Defenders of Wildlife’s Board of Directors is made up of professionals from all walks of life—academic, scientific, legal, financial and business—who share a common love for our nation's wildlife and natural heritage. Their combined experience and dedication play an extremely important role in charting the future of Defenders and the wildlife conservation movement.


SUSAN S. ALEXANDER (Secretary) is an accomplished global executive with over thirty years of experience as a senior corporate leader and chief human resources officer for Sotheby’s, a premier global auction house with over $2 billion in revenue. Alexander has extensive strategic planning, crisis management and corporate governance experience. She is a Stanford University Distinguished Careers Institute Fellow, a coach for The Dalai Lama Fellows, and serves on the board of the YMCA of Greater New York City. She has a B.A. from Indiana University and an M.B.A. from the University of Cincinnati.

SYLVIA BACA spent 17 years in federal, state and local government leadership and eight years in the private sector. Baca served as deputy assistant secretary at Department of the Interior (DOI) from 2009 to 2012 and was assistant secretary from 1995 to 2001. Baca has a master's degree in public administration and finance from the University of New Mexico. She received advanced executive management training at the University of Cambridge, Rice University and Stanford University.

WHITFIELD BAILEY is an executive at Volunteer Lumber Sales, Inc., a company that distributes fire-retardant shingles, crating lumber, cedar shakes and other wood products. Bailey is on the boards of the Knoxville Opera, the Community School of the Arts, the Knox Youth Sport organization and the AHB Foundation. He and his wife are passionate about protecting wildlife for their children and future generations to enjoy and believe in the intrinsic value of protecting species for species’ sake.

DONALD BARRY has spent more than 40 years working on wildlife and public lands conservation issues as a senior government official and a leader in the conservation community. He served as a career staff attorney and chief counsel for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and as the assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, overseeing the policies and programs of the National Park Service and FWS. He then worked at nonprofit conservation organizations, holding executive leadership positions at the World Wildlife Fund, The Wilderness Society, Environmental Defense Fund and Defenders of Wildlife, where he was senior vice president for conservation programs until his retirement in 2016.

DINAH BEAR is an attorney and consultant specializing in federal environmental law and Southwest border issues. She spent 25 years at the Council on Environmental Quality, including 23 as general counsel. She has chaired committees on environmental law for the American Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar Association. She has been recognized with the Chairman’s Award from the Natural Resources Council of America, the Distinguished Service Award from the Sierra Club and the award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy from the American Bar Association. Bear was awarded the Spirit of Defenders Award for Public Service by Defenders of Wildlife’s board of directors in 2018 and served on its board from 2009 to 2018. She is on the board of Humane Borders and on the advisory committee of the Center for International Environmental Law. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and graduated from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law.

KIM O’KEEFE BECK is a scientist and philanthropist, combining a background in wildlife science with a range of nonprofit experience. She conducted field research on the influence of climate on mammalian populations in Yellowstone National Park and on speciation of birds in Africa. She has shared her love of the natural world with students of every age from elementary school through graduate school. Dr. Beck holds a Ph.D. in ecology and evolution from Stanford University, an M.A. in biology from San Francisco State University and a B.A. in biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

MARK CAYLOR (Chair) is president of the Mission Systems sector of Northrop Grumman. Caylor has long had a passion for nature and ecology, with particular interest in conserving open space and preserving habitat in the U.S. Caylor has an M.B.A. from University of California, Los Angeles and engineering degrees from California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

JAMIE RAPPAPORT CLARK is president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. Prior to Defenders, she spent almost 20 years in the federal government, mostly with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for which she served as chief of the division of endangered species, southwest deputy assistant regional director, senior staff biologist and eventually director of the agency from 1997 to 2001. Clark holds an M.S. in wildlife ecology from the University of Maryland and a B.S. in wildlife biology from Towson University.

