Leadership and Board

With their pivotal direction and support, the leaders of the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund pave the way for our army of action-takers to make their voices heard.

Colin O'Mara

Collin O’Mara
President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation

Collin O’Mara serves as President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, America’s largest wildlife conservation organization with 51 state and territorial affiliates and nearly six million hunters, anglers, birders, gardeners, hikers, paddlers, and wildlife enthusiasts. 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, and connecting every American child with the great outdoors.

O’Mara serves on the Wildlife Hunting and Heritage Conservation Council, the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, and the Blue Ribbon Panel for Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources. He also represents the National Wildlife Federation as a member of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Policy Council, and the BlueGreen Alliance. He is regularly called before Congress to testify about wildlife, water, and sportsmen issues. 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.

Board of Directors

(as of May 2018)

Martha Darling

Martha Darling is a graduate of Reed College and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. Following her graduate work, she was a freelance consultant to OECD in Paris for four years before joining the Battelle Seattle Research Center as a research social scientist. She then served as a special assistant to the Governor of Washington. As a 1977-78 White House Fellow, she served as Executive Assistant to Secretary of Treasury Mike Blumenthal. Later she was Senior Legislative Aide to Senator Bill Bradley, covering the Finance Committee and the federal budget. On her return to Seattle, she was vice president for strategic planning for Seattle-First National Bank and then, on loan, headed the education study of the newly formed Washington Business Roundtable. Recruited to Boeing, she became 747 Commitments Manager and then staffed the CEO and other senior officers on public policy issues. She retired from Boeing in 1999.

Martha serves on a variety of boards, including the Salzburg Global Seminar, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (former chair), PSI’s Maverick Collective, Reed College Trustees, National Wildlife Federation President’s Advisory Council, the National Committee for the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and the Ann Arbor Symphony (former chair). She is also the former board chair of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and served on the Council on Foundation’s Community Foundations Leadership Team. She is founding co-chair of Washtenaw County’s early childhood initiative, Success by Six.

In 2016 Martha was recognized by the National Wildlife Federation as its Conservationist of the Year. Martha’s grandfather was first cousin to National Wildlife Federation founder Jay Norwood (“Ding”) Darling and she is proud to extend his legacy of conserving our nation’s wildlife and natural resources into the 21st century.

Bruce Wallace

Bruce Wallace served as chair of the National Wildlife Federation Board of Directors from 2015-2017.

As a lawyer Bruce has specialized in environmental matters for the past 25 years, with a focus on natural resource protection on behalf of such organizations and coalitions as MUCC (FERC Relicensing Coalition), Michigan Environmental Trust, the Great Lakes Commission, National Wildlife Federation (e.g., Great Lakes Compact, Sulfide Mining Litigation, Pipeline Litigation) and numerous organizations, local governments, and homeowner groups litigating groundwater, air pollution, and wildlife protection issues.

As a member of the National Wildlife Federation Board of Directors, Bruce has served on the Audit, Finance, Credentials & Affiliate Standards, and Ad Hoc Governance Committees as well as the Annual Meeting Task Force. He has chaired the Conservation Programs Planning Committee, the State Power Building Task Force, and co-chaired the Presidential Search Committee. He currently serves as past chair of the National Wildlife Federation Board, co-chair of the DEIJ Committee, and Board Member of the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund.

Bruce is a long-time board member of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. He is author of a book for practitioners entitled Environmental Litigation and is an active member of the National Wildlife Federation’s Wolfpack, serving on its Executive Committee, Energy Committee, and Pipeline Committee.

Stephen K. Allinger

Steve Allinger has worked diligently to further the cause of conservation within the New York state government, including positions with the New York state legislature, the governor, and the New York City Board of Education, where he served as Executive Director of Intergovernmental Relations. Steve was formerly Director of Legislation with New York State United Teachers. In his previous position as Deputy Budget Director for the New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee, Steve drafted and negotiated the legislation and budgets for a significant land acquisition and preservation program, a $2 billion Environmental Bond Act, the state’s water pollution revolving loan fund, a hazardous waste superfund, and hundreds of millions of dollars in federally mandated energy efficiency and conservation investments, as well as the establishment of New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). As part of the EPF, Steve set up the Adirondack Wildlife Program that, among other projects, reintroduced Canada lynx to the Adirondacks and studied the feasibility of reintroducing moose and other extirpated species to that region.

