The National Wildlife Federation has numerous experts who welcome the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise through speaking engagements. If any of these individuals could make a contribution as a speaker at one of your upcoming meetings, conferences, or workshops, please contact Meshal DeSantis at DeSantisM@nwf.org.
President and Chief Executive Officer
O'Mara joined the National Wildlife Federation as President and CEO in 2014. Under O’Mara’s leadership, the National Wildlife Federation is focused on recovering America’s wildlife, improving management of and access to public lands, restoring America’s water bodies, advancing environmental education (including publishing Ranger Rick magazines), and connecting every American child with the great outdoors. Prior to the National Wildlife Federation, O’Mara led the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control as Cabinet Secretary from 2009 through 2014. In that position, Secretary O’Mara served as the state’s top natural resource official, and led the state’s efforts to conserve and restore wildlife and fishery habitat, improve air quality and public health, ensure access to clean water, expand outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities, and enhance the state’s resilience to extreme weather and other climate impacts.
Executive Vice President, Environmental Justice, Climate, and Community Revitalization
A renowned thought leader, international speaker, policy maker, community liaison, trainer, and facilitator, Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali uses a holistic approach to revitalizing vulnerable communities, and has worked with more than 500 domestic and international communities to secure environmental, health, and economic justice. Throughout his career, Mustafa has conducted more than 1,000 presentations across the country, including speeches, training, and guest lectures at over 100 colleges and universities. He is a former instructor at West Virginia University and Stanford University.
Before joining the National Wildlife Federation, Mustafa was the senior vice president for the Hip Hop Caucus, a national non-profit and non-partisan organization that connects the hip-hop community to the civic process to build power and create positive change. In his role, he led the strategic direction, expansion, and operation of the Hip Hop Caucus’ portfolio on climate, environmental justice, and community revitalization. Prior to joining the Hip Hop Caucus, Mustafa worked for 24 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Vice President, International Wildlife Conservation and Corporate Strategies
Bramble and her team at the National Wildlife Federation specialize in reducing the impacts of agricultural expansion, which can foster deforestation and climate pollution. She convinces global brands and retail chains to help reduce threats to wildlife habitat by demanding “deforestation free” commodities (such as soy, palm oil, beef and leather). A long-time participant in international conservation issues, Barbara works with the United Nations on the Sustainable Bioenergy for All initiative, the global Climate Change agreement, and the REDD+ program, a mechanism for compensating countries for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. She also promotes sustainable production of biofuels and biomass, chairs the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, and serves on the board of the Forest Stewardship Council.
Naturalist and Ambassador
As the National Wildlife Federation’s media spokesperson and naturalist, Mizejewski focuses on teaching the American public how to help wildlife and connect with nature in their own backyard. He was host and co-producer of the Animal Planet’s TV series Backyard Habitat, and has made appearances on gardening TV and radio shows including NBC’s Today Show and the Martha Stewart Show. Dave is author of Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife and the National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife and Weather newsletter.
Sr. Policy Director, Wildlife Hunting and Fishing
Leahy supports the restoration of all wildlife populations through his work on policy related to wildlife, hunting, fishing, and public lands. Leahy’s priorities include transforming wildlife conservation for the 21st century through funding and improving the Endangered Species Act and other wildlife laws; representing the conservation interests of hunters and anglers in healthy, abundant wildlife populations and habitat; and ensuring national forests, wildlife refuges, and other national lands remain in public ownership and are well managed. Leahy’s work is informed by over two decades of work to conserve wildlife and natural resources, and an interest in all things outdoors. Leahy has been Conservation Director for the Izaak Walton League of America; Rockies and Plains Director and Natural Resources Counsel for Defenders of Wildlife; and Forest Campaign Director for National Audubon Society. Mike enjoys getting out to hunt, fish, hike, and have fun in the outdoors. Leahy has a law degree from Georgetown University and studied Natural Resources at Cornell University.
Director of Legal Advocacy
Jim Murphy is the Director of Legal Advocacy for the National Wildlife Federation where he coordinates legal advocacy across the Federation’s national programs with a focus on renewable energy and clean water. Jim also directs a partnership between the Federation and Vermont Law School’s Environmental Advocacy Clinic, where the Clinic represents NWF on high impact legal matters, offering the Federation a powerful partner in protecting wildlife, habitat and our natural resources while also training the next generation of conservation advocates. He has been with the National Wildlife Federation since 2003, having worked on environmental issues such as endangered species, and the National Environmental Policy Act. He has represented the National Wildlife Federation and other conservation groups in several precedent setting cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Circuit Courts. He has been extensively published in law reviews and other legal publications on issues such as water policy and law, transportation and smart growth, and energy production. Prior to joining the National Wildlife Federation in 2003, Murphy did work with the Conservation Law Foundation and was in private practice for four years. He has previously worked on Capitol Hill and has an LL. M., summa cum laude, from Vermont Law School, a J.D. from Boston College Law School, and B.A. from the University of Vermont.
