Heather’s role as the leader of Yellowstone Forever is to achieve the organization’s mission of connecting people to Yellowstone through outstanding visitor experiences and educational programs, and translating those experiences into lifelong support and philanthropic investment. She oversees an annual budget of $20 million and a staff of 65 year-round and 75 seasonal employees, in two offices and 11 Park Stores. Previously, Heather was the executive director of Environmental Working Group (EWG), director of education advocacy for National Wildlife Federation, and counsel to U.S. Senator Russ Feingold. She first visited Yellowstone when she was 11 as part of a cross-country national park tour with her dad, sparking a deep, lifelong commitment to conservation. She is an avid hiker and backpacker. Read full bio here >>
President & CEO
Stephen supports Yellowstone Forever’s Field Seminars, and the art and photography center programs at Old Faithful. He has worked in environmental education for 10 years, the last six with NatureBridge—Yosemite’s partner in education—as a field instructor and summer programs coordinator. Originally from Rutland, Vermont, Stephen earned a B.A. in Radio-Television Journalism from the University of Montana. He believes strongly that the public lands ideal needs to be constantly tended and renewed. He is proud to support quality educational programs for Yellowstone visitors, helping them connect to nature and public lands. When in the park, Stephen enjoys backcountry skiing, fly fishing, and Field Seminars. A scotch and board-game enthusiast, he also volunteers as U.S. Committee President for the Vietnam Friendship Village.
Vice President of Strategic Partnerships
Jeff’s role is to establish and support strategic partnerships between Yellowstone Forever and the larger community, including the National Park Service, corporate partners, and other non-profits and groups. He was in the financial services industry, wholesaling mutual funds and annuities for Jackson National Life, before becoming the Director of Finance for the Yellowstone Park Foundation. Originally from Denver, Jeff earned a BS in Finance and Administration from the University of Colorado. He has a deep love of wild places, and most of all Yellowstone, which he feels honored to help protect so other people can enjoy it. In his free time he enjoys fishing and hunting, and his favorite things to do in Yellowstone are fly fishing and hiking in the park’s backcountry.
Foundations Relations Manager
Justin connects private foundations with priority Yellowstone projects requiring non-federal funding. Previously, he was Director of Education for the Glacier Institute—Glacier National Park’s educational partner—and Personnel Director for the Outdoor Recreation program at Pacific Lutheran University. A native of Kalispell, Montana, Justin majored in Biology and Environmental Studies at Pacific Lutheran University before earning an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Fund Development from the University of Notre Dame. He is proud to raise funds for programs that promote the ecological stability and integrity of Yellowstone’s landscape. His favorite thing to do in the park is spend time above treeline “where the mountain goats roam.” At home in Bozeman, he enjoys trail running, mountain biking, and backcountry skiing, before heading home for a game of Scrabble and an IPA.
Alison organizes Yellowstone Forever’s accounting processes across receivables and payables, and assists the department with general ledger and other accounting functions. Previously, she worked in Group & Tour Services at Aspen Skiing Company and was a station manager at Yellowstone Park Service Stations. Alison grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and attended the University of Minnesota as a Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Studies major, with a Spanish Studies minor. Through her work with Yellowstone, she hopes to help preserve the park for current and future generations to experience. During her free time she enjoys hiking Yellowstone’s trails.
Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Wendie oversees Yellowstone Forever’s digital and print communications, media relations, advertising, marketing, and brand platform. Before coming to Yellowstone in 2009, she worked as a publicity director in the book publishing industry in Boston and New York. Wendie, who grew up near Chicago, earned a B.A. in English and Gender Studies from Coe College, and a M.A. in Irish Literature from Queens University Belfast. She works on behalf of Yellowstone so that future generations are able to have the same life-changing experiences in Yellowstone as her father did, she did, and her own children are now able to have. Wendie enjoys hiking and backpacking in the park, as well as trail running, skiing, and spending time outdoors with her husband and two daughters (ages 1 and 3).
