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 educational 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
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.
Vice President, Retail Operations
Terry supports Yellowstone Forever’s retail division, which includes store and logistics operations, merchandising, supply chain, and omni-channel commerce. Previously, he served in senior leadership positions at Nantahala Outdoor Center, Academy Sports + Outdoors, and Piperlime & Athleta for Gap Inc., among others. Terry is on the boards of Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters, ZeSa Fitness, and Clearly-Adlens Focus. Originally from Kentucky’s horse country, Terry grew up in Indianapolis. He admires the proverb “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children,” and feels that to help preserve Yellowstone is a dream come true. He loves to observe how the park’s wildlife and nature persevere through the changing seasons. He also enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and son, and attending concerts from bluegrass to Bach.
Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Megan leads editorial, social media, digital, and media initiatives, and oversees the development of content that promotes Yellowstone Forever’s mission. She has more than a decade of experience in marketing and communications for nonprofits. Previously, she was executive director of university marketing and communications at Pepperdine University, and also served as editorial director for the Environmental Working Group. A native of Los Angeles, Megan earned a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Edinburgh and a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Georgetown University. She hopes that through the work of Yellowstone Forever, her grandchildren will be able to experience the same Yellowstone beauty and resources she has been privileged to enjoy. She likes to spend her free time in the outdoors with her husband and two children.
Vice President of Operations
Rob provides day-to-day supervision of all organizational, cross-departmental, operational initiatives, ensuring their alignment with the President/CEO’s vision, organizational mission, and core values, in pursuit of Yellowstone Forever’s strategic objectives. He is a former United States Marine Sergeant Major with more than three decades of experience as a leader, planner, trainer, mentor, and advisor. Originally from Georgia, he earned a Bachelor of Arts at Northern Arizona University. Rob believes that Yellowstone represents one of our best ideas as a species and that Yellowstone Forever’s mission provides an opportunity for him to apply his experience in a unique way, in an effort he is passionate about. His favorite Yellowstone activities are hiking and camping in the backcountry. In his free time he also enjoys fishing and hunting.
Chief Marketing Officer
Wendie oversees strategic marketing and communication initiatives, including external affairs. She has nearly a decade of nonprofit experience working on behalf of Yellowstone National Park. Prior to joining Yellowstone Forever in 2009, she spent nine years as a publicity director in the book publishing industry in Boston and New York. Wendie, who grew up near Chicago, earned a M.A. in Irish Literature from Queens University Belfast and a B.A. in English and Gender Studies from Coe College. 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 young daughters.
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.
Chief of Staff
Leslie plays a critical role in Yellowstone Forever’s administration, working with the President & CEO, Board of Directors, and other leadership to support the organization’s strategic direction. She joined Yellowstone Forever after a 21-year career at Bank of America as an Administrative Support Associate and as a Marketing Officer. She received a B.S. from the University of Central Florida. Leslie fell in love with Yellowstone during her first visit in 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, and exploring the endless wonders of Yellowstone with her husband of 26 years, James.
Roger W. Keaton
Chief Financial Officer
As Chief Financial Officer, Roger is the chief steward of Yellowstone Forever’s financial resources. Roger is responsible for advising the President & CEO on strategic planning and financial decisions as well as overseeing the organization’s internal controls and financial processes. 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 his native 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.
Vice President, Development
Shelly is responsible for stewarding Yellowstone Society supporters and providing them with opportunities to match their philanthropic interests to park priority projects. Previously, she was in marketing and communications roles for a global office furniture manufacturer. A native of Chicago, Shelly holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is gratified that her position allows her to connect with people from diverse backgrounds who share a common passion and cause: to preserve this irreplaceable landscape and wildlife for all to enjoy. She loves doing just about anything in Yellowstone, especially visiting Old Faithful in winter via snowcoach, to ski the thermal basins and photograph her favorite park animal, bison. In her free time, Shelly also enjoys fishing, hiking, and bird hunting with her husband and German short-haired pointer.
Senior Director of Park Projects
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.