Steve is a former board member of the National Wildlife Federation and served as board chair from 2011-2013.

Cristina Antelo

A fierce believer in Thomas Edison’s “Everything comes to h[er] who hustles while [she] waits,” Cristina is a senior Democratic strategist and serves as Ferox’s chief executive officer. Cristina has spent more than a decade representing multinational corporations with her trademark hustle at Washington’s best-known public affairs firms.

From Wall Street to K Street, Cristina has set herself apart as a trusted advisor, skilled advocate, and effective negotiator who isn’t afraid of long, hard work. She began her lobbying career in 2004, immediately representing Fortune 500 clients at top-ranked, bipartisan government and public affairs firms in Washington. Her past clients include major chain retailers, spirits companies, national theme and amusement parks, pharmaceutical firms, and nutrition and wellness companies. Her policy areas of expertise include financial services, tax, trade, border security, transportation and infrastructure, and crisis management.

Featured in Washingtonian magazine in “Success Stories of Washingtonians of Latino and Hispanic Descent” and identified as a “Power Player” and “Most Influential 40 and Under Leader” in other regional publications, Cristina provides insider advice on how public policy is created and communicated.  As a founding member and former president of the Hispanic Lobbyists Association and serving as the interim CEO of the nonprofit Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), Cristina has served as both a leader and an advocate, promoting communication, ethics, education, and bipartisanship.

Today, Cristina is active in charitable work, contributing her business acumen, political savvy, and trademark hustle as vice-chair of the CHCI, serving under Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) and on the board of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s National Capital Chapter. Cristina is also on the board of directors for her alma mater, the Brooks School, and volunteers with Common Threads, focusing on nutrition education for children.

Jameson S. French

Jamey French is CEO of Northland Forest Products, Inc., a hardwood processor, distributor, and exporter based in New Hampshire and Virginia, and also a partner of Meadowsend Timberlands, LLP. He is currently the chair of the Land Trust Alliance, a trustee of the America n Forest Foundation, vice chair of Friends Forever International, a trustee of the Davis Conservation Foundation, and a director of the New Mexico-based Union Land and Grazing Company. He is a former chair and current policy chair of the Washington, D.C.-based Hardwood Federation.

He is past chair of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC-US), the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the Quebe-Labrador Foundation, New Mexico-based Cottonwood Gulch Foundation, the Hardwood Manufacturers Association, the American Hardwood Export Council, the Portsmouth Music Hall, and Strawbery Banke Museum. He also served as a director and policy chair of the New Hampshire Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and was treasurer and vice chair of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

Mary C. Harris

Mary Harris has been an active National Wildlife Federation member and volunteer since 1994, serving on the Federation [(c)(3)] Board of Directors and as endowment trustee, and is currently on the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund [(c)(4)] Board of Directors.

Mary was executive director of the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board and special assistant for government operations to Pennsylvania Governor Milton J. Shapp. She was a founding member of the Pennsylvania Women’s Political Caucus, and active in numerous national, state, and local political campaigns. She has served on numerous public and nonprofit boards and commissions, including the International Conservation and Education Fund and the Trust for Lead Poisoning Prevention.

Before retiring in 2014, Mary had a long career in sustainable development and natural resource management as president of Public Management Consultants, Inc. (Philadelphia) and its successor companies; managing consultant for PA Consulting Group, North America (Washington D.C. and London); and vice president of Winrock International (Arkansas).

