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Audubon Welcomes Environmental Policy and Financial Leaders to National Board

NEW YORK (March 10, 2022) – The National Audubon Society celebrates the newest additions to its National Board of Directors: Diane Ross-Leech, retired Director of Environmental Policy at Pacific Gas and Electric Company; Michael Mavrovouniotis, former Director of Research at TGS Management; and Theresa Pella, retired 30-year professional in air quality regulatory programs.

“Birds and people are living through a pivotal decade to act on climate and species loss. We need bold and collaborative approaches to move environmental policy on climate change and species protection forward on local, national and global levels to ensure a sustainable future,” said Dr. Elizabeth Gray, CEO of the National Audubon Society. “The newest directors on the National Board bring many years of knowledge and expertise that will help Audubon expand its impact and advocacy for solutions to protect air, water and land for birds, other wildlife and communities across the hemisphere.”

Diane Ross Leech is a native Californian with a passion for environmental stewardship. She retired as Director of Environmental Policy at Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 2018. She has expertise in developing innovative strategies encompassing corporate sustainability, climate change adaptation, endangered species, migratory birds, land resource management and renewable energy. She was previously on the Board of Audubon California from 2012-2022 and the Board Chair from 2019-2022, as well as on the Board of Golden Gate Audubon Society from 2006-2012 and the Board President from 2008-2012. Diane is on the Board of the California State Parks Foundation and is Secretary of the Board and a long-time member of the San Francisco Bay Trail Project. In August 2020, she was appointed by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission, under the California Department of Parks and Recreation. From an early age, Diane has been an avid outdoorswoman – hiking, camping, canoeing, backpacking, skiing, snow shoeing, and birdwatching throughout California and the West.

Michael Mavrovouniotis hails from the small island nation of Cyprus. In his academic career at Northwestern University, he has carried out research on complex chemical reactions, process design, biochemical pathways, high-dimensional data analysis, and artificial intelligence. He holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT He also spent time at investment firm TGS Management in Irvine, California as Director of Research, where he worked on analysis of financial data, development of models for the behavior of financial instruments, model-based decision processes, and monitoring and improvement of trading systems. He also served as Special Advisor to the Wellspring Climate Initiative from 2018-2020 and on the board of Sequoia Climate Fund board until 2021. Michael is an avid birdwatcher, particularly interested in bird behavior, habitat, and ecosystems. He has volunteered as a naturalist for Sea & Sage Audubon and is currently involved in stewardship and interpretive programs with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy. He believes preserving natural ecosystems, the most important long-term challenge facing humanity, requires the contributions of people from all over the world and from all walks of life.

Theresa Pella joins the National Board after serving as Board Chair for the Wachiska Audubon Society in Lincoln, Nebraska. Ella’s prior to retirement, her 30-year career immersed her in developing and managing air quality regulatory programs and projects, working with local, state, regional and federal agencies. She holds a BA in Management and MA in Legal Studies from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She is also a graduate of the master naturalist program in Nebraska where she continues to learn and contribute to community science as much as possible. In her personal life, Theresa has experienced and volunteered for the natural world in desert, mountains, hill country, shortgrass prairie and tallgrass prairie ecosystems. Her first recollection of birds as a part of the natural world was during a master naturalist course in central Texas when the instructor performed a playful demonstration of flycatcher behavior to catch insects. She firmly believes one will only work to save what one knows.

In 2022, Audubon also welcomed new executive and senior leaders with the appointments of Marshall Johnson as Chief Conservation Officer, Justin Stokes as Deputy Chief Conservation Officer, Allison Vogt as Chief of Staff, and Sarah Rose as Vice President of Climate. New leadership internally and on the National Board will work together to grow Audubon’s grassroots network of more than 1.8 million members and 500 chapters to protect birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow.

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The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more about how to help at www.audubon.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.

Media Contact: Chandler Lennon, chandler.lennon@audubon.org, 212.979.3063