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Advisory Board

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s board members provide advice, fundraising assistance, and promote the institute’s conservation activities around the world. 

Hal Brierley

Hal Brierley is CEO of The Brierley Group, LLC advising its clients on effective customer engagement strategies. A lifelong entrepreneur, Hal has launched three ventures focused on customer relationships.

As an Executive in Residence at SMU Cox School of Business, Hal has unwritten the Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement, offering MBA candidates a marketing specialization in customer engagement.

For thirty years, Hal served as Chief Loyalty Architect for Brierley & Partners, a specialist in the design and operation of customer loyalty programs. He has counseled some 175 major brands, including American Express, AT&T, Hertz, Hilton, Jaguar, Neiman Marcus, Nike, 7-Eleven, Sony, and United Airlines. He served as Brierley’s CEO through 2006 and its Chairman through 2015, when the company was acquired by Nomura Research Institute.

In 1999, Hal founded e-Rewards, Inc., now Dynata, the world’s largest online market research panel, serving as Chairman and CEO for ten years. Dynata has over ten million panelists in 36 countries, providing survey responses for some 2,500 market research firms.
He began his entrepreneurial career in 1969 as co-founder of Epsilon Data Management, a pioneer in database marketing, serving as its President and CEO for eleven years.

In 1980, Hal served as a consultant for American Airlines’ AAdvantage program, the nation’s first frequent traveler program. As Vice President of Sales and Advertising for Pan American World Airways, he launched WorldPass, the first global frequent traveler program. He later was Senior Vice President of Marketing for Continental Airlines. 
He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at Harvard Business School, where he has underwritten a Endowed Chair, the Executive Board of SMU Cox School of Business, the Advisory Board of the Smithsonian National Zoo, the Executive Board of The Better Angels Society (supporting Ken Burns’ documentary work for PBS), and the Board of NPR’s Foundation.

He serves on the Boards of the AT&T Center for the Performing Arts, the Dallas Symphony, the Baylor Health Care System Foundation, North Texas Public Broadcasting, and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Foundation.

He graduated with a BS in Chemical Engineering with highest honors from the University of Maryland in 1965 and with an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1968 as a Baker Scholar with High Honors. Hal and his wife Diane live in Highland Park, Texas.

Lili Thomas Buffett

Lili Thomas Buffett is a wealth advisor at J.P. Morgan, where she works closely with foundations, endowments, and philanthropic families to help them fulfill their purpose and positively influence the community around them.

With a long history of advocacy for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Lili most recently served on the Goalkeepers Advisory Board for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an organization whose mission is to create an environment where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life. Lili currently serves as the board chair and president of KidsOR US and is a board member of the Captain Planet Foundation.

She serves on several other nonprofit committees, including the Associates Committee at the Society for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which raises funds for pediatric cancer research. She also serves on a program committee for the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.

A graduate of Columbia University, Lili holds a B.A. in Economics and Philosophy. She currently resides in New York.

Mary Cook

Mary Cook of Dallas, Texas, is president of the Eugene McDermott Foundation. She is a founding member of the Trinity River Audubon Center, was the chair of the Trinity Trust Board for the overall Trinity River Project (of which the Trinity River Audubon Center is the cornerstone), executive committee on the Dallas Museum of Art Board, and on the executive committee of the Dallas Zoological Society. She enjoys spending her time with her dog and at her ranch in North Texas.

James Coss

James Coss is an attorney and managing principal of a closely-held real estate business, overseeing the investment in and operation of agricultural business interests, mobile home communities, and residential real estate in the Midwest and Southwestern U.S. James is responsible for the strategic direction of the organization, capital allocation and investment decisions, and overall management of the combined enterprises. James considers himself lucky to work alongside family and friends and is proud of his history of building consensus to achieve consistent, profitable results for a diverse group of stakeholders.

Previously, James worked as a tax attorney in Ernst & Young’s Washington National Office. In that capacity, James advised numerous Fortune 500 clients, managing teams of attorneys and advisors to design and implement complex restructurings and spin-offs, as well as seeking and obtaining private letter rulings from the Internal Revenue Service. James was also recognized for his technical contributions to the field of tax law, co-authoring numerous articles for publication and serving as a member of the Executive Board of the New York State Bar Association’s Tax Section at the time of his retirement.

