Our team

Executive Leaders

Executive Leaders

Jad joined American Forests in 2017 as Vice President of Conservation Programs and was named President & CEO in 2018 after a year of leading the organization forward on issues like climate change and society equity. From 2008 to 2017, Jad launched the Climate. Conservation Program at The Trust for Public Land and eventually served as Vice President for Program Development. Jad is widely published writer on conservation topics, including an active presence on Medium, and has played a leading role in authoring and enacting federal legislation to establish forest programs such as the U.S. Forest Service Community Forest Program.

AF Inspiration:

“My love of forests was birthed during childhood summers roaming an undeveloped island in Maine. I embrace the Japanese concept of ‘forest bathing’ to calm our minds and hearts, and also the very tangible power of forests to provide everything from wildlife habitat to sustainable wood products. Each tree we plant is a gift that keeps on giving.”

Jennifer guides fundraising and development efforts at American Forests. Prior to joining American Forests, Jennifer served as Chief Development Officer for the Nuclear Threat Initiative and led fundraising and communications efforts for the George Washington University Libraries. She is also an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Washington DC Metro Area Chapter, and served as the 2017 Chapter President. With over 17 years of experience raising resources for mission-driven non-profits, Jennifer is proud to leverage her fundraising expertise to enable American Forests to have a lasting positive impact on the health of the environment now and for generations to come.

AF Inspiration:

“I’ve seen the incredible impact philanthropy can have on solving complex problems, and our forests are in desperate need of the kinds of innovative solutions philanthropy makes possible. I am proud to support American Forests, not only as an employee but also as a donor. I give back to American Forests because I believe in their mission and can attest to their impact, and I hope you’ll join me in supporting this amazing organization!”

Peter oversees the business and financial operations of American Forests, as well as technology and human resources. Previously, Peter was the vice president of knowledge initiatives at the American Society for Association Executives, where he was responsible for engaging thought leaders from both inside and outside the nonprofit community and developing knowledge resources for the profession.

AF Inspiration:

“I remember loving to climb trees as a child. Each one was a unique puzzle that I wanted to solve to get to the highest point, which offered me a place where I could take in the world from a different vantage point. Now, I can help ensure there are more trees available for future generations of climbers.”

Leslie Jones joined American Forests in 2020. Leslie has over 25 years of experience in shaping conservation policy. As Deputy Undersecretary and Chief of Staff for Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture her work included overseeing the Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service on a variety of natural resource issues, including management of the 193-million-acre National Forest and Grassland System, and implementation of Farm Bill conservation programs on America’s farms, ranches and forests. Leslie was also Chief of Staff at the global ocean conservation organization, Oceana, and General Counsel for The Wilderness Society. Leslie grew up in California and Maine and now lives in Virginia where you will find her playing with her retriever dog in the nearest water body.

AF Inspiration:

“Trees are a strong part of my history from my grandfather’s small-town lumber company, to our family tradition of planting trees on milestone anniversaries, birthdays and events. I feel connected to each of those tree: the redwood in California, the heirloom apple in Maine and our recently planted oak in Virginia. I share in the delight and benefits that trees bring to people in urban and rural communities across the country.”

Ian is the vice president of urban forestry at American Forests. Since 2014, he has led the development of the organization’s award-winning urban forestry program, Community ReLeaf, which has helped more than 20 cities build long-term urban forest management capacity and expand their tree canopy. At the core of the program is a uniquely comprehensive change model, as well as a focus on addressing Tree Equity in lower-income communities. Ian has overseen the development of free national movement building resources, such as Vibrant Cities Lab, a tree care industry career pathways toolkit for low-income people of color, as well as tools to elevate urban forestry in addressing climate change and public health. He has also helped develop innovative finance mechanisms, such as City Forest Credits and urban wood utilization. Prior to American Forests, Ian served as the urban and community forestry coordinator for the District of Columbia, built and ran a successful landscape design business in Michigan, and studied natural resources policy and management at Cornell University.

AF Inspiration:

“American Forests has been at the forefront of every major era in the field of urban forestry. I saw the next era beginning to emerge and knew where I needed to return to help make it happen.”