Director of Retail Operations
Wayde directs the daily retail operations of all Yellowstone Forever Park Stores, as well as the warehouse and logistics team. Previously, he served as director of retail marketing for SAM’S Club, director of operations for Leopard Communications, and director of marketing for SeeYellowstone.com. He grew up in Layton, Utah and attended the University of Utah and Brigham Young University, earning a higher education teaching certification. The delight and joy he sees in his granddaughter’s eyes when they visit the park has created a deep passion within him to preserve Yellowstone for her and future generations. His favorite park activity is “date night” with his wife, strolling the lesser-known boardwalks. In his rare free time, he focuses on his family including his four sons and granddaughter.
Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships
Sam advances critical park projects by creating business value and unique social and environmental impact for Yellowstone Forever’s corporate partners. Previously, he was the director of development for the W.A Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana, and also created corporate partnerships at the sports marketing firm Learfield. Originally from Cincinnati, he earned a B.S. in parks, tourism and recreation from the University of Montana and a master’s degree in education from the University of Washington. Sam serves on the board of the Westslope Chapter of Trout Unlimited and volunteers for a variety of conservation and early-childhood education efforts. In his free time he enjoys learning about Yellowstone geology and floating Montana’s rivers with his wife, two daughters, and chocolate lab.
Senior Manager of Foundation Relations
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.
Program Manager, Institute
As Program Manager for the Yellowstone Forever Institute, Alison tracks program registration, works with the Institute’s contract instructors, and manages reporting through Salesforce. She has been living and working in Yellowstone for the past six years. 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, biking, and climbing in the Greater Yellowstone area.
Park Store Associate
Mikayla assists customers with purchases in Yellowstone Forever Park Stores, and helps them join or renew the Yellowstone Supporter program. A native of Olympia, Washington, she originally came to the park to work for Yellowstone National Park Lodges at Old Faithful. She currently attends Eastern Gateway Community College online as she works toward an associate degree in art. She plans to later earn a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management. Mikayla is passionate about preserving the natural ecosystem and helping others learn about conservation and local history. When in Yellowstone, she loves backcountry hiking, watching wildlife, and walking the thermal basins to watch geysers erupt. In her free time she also enjoys kayaking, photography, road trips, overseas travel, and spending time with her family and pets.
Lauren works with the marketing team to create brand assets for print and digital projects, and photograph programs and wildlife in the park. Previously, she was a freelance designer specializing in custom lettering and brand identity. Most recently, she branched out into iMessage app design, UI/ UX design, and typeface design. A native of New York, Lauren earned a B.S. in Graphic Design from Drexel University, and a Certificate in Typeface Design from The Cooper Union. She is delighted to help preserve the park that filled her with awe when she first visited as a child. Lauren likes to hike in Yellowstone while sketching and photographing the details she sees. She also enjoys reading, soaking in hot springs, and doodling in her sketchbook on the couch with her partner.
IT Systems Administrator
Landon manages the IT infrastructure, documents solutions, and maximizes use of hardware and software by training users. Previously, he was a Network Technician for Granite Technology Solutions and a Network Administrator for Stonebridge Companies. Originally from Ogden, Utah, Landon earned a B.A. in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science from the University of Montana. He is gratified that his work on behalf of Yellowstone helps to preserve its landscape and wildlife. Landon’s favorite things to do in the park are fishing, camping, and visiting Old Faithful. In his free time he also enjoys golfing, hunting, and taking road trips to new places.
Maria’s role includes brand management, photography, and art direction of components representing Yellowstone Forever across all platforms. Previously, she worked in the graphic design department of The Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Born and raised in Georgia, Maria considers herself a “Southern New Yorker.” She earned her B.S. in Communication Arts with an emphasis in Public Relations at Georgia Southern University, and later graduated from The Portfolio Center in Atlanta, where she studied graphic design. Maria continues to follow her passions for the natural world and the arts, hoping her creative contributions foster opportunities for people to enjoy, understand, and steward Yellowstone’s natural treasures. In her free time, she enjoys kayaking, hiking, photography, travel, and singing. As for skiing, she is still in the “attempting” phase.