Editorial Director, National Wildlife magazine
Jennifer Wehunt is the editorial director of National Wildlife® magazine, an award-winning publication that more than 400,000 subscribers receive as a benefit of membership in the National Wildlife Federation. Published four times a year, National Wildlife is the only national magazine devoted exclusively to wildlife and habitat conservation in North America, covering wildlife science, environmental justice, nature education, wildlife gardening and more. Wehunt previously spent five years as the editorial director of the Appalachian Mountain Club and another five as a staff editor at Chicago magazine. Directly before joining NWF in 2023, she served as the Webby Award-winning digital editor of the PBS series FRONTLINE. A former Ranger Rick® subscriber, Wehunt received her bachelor’s from Trinity University and her master’s from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she subsequently taught undergraduates as an adjunct faculty member.
Regional Executive Director, Northeast Regional Center
As the Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife Federation's Northeast Regional Center, Curtis is working with staff and state affiliates to combat climate change, jump-start a clean energy economy, safeguard wildlife and natural resources, and connect people with nature. He works with the region's affiliates, other organizations, and government officials to advance key policy priorities such as national clean energy/climate legislation, getting Northeast states to work together to safeguarding wildlife from global warming, and winning funding for key conservation projects. Some of those projects include expanding wildlife corridors and habitat, and supporting improved planning and research for natural resource protection.
Sr. Director, Water Resources and Coastal Policy
Ritter leads the development and execution of the National Wildlife Federation’s national water resources and coastal policy priorities. She oversees campaigns to protect clean water and wetlands, restore America’s iconic coastal ecosystems, and increase the resilience of communities and wildlife in the face of climate change and natural disaster events. She also works to coordinate and steer the Federation’s federal advocacy work to restore the Gulf of Mexico region—from the Everglades in South Florida, to the Mississippi River Delta, to Texas estuaries.
Ritter came to the National Wildlife Federation from the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, where she covered the oceans and atmosphere portfolio under the leadership of Senators Rockefeller and Nelson. She has also worked for a number of national non-profits on federal and state policy issues ranging from fisheries management to water resources to coastal community resilience. She holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University’s Nicholas School, and a B.S. in Zoology from North Carolina State University. Ritter enjoys the amazing food, art, and culture in her home of Washington, D.C, but also loves to escape the city to hike and camp in the many treasured natural places around our country.
Associate Vice President of Climate and Energy
Heyck-Williams leads the National Wildlife Federation’s climate and energy policy program, directing and representing strategic priorities at the federal level as they relate to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, advancing wildlife-responsible renewable energy, and boosting carbon removal strategies.
She joined the National Wildlife Federation in 2015, having worked for nearly eight years performing government relations for The Pew Charitable Trusts on projects pertaining to clean energy, agricultural use of antibiotics, and other environmental and public health issues. Heyck-Williams also served as a deputy global warming campaign director for the National Environmental Trust, a research fellow at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, and a professional staff member focusing on climate change and air quality issues for former Chairman Jim Jeffords (I-VT) on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Heyck-Williams received a Master of Environmental Management degree in 2000 from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a B.A. in international studies in 1995 from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Heyck-Williams lives with her family and their corgi, Frodo, in Arlington, Virginia, and loves to get outside whenever possible to soak up the sunshine and go on a good, long walk.
Vice President of Equity and Justice
Coleman leads the effort to fully operationalize equitable policies and practices and supports the organization to actively challenge systemic racism. She drives culture change by reframing how the organization thinks about power, while also encouraging others to develop their own expertise on equity and justice in their work.
Coleman is an expert in large-scale ecosystem restoration and coalition-building and was previously the Director of the Choose Clean Water Coalition, a 230-member advocacy organization focused on protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Chanté is a member of the Green Leadership Trust, was named a “rising star” by Green 2.0, is a 2017 Environmental Leadership Program Fellow and a 2020 Better Selves Fellow. She frequently appears as a speaker, trainer, and facilitator at conferences across the country.
Head of the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife™ program and Certified Wildlife Habitat®
Mary leads the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife™ program and Certified Wildlife Habitat® as an ambassador for native plants and the wildlife they support. Her work ensures all habitat programs and resources are rooted in sustainable practices and the latest science. Since 1973, the Garden for Wildlife™ program has been the nation’s oldest and largest Backyard Habitat program generating and supporting millions of wildlife gardeners in North America. Since Mary arrived in 2014, the Certified Wildlife Habitat® program has grown by 64% and has tripled its email subscriptions.
Mary’s strategic leadership aligns the native plant habitat mission across National Wildlife Federation’s, community initiatives, partner networks and external messaging. She collaborates with leading entomologists, pollinator conservationists, federal agencies, the organization’s science team and trend researchers to provide substantive content, to the Native Plant Finder™, Garden for Wildlife resources, and Spanish-language resources. This cross functional strategy has fostered public participation among millions of wildlife gardeners, more than doubled certifications, increased science and civic partnerships and created a Garden for Wildlife state network of 26 affiliate partners.