James grew up on a horse ranch in Cannon Falls, Minn., where he developed his love for animals and nature. James went on to obtain a B.A. (with honors) from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. and L.L.M (with honors) from Northwestern University School of Law.

James lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Jamie, son Charlie, age 4, and their dogs Piglet and Beans. James and Jamie are committed philanthropists whose charitable interests include nature and conservancy, educational and material support for young children and disadvantaged families, and programs aimed at protecting the most vulnerable residents of the District of Columbia and surrounding area. James and Jamie are longtime supporters of the Smithsonian and the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, serving as members of the Smithsonian Regional Council. They are also involved in several local charities, including Feed the Fridge, the DC Diaper Bank, Miriam’s Kitchen, and the National Women’s History Museum, where Jamie serves on the executive board. In their spare time, James and Jamie like to spend time with family, explore the outdoors, and take Charlie to the Zoo to visit his favorite animal, the sand cat.

Stephanie Cutter

Stephanie Cutter is a founding partner at Precision Strategies, a communications, digital and data targeting consulting firm in Washington D.C. and New York City. Her political and communications experience spans two decades in public service and the private sector; crafting communications and crisis-management strategies for the White House, US Senate, and the nation's leading political campaigns and corporations. After helping to elect the president in 2008 and serving in the White House, Cutter was President Obama’s 2012 deputy campaign manager in charge of communications, media, policy, and research as well as being a member of the senior strategy team.

Cutter sits on the boards of Organizing for Action, the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, and in 2013, she was appointed to the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities.

A Massachusetts native, Cutter lives in Washington, D.C., and is a graduate of Smith College and Georgetown University Law Center.

James Dinegar


James Dinegar (Emeritus) is the former President and CEO of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. Jim served as president and CEO of the organization from July of 2006 through September 2017, overseeing an organization that represents major business interests throughout Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Suburban Maryland. The Board of Trade puts its focus on the critical issues facing the Greater Washington Region: transportation; emergency preparedness and business continuity; green as a competitive advantage; and the workforce in regard to recruiting and retaining highly qualified people The Board of Trade is steadily growing in size and influence as it celebrates its 120th year of existence. Throughout its history, the Board of Trade has been instrumental in creating and protecting the environs of Greater Washington for the population and business. 

Before coming to the Board of Trade, Mr. Dinegar served as chief operating officer of the American Institute for Architects (AIA) where he was responsible for the overall operation of a 77,000-member organization and directed strategic efforts in the areas of education, technology, international collaboration, organizational alliances, and government advocacy. Mr. Dinegar is a 30-year resident of the Greater Washington region. He is a graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and he resides in Arlington, Va.

Joan Donner


Joan Donner (Emeritus) of Colorado Springs, Colorado, is President of Twende, LTD, a Colorado- and Nairobi-based company that leads and coordinates safaris in Africa. She has been active on a number of boards and committees in the Washington, D.C. area, including the Smithsonian National Board, National Museum of the American Indian, and the James Smithson Society.

Ginni Dreier

Ginni Dreier, a Santa Barbara, Calif., resident since 2000, is an active philanthropist, volunteering her time and contributing to numerous organizations including the Santa Barbara Police Activities League, Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara, the Teddy Bear Foundation, and Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

A long time Board member for the Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens, she first got involved in 2001, when she sponsored the zoo’s male African lion, named Chadwick, in honor of her husband Chad. Since then, the Dreier family has supported every major capital campaign, along with sponsoring and naming many of the zoo’s most iconic animals.

Dreier also serves or has served on the Board of the Directors for the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Board of Directors for Loyola Marymount University, the Women’s Leadership Council of Loyola Marymount (founding member), the Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation and the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation. She is a fierce advocate for children, animals, education, and the arts.

James “Jim” Dyer

James “Jim” Dyer is a prominent policy strategist with a wealth of experience in the White House and on Capitol Hill. Dyer is a premier analyst of legislative issues with a tight grasp on the intersection of politics and policy. He works closely with clients in government relations and international sectors, including major defense firms, smaller research consortia, and foreign policy advocates.