Director of Finance
Brad leads educational trips into the park and spearheads Yellowstone Forever’s mentoring program for Institute instructors. Previously, he was an educator for pre-K to college-level students, serving also as a principal and athletic director. In addition, he is a trained wildlife biologist specializing in researching and filming raptors and large carnivores, especially cougars. A native of Wisconsin, Brad holds a B.S. in education and an M.S. in wildlife biology. He is a Certified Interpretive Guide and Wilderness First Responder. After spending much of his career in Yellowstone, he is gratified that he can enhance visitors’ experiences by sharing his knowledge and deep appreciation of the park. In his free time, he enjoys hiking with friends in Yellowstone, as well as observing—and sometimes filming—wildlife behavior.
Carolyn Harwood Bulin
Supporter Engagement Manager
Carolyn’s job is to integrate philanthropy and education by enhancing our supporters’ connection to Yellowstone. A Grand Rapids, Michigan native, Carolyn graduated with a B.S. in Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management from Northern Michigan University. While in college, she undertook a variety of volunteer experiences in the outdoor leadership field, and spent summers working in Yellowstone for park concessionaires. She believes that wild places such as Yellowstone are critical to our spiritual health and in helping each of us determine how we as humans relate to the natural world. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and watching wildlife in the park.
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.
Director of Society
Tara leads the Yellowstone Society—a group of loyal and generous donors who give $1,000 or more annually to Yellowstone Forever. She manages all communications and stewardship strategies for this cohort of donors, attends Society events, and helps match Society supporter’s passions and interests to park priority projects. A native of Ohio, Tara holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. After a life-changing experience working a season in Glacier National Park, she is thrilled to return to working on behalf of a national park. Tara loves to explore Yellowstone on foot, hiking with her camera and watching for wildlife and wildflowers. In her free time she also enjoys traveling, dining on local cuisine, dancing, listening to podcasts, wine tasting, and meeting new friends.
As Yellowstone Forever’s Controller, Erica manages the day-to-day accounting of the organization. Prior to coming to Yellowstone, she was the Office Manager for Schedulicity, Inc. in Bozeman, Montana. Erica, who is originally from Helena, Montana, holds a BS degree in Business, Marketing & Accounting from Montana State University. Her favorite thing to do in Yellowstone is to find waterfalls.
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.
Senior Director, Campaign/Special Projects
J.D. manages special fundraising campaigns and the bequest program for Yellowstone Forever. Previously, he was Director of Philanthropy for the Nature Conservancy of Montana, and Executive Director of Utah Wildlife In Need. J.D. was born in Southern California and lived for 35 years in Utah, where he earned a BS in Communication and Marketing from the University of Utah. His work at Yellowstone Forever is important to him because the park is the center of the most complete ecosystem in the lower 48 states, and J.D. is passionate about keeping it that way. His favorite thing to do in Yellowstone is watch visitors experience the park and its wildlife for the first time. He also loves to fish throughout Montana and Yellowstone with his wife and two goofy Labrador retrievers.
Gifts & Records Associate
As Gifts & Records Associate, Dorothy organizes donations and other data for Yellowstone Forever. Previously, she was a sign language interpreter in public schools, and her most recent position was as a paraprofessional at the Gardiner School, right outside of Yellowstone. Originally from Vermont, Dorothy earned a degree in Human Service/Educational Interpreting from the University of Tennessee. She loves working at Yellowstone Forever because it helps to protect a very special place. When in the park, Dorothy likes to discover places she has never seen before and find the trail less traveled. She also enjoys baking, reading, and hiking with her family and friends.
Director of Human Resources
Meg oversees the Human Resources function for Yellowstone Forever. The HR team provides support to all levels of the organization in order to ensure that Yellowstone Forever has the staff resources to successfully fulfill its mission. Previously, Meg worked for Xanterra Parks and Resorts in Yellowstone for 15 years, first in Hospitality Management and later in payroll and HR. Most recently, she was the Onboarding Manager responsible for welcoming 3,000+ seasonal employees annually. Originally from Crown Point, Indiana, Meg graduated from Indiana University with a degree in anthropology and history. She believes Yellowstone has a profound effect on people, changing them for the better. In her free time, she loves hiking, skiing, or boating in the park’s backcountry, and exploring the area with her husband and two crazy dogs. Meg is also passionate about food and enjoys obsessing about what she is going to eat next.