In 2020, inspired by the work native plants do to restore habitat, and based on consumer demand research conducted with the National Gardening Association Research and input from a survey of four hundred native plant growers nationwide, Mary created the Garden for Wildlife Native Plant Collections™. Curation of these collections was based on the development of ecoregional Keystone Plant lists in collaboration with Dr. Doug Tallamy and his University of Delaware research team. The goal of the social enterprise incubator was to engage everyday people in solutions for critical wildlife loss and climate impact and, connect local native plant growers to consumers through ecommerce. In the two years of the pilot launch (2021-2022), sales grew by 300%, distribution expanded from twenty-one to thirty-eight states and from two to five regional growers.
In coordination with the White House Office of Science and Policy, Mary co-founded the National Pollinator Garden Network in 2015 to launch the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge which created over a million pollinator gardens in three years. This partnership involved more than 50 national organizations with a third from the commercial garden trade, such as growers and independent garden centers. During this same time period, Mary launched the Butterfly Heroes™ Pledge which resulted in close to 500,000 participants receiving native milkweed seed to create monarch gardens nationwide.
Sr. Director of Agriculture Policy
Glaser leads the Federation’s work on agriculture policy efforts such as the Farm Bill to protect and enhance wildlife habitat on working landscapes and to ensure funding for agriculture conservation programs. She represents the National Wildlife Federation in multiple coalitions and serves on a federal advisory committee on Biomass Research and Development. In addition, she helps organize the biennial America’s Grasslands Conference.
Glaser joined the National Wildlife Federation in 2010. She holds dual master’s degrees from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and School of Public Health. She previously worked for Beyond Pesticides, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, the Ecology Center, and Food and Water Watch. She hails from Baltimore, Maryland, and completed her undergraduate degree at Oberlin College in Biology and Environmental Studies. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, fostering rescue animals, and spending time outdoors.
Vice President for Environmental Justice, Health and Community Revitalization, Conservation
Hollis leads the environmental justice team to advance climate justice policy and programs. With more than 20 years of experience in the environmental justice and public health arena as both an environmental toxicologist and an environmental attorney, Hollis works at the intersection of environmental racism, environmental justice, health and climate change.
Hollis works with environmental justice communities and other disenfranchised communities to identify priority health concerns and data gaps related to climate change and other environmental assaults. She evaluates environmental, climate and energy policy approaches for their ability to effectively address community issues and to benefit disadvantaged and underserved communities. Hollis believes that the path to success lies in partnerships with communities and community organizations.
Sr. Director of Individual Philanthropy
Brian Dulski is the Director for Individual Philanthropy, partnering with the Federation’s most dedicated supporters to match their philanthropic passions with organizational priorities. Brian started with the Federation in 2008 and spends much of his time on-the-road visiting with Federation donors while working to recruit new supporters to the cause.
Sr. Industrial Policy Specialist, Climate and Energy Policy
Dr. Simone H. Stewart works as the senior industrial policy specialist on the Climate and Energy Policy team, with a portfolio focused on carbon management strategies like carbon capture, utilization, and storage, carbon dioxide removal technologies, as well as other strategies to aid in a just green transition for difficult to decarbonize sectors such as energy and industry. Her work covers the intersections of emerging technologies and environmental justice across areas such as policy, industry, NGO, and public education, and collaboration with government agencies.
Simone joined the National Wildlife Federation in 2021 after receiving her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Santa Barbara, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. At UCSB her research focused on investigating the fluid mechanics of fluxes over rough surfaces, with applications in large-scale direct air carbon capture and clean energy architecture. During that time, Simone also worked as the graduate assistant for the UCSB Blum Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Democracy, where she led a variety of programming, created detailed info campaigns centered around justice and community enfranchisement, and helped develop a comprehensive People’s Guide to the Green New Deal rooted in the tenants of environmental and economic justice. Prior to graduate school, she received dual bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Spanish Language, Literature, and History from William Jewell College.
Clean Energy Transmission Policy Specialist and Staff Attorney
Veronica Ung-Kono serves as the Clean Energy Transmission Policy Specialist and Staff Attorney at National Wildlife Federation (NWF) with the Climate and Energy Policy program team where she leads NWF’s Transmission Initiative. Her portfolio applies her expertise in energy markets and regulation to decarbonize the United States by creating equitable, regenerative law and policy to improve public health and protect our natural ecosystems and wildlife.
Ms. Ung-Kono joined NWF in 2022 after the Department of Energy appointed her to a Solar Energy Innovators Fellowship at the Vermont Public Utility Commission. Ms. Ung-Kono earned a BA from Le Moyne College, and in 2021 received her J.D. and Master’s in Energy Regulation and Policy from Vermont Law School. Ms. Ung-Kono also serves as a Rx Racial Healing Circle Facilitator and Program Manager of the Emerging Leaders Cohort of the Cancer Free Economy Network.
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