Don Hooper

After teaching three years in Botswana as a Peace Corps volunteer, Don Hooper hired instructors for the Community College of Vermont. He became membership director o f the National Wildlife Federation’s affiliate, the Vermont Natural Resources Council, in 1979 and was VNRC’s acting executive director in 1983 and 1984, just prior to representing Randolph, Brookfield, and Braintree in the Vermont legislature for 8 years. Don served as secretary of state for Vermont before working as New England regional representative for the National Wildlife Federation. In his National Wildlife Federation conservation job he served as an ex officio member of the VNRC board, on which he now serves as an elected member.

Don and Allison Hooper live on a hill farm in Brookfield, Vermont, where their three 20-something sons Miles, Sam, and Jay learned to hay, chainsaw, milk goats, and play horseshoes. For more than three decades, Allison’s business, Vermont Creamery, has sold specialty goat cheese and premium butter from coast to coast. Recently “retired,” Don subscribes to Chief Seattle’s admonition that, “We haven’t inherited this land from our parents so much as borrowed it from our children.”

Mary Van Kerrebrook

Mary Van Kerrebrook is a Houston native and long-time Texas conservatio nist. Just out of law school, she volunteered to assist the Texas Conservation Alliance (formerly Texas Committee on Natural Resources) in its work to protect the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker in Texas National Forests. This long effort ultimately saved the woodpecker from extirpation in Texas, and resulted in what remains a landmark Endangered Species Act holding. Mary continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Texas Conservation Alliance, and was instrumental in the Alliance’s successful reconfiguration after the death of its iconic founder, Ned Fritz.

Mary helped organize the Katy Prairie Conservancy, a land trust working to protect a sustainable part of the Katy Prairie west of Houston. She obtained the Conservancy’s seminal funding and served for many years as its board chair. In that role she oversaw the organization’s growth from an unlikely vision through the point at which 20,000 acres of vital wildlife habitat had been protected on the Katy Prairie.  Mary has also served on the board of directors of the Galveston Bay Foundation, and helped found the Galveston Houston Association for Smog Prevention (currently Houston Air Alliance). Mary currently serves on the National Wildlife Federation Board of Directors as vice chair of the Central Region.

Mary is a lawyer by profession. She holds an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and a law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law.

Rob Vernon

Rob Vernon is responsible for overseeing all communications and marketing functions of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), including media, internal communications, and public opinion polling. He also serves as the main spokesperson for the Association, and is the AZA staff liaison to the Diversity Committee, Public Relations Committee, and Trends Committee. Rob also leads the Public Engagement & Action efforts for AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction.

Prior to joining AZA, Rob worked at two international public relations firms, developing public affairs communications and public policy strategies for a variety of corporate, government, and nonprofit clients. Before joining the private sector, he held senior positions with several state- and federally-elected officials on political campaigns, and at a trade association and a political youth-focused nonprofit.

Rob earned his MBA from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and his bachelor’s degree in political science from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana.

Beth Viola

Beth A. Viola is a senior policy advisor in Holland & Knight’s Washington, D.C., office and co-chairs the firm’s Energy Team. Ms. Viola’s practice areas include energy and environmental consulting, trade, appropriations, and public relations. The primary focus of her practice is working with clean energy technology companies to create sound public policy drivers for their businesses. She  works with business leaders and nonprofits to advance effective climate change strategies that result in economic and environmental benefits.

Previously, Ms. Viola served as a senior advisor to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. During the last year of her tenure, she was one of Vice President Gore’s chief environmental advisors and served as a senior policy advisor during his presidential campaign. She has also served as a senior advisor for energy and environmental policy with the John Kerry for President and the Kerry-Edwards campaigns, a former congressional staff member for U.S. Representatives John Edward Porter of Illinois and Claudine Schneider of Rhode Island, and a facilitator for climate change discussions at the Clinton Global Initiative from 2006-2008.

In 2016, Beth was named an Energy & Environmental Trailblazer by the National Law Journal. Beth also serves on the advisory boards of Planet Forward and Sundrop Fuels, Inc. She has been very engaged with the Washington Humane Society and co-chaired their largest annual fundraising event for the last six years.

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