Dyer has more than 30 years of experience working with the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, including serving as clerk and staff director for 10 years. During that time, he supervised a 125-person professional staff in discharging the Committee's responsibility to produce 13 annual appropriations bills. He also served as the principal committee liaison to leadership and assisted leadership staff in planning the House of Representatives agenda. Prior to his work with the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, Dyer served as the deputy assistant for legislative affairs for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush; as the principal deputy assistant for the U.S. Department of State; and as a budget consultant to the Secretary of the Navy.

In addition to his extensive public service, Dyer worked extensively in the private sector, serving as the director of government relations for Philip Morris International and for the Power Systems Division of United Technologies Corp.

He is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and holds the distinguished public service award from the U.S. Navy.

Elliott Ferguson

Elliott Ferguson is President and CEO of Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, D.C.

A 33-year veteran of the travel and hospitality industry, Ferguson leads DDC’s efforts to generate economic opportunity for the District through meetings and tourism, overseeing the organization’s convention and tourism sales, marketing, finance and business development operations.

Ferguson celebrated his 20-year anniversary with DDC in December 2021. He began his tenure in December 2001 as the Vice President of Convention Sales, became Senior Vice President of Convention Sales and Services in 2005 and has served as President and CEO since 2009. Prior to DDC, he was Director of Sales and Vice President of Sales at the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and Director of Sales at the Savannah CVB.

In January 2021, he was named Board Chair of Tourism Diversity Matters, an organization focused on creating diversity, equity and inclusion opportunities at all levels of the workforce. He has been instrumental in advancing conversations about race and racism throughout the hospitality industry.

Ferguson was National Chair of the board of directors for the U.S. Travel Association from February 2019 to February 2021 and is currently chair of the compensation committee. He serves on the board of Brand USA from December 2021-December 2024.

As the tourism industry faces the COVID-19 pandemic, Ferguson is focused on strategic recovery with many organizations including DDC’s Recovery Advisory Committee, Connected DMV, the Downtown Recovery Work Group.

He is on the board or a member of: Advisory Board of the Smithsonian National Zoo; DC Jazz Festival; Ryan Kerrigan “Blitz for the Better” Foundation and the United Way of the National Capital Area. He represents DDC as part of the Hospitality Alliance of Washington, D.C.

Ferguson received a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Business Administration from Savannah State University. His many industry memberships include Professional Conference Management Association, International Association of Exhibition Executives, Destinations International, National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, Meeting Professionals International and American Society of Association Executives.

Ferguson and his wife, Telesa Via, also a hospitality industry veteran, are longtime residents of Capitol Hill. He is active with Capital Partners for Education, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Delta Sigma Pi.

Rina Kupferschmid-Rojas

Rina Kupferschmid-Rojas is the Chief Sustainability Officer for Fidelity Investments. She was previously Global Head of Sustainable Investing at UBS Wealth Management. Prior to that she was Managing Partner and CEO of ESG Analytics, an environmental, social and governance-oriented investment consultancy, and later Social Impact Director at MasterCard. She is also an adjunct Professor at Columbia University on Sustainable and Impact Investing and since 2013 has been one of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Young Global Leaders and is a member of the WEF expert network. Rina holds a MA from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and Certificates on Innovating for Sustainability and Corporate Performance from Harvard Business School and Certificates on Public Policy for the 21st Century from the Harvard Kennedy School and Public Policy and Leadership from Yale. Rina is also member of the Women Leadership Board at the Harvard Kennedy School. She started her banking career 29 years ago with an apprenticeship.

Michael Lefenfeld

Michael Lefenfeld, is President and Chief Executive Officer at Hexion Inc. and serves as a member of the Board of Managers for ASP Resins Holdings LP.

