- Dr. Bartosz Ostenda
- Mr. Richard Polatty
- Mr. Kevin Sottak
- Ms. Ann Swanson
Chair: Dr. Dan Sherman
Dr. Sherman joined the Board in 2012 and, following his initial term, re-joined in 2019. He received his doctorate in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Sherman’s experience in the pharmaceutical industry includes research at the RW Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute and the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California.
His background also includes software and database development at Isis Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Sherman lives in Lafayette, California.
Secretary: Dr. Charles Lane
Dr. Charles Lane joined the Board in 2018. He is Senior Research Scientist with the US federal government who has been leading and conducting ecological research for over 15 years. Dr. Lane’s published research areas and expertise include systems and aquatic ecology, watershed hydrology, biogeochemistry, remote sensing, and geospatial analyses. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics (1995) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his Master of Science (2000) and Ph.D. (2003) in Systems Ecology from the University of Florida. Prior to earning his graduate degrees, he worked as an interpretive park ranger in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and at the Statue of Liberty National Monument, as well as serving as assistant to the President of the Sierra Club. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Treasurer: Mr. Hurdle H. “Trip” Lea
Mr. Lea joined the Board in 2019. He is the Chief Financial Officer of NuCapital Inc., a Curaçao-based renewable energy company with a target region in Central and South America and the Caribbean with an emphasis on the greenfield origination, development, operation, and ownership of utility-scale wind farms. In addition, he founded Futerra Fuels International, a company focused on sustainable energy generation through the conversion of biomass to biocoal. He has served on numerous not-for-profit and corporate board boards of private companies in the Caribbean Basin and broader Latin America, where he travels extensively on an ongoing basis. Mr. Lea comes from an asset management background having been an officer, director and partner of companies in the alternative asset arena, managing asset in venture capital, hedge fund, hedge fund-of-funds and private equity vehicles. He has served more than 15 years on Boards of Independent Schools in the Caribbean (St. Thomas and Curaçao). Mr. Lea holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance, Management and Meteorology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and currently resides in Curaçao in the Dutch Antilles.
Mr. Billy Campbell
Billy Campbell has served as the Managing Director of Royal Caribbean’s GoBe E-Commerce venture since 2016 following a four-year tenure as CEO of Forbes Travel Guide. A 20-year programming executive spanning leadership roles at broadcast and major cable networks, Campbell served as President of Discovery Networks US following his role as President of Miramax Television, where he led the production of Emmy-nominated “Project Greenlight.” A native of Greenville, SC, Campbell is a 1982 graduate of Harvard College and a 1987 graduate of the Harvard Business School (MBA). Campbell has served on the boards of Cricket Media, a leading education infrastructure company, The National Parks Conservation Association, The Jane Goodall Institute, and currently is on the board of the KentWool Corporation. While living in Washington, DC he served on the Board of Trustees for the National Symphony Orchestra and the Imagination Stage. Campbell is also an Eagle Scout.
Ms. Carolina Jijon
Ms. Carolina Jijon is the director of the Quito Botanical Gardens, a position she has held since 2004 and she concurrently holds the position of Executive Director of the Botanical Foundation of the Andes. As Director of the Botanical Gardens, she rebuilt and opened to the public the first Botanical garden in the city of Quito and created it as a primary reference facility for ex-situ conservation of plants. A dedicated conservationist, she has been a founding member and Board member of various international conservation organizations, including Fundación Natura where she was the president of the board of directors. She was also Executive President of the Quito Zoo. Ms. Jijon is a graduate of the Catholic University of Quito with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and is a published author on the subject of conservation management.
Dr. Charles Knapp
Dr. Charles Knapp joined the Board in 2020. He is Vice President of Conservation Research at Shedd Aquarium and has been conducting research in the wider Caribbean for 25 years. Using iguanas as model organisms, his research focuses primarily on understanding the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on endangered taxa and designing conservation strategies to prevent further population declines and habitat degradation. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology (1991) from Southern Illinois University, and his Master of Science (1999) and Ph.D. (2005) in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida. He also was a Conservation Research Postdoctoral Fellow (2010) with the Institute for Conservation Research at the San Diego Zoo. He is co-chair of the IUCN Iguana Specialist Group, sits on the Board of Directors for the International Iguana Foundation, and is a science advisor to the Bahamas National Trust. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Dr. Stephen Mette
Dr. Mette joined the Board in 2016. He received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. Dr. Mette has broad experience in both academic medical centers and non-university healthcare systems as an expert in lung diseases and as a senior physician executive.
His current work is in healthcare delivery reform. He is employed as chief clinical officer at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and previously served in leadership positions with the Maine Medical Center and the Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Mette lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Dr. Bartosz Ostenda
Dr. Ostenda joined the Board in 2021. He is a partner at the global investment bank Goldman Sachs, serving as a member of the Healthcare Investment Banking team responsible for diagnostics and the life sciences tools sector. There he assists leading companies around the globe in obtaining funding and making investment decisions, many of which pertain to cutting-edge life sciences research. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Dr. Ostenda worked at Monitor Group and Global Prior Art. He earned his undergraduate degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard College in 1999 and MBA in Finance from Kellogg School of Management in 2005. Dr. Ostenda also serves on the board of Fondazione per i Collegi del Mondo Unito Stock Weinberg – Edward Sutcliffe supporting United World Colleges, a global movement focused on fostering international understanding through high school education.
Mr. Richard Polatty
Mr. Polatty joined the Board in 2016. He attended undergraduate school at Vanderbilt University and graduate school at Emory University (GA) in geology. He became a Galapagos guide in 1985 and has been working in the Islands as chief naturalist for International Nature and Culture Adventures (INCA) since 1990. Other endeavors have included working in the Antarctic since 1990 as expedition leader on various vessels and since the early 1990s he has been a research associate of Oceanites, which runs the Antarctic Site Inventory. He is also active in conservation programs on mainland Ecuador. Mr. Polatty lives on the island of Santa Cruz, Galapagos and Tumbaco, Ecuador.
Mr. Kevin Sottak
Kevin Sottak joined the Board in 2021. He currently serves as the Vice President of Advancement at The St. Paul’s Schools, a private, pre-K through 12 school in Baltimore County, Maryland. A 35-year professional in educational advancement, he previously served as Director of Development at the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies, Director of Grants and Major Gifts at the University of the Virgin Islands (St. Thomas), and Director of Communications at the Harvard School of Public Health. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in writing from Johns Hopkins University. He currently resides in Lutherville, Maryland, with his wife, Debby, and their two dogs.
Ms. Ann Swanson
Ms. Swanson joined the Board in 2018. She has served for the last 30 years as the Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative authority composed of legislators, governors and prominent citizens from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Swanson is widely recognized as a leader in crafting state and federal environmental law and forging regional partnerships. Previously she served as Grassroots Director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, coordinating all the CBF’s citizen involvement and as Assistant State Naturalist for the State of Vermont. She is trained in the sciences — as a field ecologist and wildlife biologist — with degrees from the University of Vermont and Yale University and has been honored with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from UVM and more than a dozen local, state and regional recognitions for her conservation leadership. She served on the Board of the UVM Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources for 19 years, 11 as Chair. Ms. Swanson lives in Annapolis, Maryland.
Last updated: January 2022
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