Alix oversees the formation of American Forests’ policy agenda, government relations and external affairs, and advocacy effort. Alix has nearly two decades of experience leading policy improvements in natural resources and health. Prior to joining American Forests, she served as the Federal Policy Director at The Chesapeake Bay Foundation. She is a graduate of Hamilton College and Catholic University Columbus School of Law, and is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland.

Jill oversees the development and implementation of American Forests’ marketing and communications strategies. She and her team help raise awareness about the American Forests brand and programmatic work. Jill has nearly 25 years of experience in marketing and communications for nonprofit environmental organizations, including World Wildlife Fund, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and American Farmland Trust. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and editor and various newspapers in the United States. Jill is a member of The Communications Network’s Board of Directors.

AF Inspiration:

“America’s forests are a goldmine of stories. Stories about the people who manage forests, the wildlife that depend on forests to survive, the critical role of forests in mitigating climate change, and so much more. I love finding and sharing those stories, especially when it leads to actions in the public and private sectors that will keep forests healthy well into the future.”

Eric Sprague is the Vice President for Forest Restoration at American Forests. Eric oversees the implementation of our large landscape forest restoration efforts across North America. In this capacity, Eric develops and tests innovative restoration techniques, implements restoration plans and strategies in our priority landscapes, and supports policy initiatives to scale-up action. Throughout this work, Eric is integrating climate-science to ensure America’s forests adapt to a changing climate. Before joining American Forests, he directed the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s efforts to restore forest ecosystems, including accelerating the planting of trees along streams and using market-based forest conservation strategies. Outside of work, Eric enjoys chasing birds through Maryland’s forests with his family and dogs.

AF Inspiration:

“At American Forests, I help restore forests that countless people and wildlife depend on. Our restoration efforts help provide clean water and air to people across the country and expand habitat for thousands of animal species.”

Becky has been with American Forests since September of 2010. She began her tenure here leading the organization’s policy and advocacy work. She now helps oversee the implementation of the strategic vision for the organization, provides insights on its range of programs, and offers select legal guidance. Prior to joining American Forests, Becky was a mediator for environmental policy and law conflicts at The Keystone Center. Becky has a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a JD from Vermont Law School. She is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and Colorado.

AF Inspiration:

“I continue to be inspired by American Forests’ historic leadership in the forest conservation sector, as well as being hopeful for the bright future of the organization. Forests from cities to rural landscapes provide endless benefits to us all and are key to addressing many of society’s greatest challenges. I am proud to be a part of this organization’s legacy.”

Directors

Chris leads map-based visual storytelling and data-driven decision-making at American Forests. American Forests has a long history of using Geographic Information Science (GIS) to support effective decisions in community forestry and large landscape forest conservation and restoration. Chris is building on that tradition, using spatial data and analysis to tell compelling forest stories and build decision-support applications that lead to better outcomes for climate, water, wildlife, and people. Prior to joining American Forests, he led GIS development for The Trust for Public Land’s Climate-Smart Cities work nation-wide and spent a decade supporting place-based decision-making for local and federal government agencies. Chris has degrees in Mathematics, Planning, and GIS from the Universities of Massachusetts, Virginia, and Maryland, respectively.

AF Inspiration:

For as long as I can remember, fairness has been my strongest personal value- for people and for the environment. American Forests shares those values and backs it up with action as we work to minimize human impact on our sacred places (FORESTS!) and to support more equitable distribution of our sacred resources (TREES!).

Brittany serves as American Forests’ California State Director. While American Forests has a rich history of project work in California, prolonged drought, tree mortality, pest disturbances, increased wildfire activity, and an ever-changing climate call for more coordinated, on-the-ground action. Brittany has worked on forest health issues in California since 2009 where she served in leadership positions for a regional nonprofit and local government. She currently serves on the Governors Forests Health Task Force. Her priority at American Forests is to expand the implementation of climate smart restoration treatments as state, federal and private partners accelerate the pace and scale of forest restoration activities. Brittany, an AmeriCorps VISTA alumni, has a B.S. in Communications/Public Relations and most recently obtained a Master of Natural Resources via the Forest Ecosystems and Society program at Oregon State University.