Owen develops programs for youth, and teaches youth and other Yellowstone Forever courses. He has worked in public land stewardship and environmental education for several nonprofits and agencies, most recently as a snowcoach guide for TSS Wildlife Expeditions. Owen grew up in Salt Lake City and earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Utah, before completing the Teton Science School’s Graduate Program. He hopes to contribute to the park’s preservation by sharing it with a variety of visitors. He especially enjoys bringing people into Yellowstone who may not have had a chance to experience it were not for YF’s programs. Owen’s favorite things to do in Yellowstone are hiking, fishing, and backcountry skiing. He also loves boating and camping, and is a voracious reader.
Thomas serves as chief legal advisor to the staff and board of Yellowstone Forever on a range of topics pertaining to operations, management, governance, employment, fundraising, and nonprofit tax. Previously, he was general counsel for Environmental Working Group, a national environmental health organization, where he oversaw all of its legal affairs and represented the organization before lawmakers and government bodies. Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Thomas earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar. He loves working in support of Yellowstone, which makes breathtakingly beautiful lands accessible to people from all walks of life. Thomas is an avid backpacker, nature photographer, and guitarist.
Deborah is responsible for selecting and developing products, and overseeing purchasing for Yellowstone Forever’s 11 Park Stores. Over the past several years, she held progressively more responsible positions within retail operations. Previously, Deborah was a Senior Account Manager for a nationwide distributor of computer software and hardware. She hails from Los Angeles and attended California State University Northridge, where she majored in sociology. Deborah is proud to have the opportunity to share Yellowstone with others and hopes they, too, will feel the connection to the outdoors and all of our parks. When in the park, you might find her looking at the mudpots and other thermal features, or sitting in a secluded spot on Yellowstone Lake. In her free time she also enjoys hiking and camping.
Leslie provides administrative support to Yellowstone Forever’s President, Heather White, and the executive and senior leadership teams. Previously, she was an Administrative Assistant with Bank of America for more than 21 years, most recently in the Global Wealth and Investment Management Division. A native of Orange City, Florida, she received a B.S. from the University of Central Florida. Leslie fell in love with Yellowstone during her first visit in the winter of 2012, inspiring her to move west and help preserve the park’s iconic landscape and delicate ecosystem for future generations. Her favorite things to do in the park are walking the Canyon rim trails, hiking Mount Washburn, wildlife watching in the Hayden and Lamar Valleys, camping, and exploring with her husband of 25 years, James.
Mary L. Fisher
Board Liaison/Operations Manager – Bozeman Office
Mary oversees operations at our Bozeman office, and serves as a liaison between Yellowstone Forever’s staff and Board of Directors. She is a Bozeman native and attended Montana State University. After working as an Office Manager for 20 years in the Skilled Nursing Home business, Mary returned to Bozeman and pursued a new career in the nonprofit sector. She wishes to help preserve Yellowstone so that it can be enjoyed by all, whether through the lens of a camera, a video, a personal visit, or a virtual classroom. Her greatest joy is spending time with her four grandchildren, and she also enjoys walking and sewing quilts. In Yellowstone, you might find Mary sitting near the bank of a river, eyes closed, just listening to the surrounding sounds.
Chief Development Officer
Kelly is responsible for the strategic direction, development, promotion, implementation, expansion and assessment of all philanthropic avenues to increase revenue, support and organizational awareness for Yellowstone Forever. She has worked in fundraising as a nonprofit executive, volunteer leader, and consultant for more than a decade, and before her nonprofit career she worked in banking, international finance, mergers, and acquisitions. A Fresno, California native, Kelly earned a B.A. in Public Relations and Business Marketing from Pepperdine University. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, 5-year-old daughter, and her grown stepchildren and their families. Kelly is also an avid yogi and frequent hiker. Her favorite part of being in Yellowstone is experiencing the magic and wonder of the park through her daughter’s eyes.