Retail Project Manager
Lori oversees the operations of Yellowstone Forever’s 11 educational Park Stores, and manages a team of 50 year-round and seasonal employees. Previously, she was the Reservations Trainer & Senior Supervisor for Yellowstone National Park Lodges for 14 years. Lori grew up in Boise, Idaho, and attended the University of Idaho. She has been exploring Yellowstone since she was eight years old, and it was always her dream work in the park. Now that her dream is a reality, she is committed to helping people connect to the park and truly experience the area while they are here. Lori’s favorite things to do in Yellowstone are hiking, skiing, camping, backpacking, wildlife-watching, geyser-gazing, and sketching. She also enjoys running and trying out new recipes.
Gifts & Records Associate
Stilyana processes gifts made to Yellowstone Forever, responds to supporters’ questions and requests, and provides acknowledgement of donations. Previously, she was an assistant retail manager. Originally from Bulgaria, Stilyana earned a B.S. in Chemistry and Computers from the University of Sofia, Bulgaria. When she first came to the U.S. in 2011 and visited Yellowstone, she thought she had never seen such a unique and magical place—it was as if out of a movie. She loves to know her work now goes toward the park’s preservation. Stilyana’s favorite activities in Yellowstone are hiking and photography. She also likes to spend her free time traveling around the U.S., playing pool, cooking, sipping espresso with friends, and enjoying the outdoors and breathtaking views of Montana.
Facilities Maintenance Manager
James is responsible for managing the maintenance and upkeep of all of Yellowstone Forever’s facilities in Gardiner, Bozeman, and Yellowstone National Park. Previously, he was a Battalion Chief/Paramedic for the Orange City, Florida Fire Department and served on the Volusia County Interagency Training and Operations Committee. Prior to his career with the fire service, he owned and operated a small construction business. Originally from Orange City, James majored in Fire Science at the College of Central Florida and attended Florida State Fire College. He is proud to work for an organization dedicated to preserving Yellowstone’s iconic landscape, wildlife, and wonders. In his free time, James likes to hike and watch wildlife in the Hayden and Lamar Valleys, and spend time with his wife, Leslie, and their dog, Ace.
As an Information Specialist in Yellowstone’s Forever’s Contact Center, Debbie’s job is to assist callers with their requests and get people excited about coming to Yellowstone. She has worked in the park in various capacities for more than 35 years, and wants to share her enthusiasm for it with others because Yellowstone is like no place else on earth. Debbie grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, and earned a BA in Sociology from Sonoma State College. When in Yellowstone, she most enjoys hiking and simply sitting and enjoying the peace and quiet. In her free time she also attends music festivals, walks half marathons, and visits other national parks.
Gifts & Records Associate
Kimberley enters donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations into Yellowstone Forever’s database. Previously, she was Leisure Groups Coordinator and Manager of Training and Standards for Campgrounds with Yellowstone National Park Lodges. A native of Georgia, Kimberley attended the Art Institute of Atlanta, and was a licensed Real Estate agent in Georgia for 12 years. She is currently working toward a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in anthropology and art history, at Arizona State University Online. Kimberley hopes her work contributes to educating people on everything Yellowstone represents: beauty, nature, animals, ecosystems, and wild places that need to be preserved. Her favorite activities in Yellowstone are photography, showing visiting friends around the park, and finding new places to sit and experience nature. She also enjoys exploring Montana and reading.
Brian performs daily and seasonal maintenance of Yellowstone Forever buildings, along with grounds-keeping, construction projects, painting and staining, recycling, and composting. A native of Detroit, he participated in the former Young Adult Conservation Corps in Yellowstone in the 1980s, performing a variety of jobs in the park. He believes strongly that national parks never seem to have enough funding, and working for Yellowstone Forever gives him the opportunity to help meet that need. Being a Michigander, Brian’s favorite part of Yellowstone is the Lake area, and simply taking a walk down by the shoreline is his preferred activity. He also enjoys watching hockey, playing music, and riding his bike, and soon hopes to raise a beautiful golden retriever puppy.