AF Inspiration:

“As a child, I spent much time both sailing the Chesapeake Bay and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains. An immediate fascination grew regarding upper and lower watershed connectivity, planting an internal seed that would grow for a lifetime. We are facing a number of complex social and political challenges surrounding forest health and it’s an honor to work with an organization with the tenacity to take on wicked problems during dire times.”

Brian directs the planning and implementation of our regional forest policy and landscape-scale restoration initiatives in the Western US. Prior to joining American Forests, Brian led forest teams at the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and Sustainable Northwest, developing and deploying strategies in federal forest restoration, forest carbon management and incentives, forest market development and sustainability, and forest policy. Brian has also worked for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, directing financial and technical assistance to watershed restoration projects. He holds degrees from Colby College and the Johns Hopkins University in policy and science.

AF Inspiration:

“From an early age, I have drawn inspiration from the beauty, complexity, and resilience of nature. Enhancing our relationship with forest ecosystems drives the work I do. I conserve and restore forests because of their life-sustaining importance to current and future generations. I am motivated by the pressing needs to work with forests in addressing the threats of climate change.”

Michele leads the development of all externally facing content for American Forests and develops and implements communications strategies for the organization. In addition, she works with the development team to boost awareness of the organization’s corporate partnerships and motivate other businesses to become leaders in the conservation movement. Before joining American Forests, Michele provided communications consulting, multi-platform content development and strategic planning for a variety of organizations. Prior to that, she spent a decade overseeing a team of video storytellers at a production company, where she developed TV series for networks such as Discovery, Animal Planet and National Geographic. She began her career reporting for daily newspapers, including The Austin American-Statesman and The Boston Globe.

AF Inspiration:

“Addressing climate change and protecting threatened ecosystems are the most urgent issues of our time. But they aren’t insurmountable. Trees are one of our most powerful tools for tackling both challenges, and I am thrilled to help tell the stories of American Forests’ important work to restore and expand forest landscapes and create tree equity in urban areas.”

Lindsey manages new and existing corporate partner relationships to increase support for the many programs and projects American Forests implements each year. Prior to joining American Forests in April 2016, Lindsey oversaw a variety of corporate partnership accounts for the Dayton Dragons, a baseball team out of Dayton, Ohio and the single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, for more than five years.

AF Inspiration:

“It’s a great feeling to know I can help American Forests build partnerships that will fund programs that restore crucial ecosystems.”

Emily leads American Forests’ major gifts efforts and is committed to building strong relationships with people who share a passion for conservation and the environment. She is especially interested in the interplay of forestry and urbanization. Emily brings her years of nonprofit fundraising experience to the organization, previously working at African Wildlife Foundation and TechnoServe.

AF Inspiration:

“Forests are our natural heritage and a vital resource for all. I am excited to be part of the team at American Forests working to conserve and protect these critical environments.”

Managers

Sarah’s work focuses on equipping urban forestry stakeholders to build and retain a diverse, qualified and representative workforce. Previously, she ran Lillie Leaf Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm that helped urban greening stakeholders address equity, access, inclusion and justice in their work. Sarah’s experience includes developing and administering national urban forestry programs, managing constituent engagement for urban tree and city park associations, and facilitating local and national conferences.

AF Inspiration:

“In the face of climate change and increasing urban populations, ensuring that city dwellers connect with nature near them has never been more important. At American Forests, I’m thrilled to focus on improving equitable access to quality urban tree canopy, as well as access to the careers growing, maintaining and reusing that canopy.”

Eric guides implementation of the award-winning Community ReLeaf program in urban centers throughout the country. Eric gained an appreciation for responsible environmental stewardship while working for the late Congressman Dingell, from whom he also learned the value of developing multi-disciplinary collaborations. Prior to joining American Forests, Eric served as the Director of Governmental Relations for The Greening of Detroit.

AF Inspiration:

“Urban trees are silent monuments to both a city’s past and future. I am proud to contribute to American Forests’ efforts, as the oldest conservation organization in the United States, to protect and enhance tree canopy in cities throughout our country.”