Michael joined Hexion in January 2023. Prior to joining Hexion and beginning in 2018, Michael served as President and CEO of Cyanco International, where he led the world’s largest manufacturer of gold and silver extraction materials, while driving the effort to make recovery safer and more efficient. From 2007 to 2017, he was President and CEO of SIGNa Chemistry, a global chemical manufacturer of reactive metal materials serving oil & gas recovery, petrochemical refining, alternative energy and chemical processing industries. Michael also founded Alkami Consulting Group, a technology investment advisory group, and Blood Gas Diagnostics, a medical device technology growth company.

Lefenfeld built his career around the belief that many of the solutions our world seeks — better healthcare, cleaner manufacturing, and sustainable energy — can be achieved with better science. He has dedicated his career to cutting-edge scientific research and his work has led to safer industrial environments, better medical technologies, and more effective, affordable energy solutions. Prior to SiGNa, Lefenfeld embraced his ability for developing and commercializing new technology and launched and sold three other companies by the time he was 30. He has been widely recognized for his efforts including: World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, ICIS Top Chemical Power Player to Watch, Cedars-Sinai Award for Technology Innovation in Medical Devices, Red Herring Magazine’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 35, Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30, BusinessWeek’s Best Entrepreneurs Under 25. He also holds more than 50 patents in areas including medical devices, controlled release, electronics, chemical reactivity and information technology.

Lefenfeld has a Master of Philosophy in Chemistry from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. Lefenfeld is an annual lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and is an adjunct faculty scholar at Michigan State University. He is a member of the business advisory board for the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, the board of entrepreneurs for Venture for America, the board of directors for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (NYC Chapter) and the advisory board for Washington University of St. Louis’ EECE.

Kenneth "Ken" Lore, Chair

Kenneth "Ken" Lore is an attorney and partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP in the Real Estate practice. Lore has written extensively on all aspects of real estate law, and his articles have been published in Legal Times, New York Law Journal and American University Law Review. He also lectures on real estate finance at industry forums and seminars. Lore is frequently interviewed by the real estate and general press for commentary on industry developments and has been a featured speaker on regional and national news broadcasts.

 His community activities:  Chair, the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute Advisory Board; National Housing and Rehabilitation Association, Outside General Counsel; National Archives Foundation, Former Chair, President and Board Member; Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, Former Chair; American University Washington College of Law, Dean’s Advisory Committee Member and Former Chair.

Angela "Angie" Marriott


Angela “Angie” Marriott (Emeritus) is a member of the Marriott Family, long-time supporters of Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. With the Marriott Family’s dedication and support, the Zoo has achieved much-needed momentum for its continuing efforts to raise awareness and funding for its work and to maintain its global leadership among zoos.

The Marriott’s have also introduced the Zoo’s work and important initiatives to other animal lovers, conservationists, and local philanthropic leaders.  The Marriott Family played a leading role in securing the funding necessary to bring the Giant Pandas back to the Zoo in 2000 with a gift of $1.6 million, as well as a generous $3 million gift to the Elephant Trails exhibit in 2007 allowing critically endangered Asian elephants to flourish in a state-of-the-art habitat.

Marriott currently serves as a board member of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Mid-Atlantic chapter, the American Heart Association Women’s Board and is a former board member of Best Friends Foundation, and Washington Performing Arts Society.

Adrienne B. Mars


Adrienne B. Mars (Emeritus) of Jackson, Wyoming, has been involved with various environmental organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution. Since 1974, Mars has served on the Board of Trustees of her alma mater. She has been a part of the Board of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, and the Smithsonian's National Board.

For nearly two decades, Mars has been active with the World Wildlife Fund, sitting on the Board and the National Council. She is also involved with the Washington Opera's Board. Born in Quincy, Fla., Mars earned her bachelor’s degree in economics and history from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass.

Susan A. Mars, Vice-Chair


Susan A. Mars, Vice-Chair, of McLean, Virginia, has lived in the Washington, D.C., area locally since 2005 after living in Singapore and in Belgium. A nurse by training, Mars’ passion revolves around supporting organization that provide opportunities for disadvantaged children to lead both a productive life and to learn to appreciate and respect their local environment and the role that zoos and parks play in inspiring future conservationists.