Gifts & Records Manager
Jessi oversees data entry to maintain quality data, track gift giving, and ensure Yellowstone Forever donors are properly acknowledged. Previously, she was a Yellowstone National Park Librarian for 12 years. Originally from Northwest Indiana, Jessi earned a B.A. in English, Master of Information Science, and Master of Library Science from Indiana University. Working in the Park Library helped her see behind the scenes of projects funded by Yellowstone Forever, and how important donors are to the park. When she’s in Yellowstone, Jessi likes to get ice cream from as many general stores as possible and see who gives the biggest scoops (usually Tower).
Director of Stewardship & Events
Marisa coordinates donor events that give Yellowstone Forever’s supporters the opportunity to learn more about the organization’s mission and connect more deeply with Yellowstone. A native of central Montana, Marisa earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Montana. College internships helped her develop a range of skills related to writing, customer relations, research, and more. She believes that working to connect people to such a unique place is a powerful and rewarding mission. Marisa’s favorite thing to do in Yellowstone is hiking, and she enjoys anything involving the outdoors, such as camping, skiing, and trail running.
Assistant Director, Institute Programming
Amanda leads a team in establishing content and curricula for Yellowstone Forever Institute programs, with an emphasis on developing and growing youth, college, and teacher programs. Her past roles include education and outreach manager for Montana Wilderness Association, professor of environmental interpretation and education at Carroll College, and interpretive ranger in Yellowstone and other national parks. A native of Whitehall, Montana, Amanda attended the University of Montana Western. She believes that Yellowstone Forever provides potentially life-changing experiences that help participants develop a deeper understanding of themselves, public lands, and their own communities. Amanda’s favorite Yellowstone activities are hiking, cross-country skiing, wildlife watching, and especially star gazing. She also enjoys exploring the outdoors with her family, playing music, cooking, gardening, and playing roller derby.
Nicole supports the organization in a variety of ways, particularly by responding to inquiries about Yellowstone Forever’s programs and projects, registering people for Institute programs, and directing them to answers they seek about the park. Previously, she was a Yellowstone Field Instructor for Ecology Project International and a Naturalist Guide for Adventure Yellowstone, Inc. A native of Vermont, she holds a B.A. degree in Conservation Ecology from Sterling College in Vermont. When Nicole first experienced Yellowstone—a long-time dream destination—she knew she needed to be involved in sharing it with the public and supporting its preservation. She spends her free time skiing and hiking in Yellowstone, identifying native flora and fauna, gardening, enjoying local food and music, and participating in environmental stewardship activities.
Prospect Research Manager
Viola’s role is to research potential supporters for Yellowstone Forever. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than 15 years, most recently as Prospect Researcher for Marywood University. She grew up in Northeast Pennsylvania and earned a B.S. in Psychological Biology from Long Island University, followed by a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Marywood University. Preservation is a cause that is near to her heart, and Viola is excited to put her research skills to use helping to preserve an amazing national treasure. Her favorite thing to do in Yellowstone is viewing wildlife. In her free time, she enjoys reading blogs, making things with essential oils, zumba, nia, yoga, and volunteering at her local cultural center.
Major Gifts Officer
As Major Gifts Officer, Olesja establishes new funding partnerships and helps support donors’ passion for Yellowstone. Previously, she was Director of Annual Giving for the Yellowstone Park Foundation following three years managing the Yellowstone Association’s membership program. Originally from Estonia, she earned a BS in Mathematical Statistics from the University of Tartu in Estonia. Olesja is passionate about Yellowstone’s wide-open landscape, wildlife, and incredible thermal features, and her life goal is to contribute to the park’s preservation—now and for future generations. Her favorite things to do in Yellowstone are wildlife watching, geyser gazing, hiking, and taking in the view of Old Faithful from the Old Faithful Inn deck. In her free time, she also enjoys fly fishing and spending time with her husband and three fabulous children.
Gifts & Records Associate
Kristina is responsible for the accurate entry and updating of data for individual donor records. Previously, she was a Human Resource Assistant with Yellowstone National Park Lodges, and an associate for a printing company in Michigan. Kristina was also a volunteer at Wolf Park in Battleground, Indiana, where she worked with visitor tours and assisted researchers with data collection. It was there that she developed a passion for wildlife conservation, which she brought with her to Yellowstone. Originally from Rossville, Indiana, she graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Art and Design with a minor in Art History. Kristina likes to spend her time in Yellowstone hiking its trails and watching wildlife. She also enjoys painting and sketching in a field journal.