John serves as the relationship manager for annual fund donors and leads efforts to ensure an excellent experience for American Forests’ donors. John has experience working in both the private and non-profit sectors in roles including fundraising, advocacy and communications. He has channeled these skills towards missions dedicated to making our country better and has joined American Forests to leave a legacy of a greener and better America for future generations.

AF Inspiration:

“I joined American Forests to help make a collective impact on our future. American Forests has a rich history of preserving our nation’s forests and I joined up to be a part of the movement to revitalize our country’s forests for everyone’s enjoyment and benefit.”

Jon heads up American Forests’ efforts at thornforest restoration in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Through the Thornscrub Conservation Partnership, he works alongside AF’s regional partners to determine methods of restoration strategy and implementation that will have the greatest lasting impact on conserving native biodiversity in this unique region. He has two decades of experience in conservation field research with various agencies, non-profits and universities throughout the U.S. and Latin America, as well as past roles in program management for both the environmental consulting and specialty crop production sectors of south Texas.

AF Inspiration:

“Corridors, connectivity and patches are the watchwords of a management philosophy that has helped to preserve biological diversity in places like extreme southern Texas for decades and we can augment this approach by restoring additional forest cover in otherwise fragmented landscapes. I’m proud to be a part of American Forests’ efforts to lead collaborative, science-driven restoration through innovation and adaptation to the dynamic set of challenges we face in the 21st century.”

Kendall manages our forest climate science projects and supports our Climate Leadership Strategy as a technical expert on forests and climate. Her work focuses on helping to advance supportive policy, integrating climate science and aiding in the building of partnerships. Before joining American Forests, she worked on carbon offset project research and policy recommendations for climate-smart land use. Kendall holds a BA in Environmental Policy from Colorado College, and Master of Environmental Management and Master of Forestry degrees from Duke University.

AF Inspiration:

“As a Colorado native, I grew up loving our forests and everything they provide. In the face of climate change, we need our forests now more than ever – but they also need us. I’m excited to be part of the team at American Forests leading the conversation around smart solutions for forests and climate.”

Monica joined American Forests in 2020 as the Executive Assistant to the CEO.  Monica brings a wealth of experience supporting C-suite executives in the for profit and non-profit arena as well as in the international stage.  Prior to joining American Forests, Monica worked for 10+ years at Framatome/AREVA as the EA to the CEO and Project Manager responsible for the international travel program, special events and security drill programs. Originally from Mexico City, Monica has lived, studied and worked in Israel, Austria and France.  She is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in French language and literature.

AF Inspiration:

“Forest conservation and maintenance has been a central part of my life since my early education.  It is a privilege to be an active participant in this important work.”

Allison manages the communications for American ReLeaf, an American Forests program that leads regional forest policy and landscape-scale restoration initiatives in the Western United States. Prior to joining American Forests Allison was the editor at Oceana, where she was responsible for the organization’s magazine, blog and book projects. Allison has also worked at SumOfUs and Rights and Resources Initiative. She holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Yale University and a master’s degree in new media from the University of Amsterdam.

AF Inspiration:

“Forests are a foundational part of the human psyche, the source of myth and meaning. By restoring and protecting forests, American Forests not only safeguards clean air, clean water and a livable climate, it also nurtures the landscapes that help define our spiritual and cultural lives.”

Eboni is the Senior Manager of Urban Forestry Education where she oversees a new initiative to develop and implement American Forests’ mission into academia. She works with institutions nationwide to expand urban forestry programs and courses, increase awareness of urban forestry as an interdisciplinary field, and provide resources for career paths in urban forestry. Eboni has more than 10 years of expertise in urban forestry, interdisciplinary teaching, community outreach and engagement, climate science, natural resource management, and environmental sustainability, health, and education. She is also committed to providing innovative and effective approaches to share technical information with non-technical audiences by linking the information to and implementing practices in communities it will impact. Eboni graduated from Southern University and A&M College, The University of Georgia, and Texas A&M University with degrees in urban forestry and natural resources.

AF Inspiration:

“The name American Forests reminds me of our duty to sustain America’s forests. We are surrounded by a number of benefits provided by trees, although disproportionately in many areas. Like American Forests, I am committed to investing in our forests to ensure the benefits offered by trees are experienced by all people. I also desire for people, in return, to invest in forests so we can continue to experience the benefits our forests offer.”