While residing in Singapore, she was an active board member of Caring for Cambodia (CfC), a non-profit organization focused on improving the lives of children through education and outreach.  CfC has grown from one school in 2003 to over 21 schools today serving 7,000 students. Mars served on the board of Insulated Shipping Containers, Inc. from 1990 to 2001 and currently serves on the board of Demios, LLC, a private venture capital firm which is solely focused on developing innovative microalgal products for the agricultural community through Heliae® Agriculture, a division of Heliae Development, LLC. Heliae® Agriculture delivers regenerative agriculture solutions which are sourced from nature and work to improve overall soil microbial health, structure, water productivity, and nutrient use efficiency, which helps to increase crop yields sustainably for the planet, farmers, and consumers.

Locally, in addition to being longtime supporters of the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Susan and her husband Frank are Washington Cabinet members of Mt. Vernon.  Both are also passionate about supporting effective Conservation and Humanitarian organizations around the world that are making a real difference on the ground or in the water, including National Geographic Pristine Seas, Lion Guardians, African Parks, CARE, Doctors without Borders, Heifer International and the Jane Goodall Institute Roots and Shoots program.

Ziad S. Ojakli

Ziad “Z” Ojakli (Chairman Emeritus) is executive vice president of Government Operations at The Boeing Company. Appointed to this role in October 2021, Ojakli is responsible for advancing the company's public policy priorities, including all U.S. federal, state and local government liaison operations, as well as Boeing Global Engagement, the company’s global philanthropic organization. He also serves as Boeing’s chief lobbyist and is a member of the company’s Executive Council.

Most recently, Ojakli served as the managing partner and senior vice president of SoftBank from 2018 to 2020, during which time he created and led the investment company's first global government affairs operation in support of all its legislative, regulatory and political matters. Ojakli previously spent 14 years at Ford Motor Company as group vice president, leading a global team that amplified the company's core business objectives and managed interactions with governments in 110 markets around the world. In that role, he also directed Ford's philanthropic arm devoted to supporting global causes.

Previously, Ojakli served in the White House from 2001 to 2004 as principal deputy for legislative affairs for President George W. Bush. Earlier, Ojakli was chief of staff and policy director to Republican Conference Secretary Senator Paul Coverdell and held a number of additional U.S. House and Senate policy and legislative roles as he began his career.

Ojakli is a board member of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, a member of the James Madison Council at the Library of Congress and a member of the board of governors of Ford’s Theatre. He is also the former chair and a current member of the board of the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C.

Ojakli has a bachelor's degree in American government from Georgetown University.

Nels B. Olson

Nels B. Olson is a vice chairman and co-leader of Korn Ferry’s board and CEO services practice, based in the firm’s Washington, D.C., and New York offices. In addition to his board and CEO services practice role, Olson is the head of the global government affairs practice.

Olson is recognized in the industry for his keen business sense and political knowledge. He has advised many clients through challenging management transitions. Over the past 20 years, he has completed in excess of 1,000 successful searches for a wide range of Fortune 500 companies. Olson’s executive search and board assignments span the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America, and lie across multiple industries, including financial services, technology, consumer, industrial and healthcare.

Recent CEO-level assignments include Sallie Mae, the Commissioner of the NFL, and the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Boston. Recent board assignments include American International Group, Occidental Petroleum Corp., The Carlyle Group, NewsCorp and The Travelers Companies. Olson is a leader in placing senior-level professionals skilled in government/regulatory affairs, as well as international and public affairs, among them: Boeing, Carlyle, Caterpillar, Starbucks, Hilton, Aetna and Wellpoint. He has extensive experience in leading associations and nonprofit organizations, including Business Roundtable, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association and Motion Picture Association of America.

Olson joined Korn Ferry in 1993 after a successful career in public relations and government service. Prior to joining the firm, he was with the public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard, Inc. Preceding this, Olson gained experience in executive search when he was on the staff of the White House in the Office of Presidential Personnel. In this capacity, he identified and recommended candidates for senior political positions in cabinet agencies and was responsible for the political clearance for all presidential appointees. Olson earned a master’s degree in business administration from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the State University of New York.