Senior Manager, Stewardship and Events
Laura collaborates closely with the stewardship and events team to build, support, and deepen long-term relationships between Yellowstone Forever and our donors through memorable events and exceptional stewardship. 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.
Social Media and Digital Content Manager
Matt manages strategic direction and content for Yellowstone Forever’s social media channels and other digital media areas. Originally from Orange, California, he worked as a middle- and high-school teacher and helped underserved students get practical work experience in their communities. Transitioning to a career in nonprofit organizations, Matt gained experience in nonprofit outreach and management. He holds a B.S. in Sociology from Northern Arizona University. Matt wanted to work in Yellowstone since he first visited the park at age nine, believing its extraordinary natural features and wildlife to be unmatched. His favorite things to do in Yellowstone are hike and take photographs in all seasons, particularly in winter. He also loves to spend time exploring the outdoors with his wife and three children.
Director of Sustainability and Facilities
Dennis is responsible for building, maintaining, and managing Yellowstone Forever’s properties, as well as guiding the organization’s sustainability initiative in its role as a responsible steward of Yellowstone. Previously, he was with the nonprofit Appalachian Mountain Club for 29 years, most recently as Construction Manager. Dennis designed, built, and supported their backcountry, off-grid hut system and roadside facilities from Maine to New Jersey. Dennis spent his middle school and high school years living in Yellowstone and Gardiner, and he hopes that his grandkids’ grandkids are able to appreciate the same (if not better) Yellowstone that he has experienced in his lifetime. Dennis’s preferred season is winter and his favorite activity in and around the park is backcountry skiing. He also enjoys spending free time with his friends and grandchildren.
Director of Corporate Relations
Meredith is responsible for the ongoing relationship management with Yellowstone Forever’s corporate partners. Originally from Laguna Beach, California, she holds a BFA from Loyola Marymount University, an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, an MS in Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California, and a Certificate in Fundraising from Boston University. She feels a great sense of honor and responsibility as part of the long tradition of citizens engaged in preserving Yellowstone. She believes that part of the park’s magic is that you will never have the same experience twice, and she makes sure to try something new each time she visits. She also enjoys hiking, cooking, and adventuring with her husband, son, and two dogs.
Cindy is responsible for purchasing retail inventory for Yellowstone Forever’s 11 Park Stores. Previously, she oversaw warehouse inventory distribution for a major souvenir supplier in Gettysburg, near her hometown of Littlestown, Pennsylvania. Most recently, she was the Mails and Files Clerk for Yellowstone National Park. Cindy believes strongly that Yellowstone is worth taking care of, and it is essential that the park is preserved and shared with future generations. Her favorite thing to do in the park is cross-country skiing in the sparkling white snow and crisp air, under bright blue skies. She also enjoys spending time with her grandbabies as well as sewing, knitting, decorating cakes, camping, four-wheeling, hunting, cutting firewood, and shopping.
Virginia teaches Yellowstone Forever Institute programs in the field, and provides office support for Institute program logistics. Previously, she was an Outdoor Science School instructor for Inside the Outdoors, and an intern for World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts at Our Chalet World Centre in Switzerland. She hails from Apple Valley, California, and earned a B.A. in Theater from Occidental College. Virginia, who is a Certified Interpretive Guide through NAI, loves helping visitors fall in love with Yellowstone and enjoys seeing the park through fresh eyes every day. On her days off, she likes to explore Yellowstone’s backcountry, hike, ski, watch wildlife, and generally experience the area with other people who call Yellowstone home.
Major Gifts Officer
As a Major Gifts Officer, Steve seeks to fully engage Yellowstone Forever supporters in the life of Yellowstone National Park. Previously, he served as Director of Philanthropy for Drayton Hall—a National Trust for Historic Preservation site—following a decade in higher education at Cornell and William & Mary. Originally from Ithaca, New York, Steve earned a degree in history from University of Georgia. He believes Yellowstone is essential, where a culture of conservation and respect for the natural environment is combined with outstanding education programs, cutting-edge technology, and the stewardship of loyal supporters. He is excited about introducing his children to Yellowstone, taking the #YellowstonePledge together, and exploring the park. He enjoys spending free time with his twin boys and working on his 1870s home near Charleston, SC.