Nick joined American Forests in 2019 after a decade of work on political and advocacy campaigns across the country. He has worked on more than a dozen campaigns and most recently helped permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). He is responsible for helping to lead American Forests’ policy work on Capitol Hill and advocacy campaigns across the country. Nick studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Florida.

AF Inspiration:

“America’s forests – from our iconic national forests to neighborhood trees – are vital resources that play a critical role not only in combating our changing climate but also support healthy environments, clean water, and a strong economy. I am excited to be part of an organization that is at the forefront of ensuring our forests continue to serve all Americans for future generations.”

Shanita Rasheed coordinates all communication for the Community ReLeaf program. She is from South West Philadelphia, PA and now calls Maryland her second home. She has a Bachelors in Environmental Studies from Ursinus College and a certification in Climate Change and Health from Yale University. In various capacities she has worked with local and national stakeholders in both the environmental and public health fields to lead strategic planning and training initiatives, and foster relationships with grassroots environmental justice organizations. Organizations she has worked for include; Chesapeake Bay Program, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Audubon Naturalist Society, Rodia, LLC and Children’s Environmental Health Network. Shanita brings to American Forests experience in environmental health, racial and social equity, relationship building and communications. Shanita has an affinity for building relationships, listening versus speaking and is passionate about depicting holistic stories.

AF Inspiration:

“If there’s one thing that connects all people, it’s trees. The significance of trees span culture, health and faith – bringing us all together. I am honored to work with the American Forests team to expand and protect trees in all places while securing the benefits they provide for people and wildlife”

Austin manages our landscape-scale restoration initiatives under the American ReLeaf Program. Before joining American Forests, Austin worked on ecosystem service valuation projects as an economic consultant, planted trees along streams in Oregon, studied forest regeneration after wildfire, and herded prairie dogs along Colorado’s Front Range. Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Austin is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Yale School of Forestry.

AF Inspiration:

“American Forests and its local partners are redefining what can be accomplished with tree planting. I’m honored to work with communities to help their forests adapt to climate change.”

Sarah develops new and existing corporate partner relationships to support programs and projects American Forests implements each year. Prior to joining American Forests in 2018, Sarah oversaw corporate member engagement for the National Building Museum. Sarah holds a BS in Design Studies and a BA in French from West Virginia University.

AF Inspiration:

“Going to school in West Virginia, I have seen firsthand the impact that people can have on forests. I am thrilled to be part of an organization that works so diligently to restore these areas so we can enjoy them for generations to come.”

With over 15 years of experience providing direct support to executive staff and office personnel through office management, report building, event planning and more, Tia brings exceptional expertise to American Forests in the day-to-day management of the organization.

AF Inspiration:

“I am committed to forest restoration and preservation because forests provide vital resources that people across the nation depend on.

Rose manages our Community ReLeaf program and National Register of Champion Trees. Her past work involved locally and nationally-focused urban forestry nonprofits, environmental justice programs, and co-founding Pittsburgh’s first urban gleaning program, Hidden Harvest. Rose holds a BA in Environmental Science from Chatham University and earned a certificate in Climate Change and Health from the Yale School of Public Health.

AF Inspiration:

“Planting trees in urban communities can have a positive impact on people. From reducing the urban heat island effect, helping with stormwater runoff to reduce flooding, and reducing asthma and respiratory disease rates, urban trees are a critical component to creating healthy and vibrant cities.”

Fellow

Molly joined American Forests in July 2019, as the Rhode Island Urban Tree Equity: Climate & Health Fellow. She was formerly the New England Coordinator for the East Coast Greenway Alliance. In this role, she successfully built and strengthened strategic partnerships to grow the New England portion of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile traffic-separated bicycling and walking network, connecting communities from Maine to Florida. She graduated in 2010, from Rutgers University with a B.S. in Environmental Planning & Design and a certificate in Urban Planning. Molly lives in Providence, Rhode Island and works remotely out of the Division of Forest Environment office at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

AF Inspiration:

“I believe every resident should have access to quality greenspace, with trees being an integral part of the fabric of their neighborhood.”

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