Terry “J.R.” Hunt
Vice President of Technology
J.R. oversees Yellowstone Forever’s technology initiatives, and establishes and executes strategy for the organization’s information systems. With more than 15 years of IT-related experience, two of his past positions include VP and CTO of Product Development and Senior Director of IT. Hailing from Atlanta, J.R. received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Georgia Southern University. He is grateful for the opportunity to serve the world’s first national park by leveraging technology for its staff, donors, and volunteers. In his free time he enjoys camping, kayaking, hiking, fishing, wildlife-watching, and skiing. When in Yellowstone you can find him hiking backcountry trails and fishing the Madison, as well as frequently stopping by Grand Prismatic Spring and Firehole Canyon.
Roger W. Keaton
Vice President of Finance
As VP of Finance, Roger is the chief steward of Yellowstone Forever’s financial resources. Previously, he was Director of Finance and Administration for the Yellowstone Association, and before that he worked in finance and accounting in various positions for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Roger graduated from Union College and earned a Master of Financial Services from Southern Adventist University. He is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner. A native of Bellevue, Nebraska, Roger grew up reading and dreaming about the West, and is proud to now help preserve this iconic western park. In his free time he roots for the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team and travels the world with his wife, Julie. He is fascinated by Yellowstone’s geography and history, and enjoys visiting some of the park’s lesser-known spots.
Contact Center Manager
As the Contact Center Manager, Laura oversees Yellowstone Forever’s team of information specialists. She and her team provide all aspects of customer service support including trip planning information, registering students for programs, and recruiting new supporters. Previously, she worked for Xanterra Parks & Resorts as the Front Desk Manager at their Old Faithful Lodge and Snow Lodge properties, and most recently as the Individual Reservations Manager at Central Reservations in Mammoth. A native of Florida, Laura earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management from Florida International University. Laura has a deep love for Yellowstone, where she enjoys hiking, fishing, and spending time in the outdoors with her husband and two dogs.
Joshua works in Yellowstone Forever’s Accounts Receivable department, receiving and accounting for all donations and other income to the organization. Previously, he was Operations Assistant for Yellowstone Park Service Stations. He grew up in New Mexico and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Furman University. Joshua wanted to work on behalf of Yellowstone because he feels strongly that it is important to be a good steward of the environment. He enjoys fly fishing in Yellowstone and spending time in the outdoors with his wife and dog.
Vice President of Employee & Volunteer Engagement
Kathy’s role is to develop and implement programs and services to enhance Yellowstone Forever’s employee and volunteer experience with the goal of attracting and retaining the uniquely talented people required to achieve YF’s mission. Previously, she spent her career helping other organizations have high-performing, engaged workforces at Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Jabian Consulting. Kathy was born in Indianapolis and attended Indiana University, then spent almost 30 years in the Southeast before coming west. Through YF, she wants to help ensure that wild lands are preserved the way they are intended. In her free time, Kathy enjoys playing outside with her husband, John, and dog, Kephart. When in Yellowstone, her favorite activities are hiking, paddling and skiing in the backcountry.
Zachary’s role is to develop exceptional educational programs in Yellowstone, and provide field staff the guidance and support needed to deliver them. He has more than 18 years experience as an outdoor skills educator in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and for a decade was the Program Director for the Yellowstone Co-Op Employee Recreation Program. After growing up in Oklahoma and Northern California, he earned a B.S. in Tourism Management from California Polytechnic University. Zachary feels fortunate to call Yellowstone country his home, and wants to give back by doing what he can to assure the park’s wild and mysterious character is preserved for generations to come. He enjoys doing just about anything outdoors in Yellowstone, and sharing this special place with his children, family, and friends.
Chief Operations & Education Officer
Ken is responsible for leading Yellowstone Forever’s operational and educational programs, including programs offered through the Yellowstone Forever Institute and educational programming for Yellowstone National Park, as well as leading YF’s human resources, retail, and finance departments. Before becoming the Director of Education for the Yellowstone Association in 2013, he served as Executive Director of Great Smoky Mountains Institute for 29 years. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Ken holds a B.S. in Parks & Recreation from West Virginia University and a M.S. in Experiential Education from Mankato State University. Through his work at YF he hopes to engage people with Yellowstone in ways that develop a deep sense of stewardship. Ken enjoys hiking, playing music, canoeing, camping, skiing, birding, and exploring public lands.