Accounts Receivable Coordinator
As Accounts Receivable Coordinator, Joshua is responsible for 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.
Assistant Director, Institute Operations
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.
Senior Director of Education
Robert leads Yellowstone Forever’s team of program managers and field instructors, who provide educational experiences for our guests. He worked for the National Audubon Society for 18 years in various roles, most recently as the Director of Bird-Friendly Communities, in which he provided leadership in designing and implementing a national strategy for urban habitat conservation programs. Robert grew up in Indiana, but has lived in Montana for more than 30 years. He holds a BFA in Graphic Design & Illustration from Washington University and an MFA in painting from the University of Montana. In Yellowstone, you will find him exploring with binoculars and skis or hiking boots. In his free time he also enjoys woodworking, birdwatching, canoeing, and spending time with his family.
Development & Stewardship Coordinator
Jessica facilitates custom acknowledgments for major gifts and provides other donor stewardship support. Previously, she was a News Editor for CBS NEWS, a Digital Media Editor for Discovery Communications, and a Producer of Florida Statements at PBS Tallahassee. Originally from Miami, Jessica majored in Communications at Florida State University and is currently in the MFA film program at Montana State University. A child of Cuban immigrants, Jessica had struggled to find her cultural identity, but connecting to the landscapes within the western national parks gave her a greater sense of pride and belonging. Working on behalf of Yellowstone lets her give back to a place that has given her so much. Her favorite park activity is taking a dip in the Firehole swimming area after a day of hiking.
Gifts & Records Coordinator
Désirée manages the Yellowstone Guardian monthly giving program. Previously, she was the Office Manager at Arrowhead School in Pray, Montana, and worked in Yellowstone’s NPS Maintenance Division. She lives in Pray, not far from Yellowstone National Park, and earned a B.A. from Clark University. Désirée believes that preserving public lands for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren is essential, and that our need for space, solitude, and the expanse of nature enlarges our souls and our spirits. When Désirée is in the park, her favorite activity is exploring off-trail, backcountry areas. She also enjoys gardening, traveling, and spending time with her grandchildren.
Human Resources Generalist
Melissa coordinates the onboarding/exit processes, payroll, and benefits for Yellowstone Forever employees and volunteers. Previously, she worked for Polk County Conservation for 18 years as a Human Resources Specialist. Originally from Des Moines, Melissa earned an Administrative Assistant degree from DMACC, and is currently completing a B.S. in Public Administration with HR certificate at Upper Iowa University. Melissa believes that Yellowstone is a wonder that everyone can connect with in their own way, and that offering education about the park is necessary to keep it protected forever. While in Yellowstone, she likes to camp in the backcountry and explore its hot springs and waterfalls. In her free time she also enjoys skiing, paddling, rock climbing, fishing, biking, photography, homebrewing with her partner, and drinking what they have fermented.
Nina provides high-level administrative support to the president & CEO, chief of staff, board of directors, and executive-level leadership. Previously, she was executive assistant to the head of project and export finance at HSBC, and executive assistant to the global head of alternative investments at JPMorgan Chase. Nina grew up in Long Beach, California and attended Long Beach City College. She believes that Yellowstone is a life-changing place and wants to engage visitors and non-visitors alike, inspiring them to come to the park and have their own magical experience. While in Yellowstone, Nina likes to photograph friends enjoying the park, travel on Slough Creek Trail, and take scenic road trips. In her free time she also enjoys making jewelry, reading poetry, and working on her personal art collection.
Field Campus Manager
Katie works with staff and volunteers to support Institute programs at Yellowstone Forever’s two field campuses: the Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone and the Overlook Campus. She most recently comes from the North Cascades where she served for ten years in a similar role of program and campus management for North Cascades Institute. Katie has an M.S. in Education with a certificate in nonprofit administration, and undergraduate degrees in Philosophy, Theology and Psychology. In her free time, Katie enjoys hiking, biking, outdoor exploration, and creating art. Knowing how her own time spent learning about the natural world has impacted her sense of land and stewardship ethics, she hopes that her work in Yellowstone will help encourage others to care for our public lands.