JOHN DAYTON originally hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota. A graduate of the University of Minnesota and Texas Tech School of Law, he practiced real estate law for almost ten years at Thompson & Knight in Dallas before venturing into the field of hospitality, opening and operating several five-star restaurants in both Dallas and Minneapolis. He has long served on a variety of nonprofit boards, including The Taft School (Watertown, CT), the Dallas Opera, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Minnesota Orchestra and Bravo! Vail.

PAUL DONAHER is a global leader with a distinguished track record of growing and transforming organizations with creativity and innovation at their core. Donaher has held senior executive positions at Apple, Beats by Dre and Sotheby’s and has advised esteemed brands as diverse as Four Seasons Hotels, Goldman Sachs, Gap and Harvard Business School. Donaher received his M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.

JOHN A. DONOVAN (Vice Chair) spent his career as a trial lawyer, handling major domestic and international cases. He was a partner in Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom until 2011, when he retired from Skadden and continued practice on his own on a reduced scale. He has served on several charitable boards including Glacier National Park Conservancy, where he served as board chair. Donovan has an abiding interest in supporting wilderness education, in the hope that we can raise the next generation of committed stewards for our special wild places. For 15 years, Donovan and his wife Dana have run a Wilderness Leadership Program for high school seniors out of their Montana home. He received his A.B. degree from Harvard, and his J.D. from Fordham University.

ROBERT L. FISCHMAN is a distinguished scholar whose articles have won recognition as among the most influential in environmental law. He writes about public land management, endangered species recovery, federalism, adaptive conservation, climate change and environmental impact analysis. At the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Fischman teaches environmental law, administrative law, public natural resources law, water law, wildlife law. Fischman received his A.B. degree from Princeton University and both his M.S. and J.D. degrees from the University of Michigan.

CAROLINE D. GABEL is a past chair of Defenders’ board of directors. She is president and CEO of The Shared Earth Foundation, which supports endangered species, habitat protection and biodiversity. She spent 30 years on the staffs of members of Congress from Minnesota and on the House Committee on Transportation. A licensed pilot and avid traveler, Gabel completed her undergraduate studies at Wellesley College and received an M.A. in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania.

ANN J. MORGAN has been a leader in the nonprofit sector as well as in federal and state government and private industry for over 30 years. Her career focused on natural resource management and conservation, and she helped protect and conserve millions of acres across the West. Morgan holds a B.S. in political economy of natural resources from the University of California Berkeley and an M.B.A. from Golden Gate University.

TERRY L. ROOT is senior fellow emerita of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. She primarily researches how wild animals and plants are changing because of climate change, with a focus on the escalating concerns of a mass extinction of species due to warming. Dr. Root was a lead author for the Third (2001) and Fourth (2007) Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) and a review editor for the Fifth (2014) Assessment Report. In 2007, the IPCC was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Al Gore. Dr. Root is a science advisor to Defenders of Wildlife, American Wind and Wildlife Institute, Alliance for Climate Education, Birds Caribbean, to name a few.

SHERYL SACHS (Treasurer) is vice president of The Grey Street Foundation and president of Blackfriars Aviation. She serves on the executive board of AJC Westchester/Fairfield region. A Chicago native, Sachs is a certified public accountant with a B.S. in chemistry and an M.S. in accountancy, both from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

THOMAS D. SISK is an environmental scientist focusing on landscape conservation and complex natural resource management challenges. He works at the interface of science and public policy, while carrying out research in applied ecology. Dr. Sisk’s professional experience includes the design of innovative land protection plans, moderation of highly contested natural resource management challenges, development of interdisciplinary educational programs and service on advisory and management boards for regional, national and international organizations. He earned a B.A. from Colorado College and Ph.D. from Stanford University and was the inaugural Olajos-Goslow Chair of Environmental Science and Policy at Northern Arizona University. In addition to other honors, Dr. Sisk was the recipient of the 2017 Spirit of Defenders Award for Science.

Where We Work

Get Updates and Alerts