Jason Palmer

Jason Palmer is general partner at New Markets Venture Partners, one of the nation’s leading education-focused venture capital firms. As a double-bottom line investor, New Markets focuses on innovative, high impact, early and growth stage edtech companies that improve student outcomes while building profitable organizations. Over the past decade, New Markets has invested in more than 30 education and workforce technology companies that have positively improved the outcomes of more than 47 million schoolchildren and adult learners.

Palmer has been affiliated with New Markets since 2011 and became a general partner in 2016 after three years at the Gates Foundation. He brings 20 years of experience as an education technology entrepreneur, executive and investor, and focuses on fund strategy, supporting portfolio companies and leveraging deep connections with industry leaders. He is a board director for Climb Credit, Motimatic, Mursion, PAIRIN, Signal Vine and Village Capital, and serves as a board observer for APDS, Credly, LearnPlatform and Regent Education. Palmer previously served on the boards of Moodlerooms and StraighterLine, and as a board observer for Galvanize.

Prior to his current role, Palmer served as deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading postsecondary innovation efforts to improve the outcomes of disadvantaged college students by investing in colleges, universities and entrepreneurs pursuing digital and adaptive learning, student coaching and advising, financial aid innovation, and employer pathways. Prior to the Foundation, Palmer founded and grew three investor-backed technology and services companies before holding a series of executive positions at Microsoft, SchoolNet, Kaplan and StraighterLine. At Kaplan, Palmer led three education businesses as general manager or president, in addition to founding and leading the company’s venture capital effort.

Palmer holds a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Virginia and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He is a proud resident of Baltimore, Md., and has a 11-year-old daughter, Amelia.

Terry Prather

Terry Prather of Winter Park, Florida, recently served as senior vice president of operations at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment with oversight of safety, environmental compliance, ride operations and standardization functions across the company’s 11 parks.

Prather is an industry veteran with more than 29 years of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. His SeaWorld career started in maintenance and water quality for SeaWorld San Antonio, where he worked from the park's inauguration in 1988 to 1997. During his tenure, the park's security, safety and environmental compliance functions were added to his responsibilities. Prather left SeaWorld San Antonio in 1997 to serve as managing director of San Antonio's Witte Museum. He held that position until being named vice president and general manager of the park that would become Six Flags New Orleans in 2000.

He was promoted to president of Six Flags America in Bowie, Md., in 2006. Prather returned to SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment in May 2008 and led Water Country USA in Williamsburg, Va., before moving to Orlando in May 2010 to become vice president of operations at SeaWorld Orlando. In October of that same year, Prather was named president of SeaWorld Orlando. Prather led the long-range planning, daily operations and conservation initiatives of the world’s most popular marine life park, SeaWorld Orlando, and its two sister properties, Discovery Cove and Aquatica.

Prather serves on several community boards and has served on many others, including Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, Bethune-Cookman University, Visit Florida, LIFT Orlando, Maryland Tourism Development Board, New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation, New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, and United Way of Greater New Orleans.

Beth Stevens

Beth Stevens is a former senior vice president of environmental affairs at Disney Worldwide Services. Her responsibilities included reducing company-wide CO2 emissions, promoting nature conservation efforts, and creating a culture of "environmentality" within the corporation. Before joining Disney, Stevens worked at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, DC, and then led conservation, science and education programs at Zoo Atlanta. After joining Disney, she became the conservation and science director and then vice president of Disney's Animal Kingdom. She later led the environment and conservation portfolio for Disney's corporate citizenship team. Stevens is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Tubingen and holds a doctorate in biology with emphasis in animal behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Geoff Tracy

Geoff Tracy, of Washington, D.C., graduated from Georgetown University in 1995 with a degree in theology.  He then went on to graduate first in his class at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.   Geoff opened the original Chef Geoff’s restaurant in 2000.  The restaurant group serves hundreds of thousands of guests every year and employs more than 250 amazing people.

As an active member of the Washington D.C. community, Geoff has served as chairman on the executive board of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.  Additionally, Chef Geoff’s has contributed to hundreds of charities and local schools and organizations in the form of silent auctions and fundraising.  In 2014 Geoff cooked in the East Room of the White House as part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative. Geoff is also a member of the Washington Baltimore chapter of the Young Presidents Organization.