Mike provides educational programs to Yellowstone Forever participants, and develops curriculum for our growing youth program. Previously, he was a Science Educator at Denali National Park and an Interpretive Ranger at North Cascades National Park. Originally from Wisconsin Rapids, Mike attended Winona State University before earning a M.Ed. from Western Washington University/North Cascades Institute. Mike believes he is in a unique position to instill wonder, provide knowledge, and give the next generation the tools they need to ensure that our public lands remain America’s most valued treasures. He spends his free time traveling Yellowstone’s backcountry, hiking, biking, running, backpacking, skiing, reading, journaling, wildlife-viewing, and naturalizing.
Annual Fund and Society Coordinator
Kasey engages in donor relations, digital strategy, and direct mail strategy for Yellowstone Forever. Previously, she was part of the marketing team for the University of North Dakota athletics department, and later was the UND men’s hockey lead. Originally from Minot, North Dakota, she majored in Financial Investments and Marketing at UND. Yellowstone had always felt like a second home to Kasey, and being in a position to support the park and help ensure it is valued forever is her “dream job” and the cornerstone of both her career and lifestyle. Her favorite Yellowstone activity is driving around with her father and her dog while scoping out wildlife, finding new photo spots, and hiking. She also enjoys reading, snowboarding, backpacking, sewing, brewery hopping, and gardening.
Fleet and Logistics Manager
Cody maintains Yellowstone Forever’s fleet of 29 vehicles and provides support for Institute programs. Previously, he worked for Yellowstone National Park Lodges, driving snowcoaches in the winter and historic Yellow Buses in the summer, and giving tours on wildlife, cultural, and natural history. Most recently, he was a seasonal instructor for Yellowstone Forever Institute, specializing in family programs. Originally from Missoula, Montana, Cody received a B.S. in Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Management from the University of Montana. He hopes that his work contributes to keeping the park as it is for future generations to enjoy. His favorite Yellowstone activities are backpacking and exploring the park.
Citizen Science Program Manager
Joshua teaches Yellowstone Forever Institute programs on natural history, develops college programs, and coordinates citizen science projects. His past work focused on ecological field research, especially avian ecology, throughout the western U.S. He grew up in Spearfish, South Dakota, and earned undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Wildlife Biology & Management from the University of Wyoming, before completing a Masters in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. Joshua believes that Yellowstone affords us an incredible teaching tool for cultivating ecological literacy by creating a meaningful connection to the park through art and science. He tries to spend as much time as possible backcountry skiing and wildlife-watching in Yellowstone. He also enjoys rock climbing, hiking, reading, painting, music, and eating in the company of good friends.
Lead Park Store Associate
Vanessa provides visitors with park information, assists in training new employees, and encourages guests to help Yellowstone Forever support the park. After eight years as a paramedic, she worked for two summers with the Forest Service at Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Montana, followed by a season as a Safety/Security Officer with Yellowstone National Park Lodges. Originally from South Florida, Vanessa holds an associate degree in emergency medical services and is pursuing a Bachelor of Anthropology with a concentration in environmental sustainability. Vanessa hopes to pass along to others the awe and appreciation she feels for Yellowstone. Her favorite things to do in the park are watching wildlife in the Lamar Valley and touring the Lower Geyser Basin. She also enjoys hiking, camping, photography, and painting.
Assistant Director of Data Management
Elle plays a critical role in Yellowstone Forever’s development operations by using her technical knowledge and broad range of development experience to ensure the long-term success of the organization’s Customer Relationship Management system. Previously, she was Yellowstone Forever’s Senior Manager of Annual Fund & Society. A native of Etna, Maine, Elle earned a B.A. in Modern Languages and Literatures and a Master of Public Administration from Montana State University. She loves interacting daily with people worldwide and helping to link their passions to real-life projects and programs in Yellowstone. Her favorite park activities include cross-country skiing or snowshoeing with friends, and sitting in front of the big fireplace at the Old Faithful Inn. In her free time she also enjoys volunteering with her local Rotaract Club, hiking and adventuring with her husband, and spending time with her cat, Milton-Bradley.