Renata von Tscharner, President
President and Founder of the Conservancy in 2000, Renata von Tscharner has more than 20 years of experience in non-profit leadership, project and fiscal management, marketing, and organizational development. She trained as an architect and urban designer in Switzerland, and her professional life has focused on planning and improving public spaces. Among her many accomplishments, Renata has worked on the Covent Garden Market in London, co-authored several books, and taught at various colleges in the United States.
Danielle Stehlik, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
Danielle coordinates volunteer outreach for the Conservancy's Volunteer Program. She earned a Masters of Environmental Science and Policy at Clark University in Worcester, MA and has gained experience working on multiple invasive species removal projects. In addition, she also spent time working at a nonprofit organization in the Caribbean planning and maintaining botanical gardens. Danielle lives in Cambridge and enjoys taking part in community gardening and walking along the Charles in her free time.
Jason Lederer, Director of Projects
Jason has ten years of experience as an environmental scientist, planner, consultant, and education outreach professional. Most recently he has worked as Project Manager with BSC Group and Bioengineering Group. Several of his projects involved waterways and working with the Department of Conservation and Recreation. He is a Boston area native and lives in Cambridge. Jason will oversee the Skatepark project, Swimmable Charles Initiative, Sunday Parkland Games, and the underpass advocacy.
Sarahbeth Lindquist, Finance and Operations Manager
Sarahbeth joined the Conservancy in October 2010. As Finance and Operations Manager, she manages the office, communicates closely with the staff and Board of Directors on financial matters, and is continually trying to find ways to expand our donor base. After receiving her BA in European History and Human Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009, Sarahbeth worked with a team raising funds for a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. In the fall of 2010, she relocated to Boston. Sarahbeth enjoys cooking, traveling, and being outdoors; she is looking forward to exploring New England!
Hilary Burgin, Administrative and Program Assistant
Hilary arrives at the Conservancy with a degree in Environmental Studies and Latin American Studies from Oberlin College. Having worked on a 5-acre "community supported agriculture" (CSA) farm for two years, she is eager to try something new working with the Conservancy's databases, donors, programs, and volunteers. Hilary has taught Spanish and tutored math, worked with youth on urban farms in Maine, and grown lettuce in Hawaii. Hilary loves sunny weather so she can run, grow vegetables in her garden plot, and spend time with friends.
Brent Whelan, Advocacy Associate
A longtime resident of Allston, Brent has recently retired after thirty years of teaching English and literature, most of them at the Commonwealth School in Boston's Back Bay. He gardens, runs, and cycles along the Charles River, and joins the Conservancy as a writer and green space advocate.
Board of Directors
Architect, Construction Manager — Cambridge, MA
Ron Axelrod was a partner of a large engineering and architectural firm focused on airports and major transportation projects in New England. He served as a Director on the Boston Society of Architects and The American Consulting Engineers Council of NE. He lives in Cambridge and his current work is as a Construction Manager. (Chair of Nominating Committee)
Private Equity — Cambridge, MA
Virginia Foote of Cambridge is the Director of Finance and Operations for Transformative Energy and Materials Capital, a private equity fund manager in Boston. Ms. Foote was formerly the CFO/Controller for an international education company, EF Education in Cambridge. She and her family are regular users of the parklands, and she believes public green space is critical for healthy communities and cities. (Chair of Development Committee)
Urban Designer and Landscape Architect — Cambridge, MA
For the past 10 years, Mitch Glass has worked on large-scale Urban Design and Landscape Master Plans for clients in cities as diverse as Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Ho Chi Minh City, Delhi, Chicago, and Stamford CT. Prior to that, he worked for the City of Chicago as a Senior Project Manager for the Chicago Park District, engaged in numerous capital improvement projects throughout the neighborhood parks and along the lakefront. Mitch lives in Cambridge with his wife Linda and they are frequent users of the wonderful amenities and programs that the Charles River has to offer.
Former General Counsel, Boston Globe/Boston Globe Foundation —Cambridge, MA
Catherine Henn retired from the Boston Globe in 2002. As President of the Old South Meeting House Association, she pursues her interests in historic preservation, civic discourse, and education. She also serves as an overseer at WGBH and as a director of the John F. Kennedy Library. She is an active gardener and enjoys doing environmental volunteer work with Earth Watch.
Debra Iles, Chair
Health Care and Education Executive — Newton, MA
Debra Iles serves as the Assistant Dean for Executive Education at Harvard Kennedy School. She has previously worked as an executive with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, was COO of a health care quality startup, and served as a management consultant. As a frequent runner along the paths of the Charles, she is interested in the connection between active recreation and the Parklands.
Sr. Business Manager, Raytheon Company— Woburn, MA
Nicole Manseau has over eighteen years of finance experience most recently for Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems. Nicole lives in Malden with her husband and two young daughters who all enjoy biking, running, and playing along the Charles.
Software Developer — Allston, MA
Harry Mattison is an Allston resident and actively uses the Charles River with his family for sailing, canoeing, and bicycling. He is particularly interested in improving the parklands and transportation to and along the river so that it can be enjoyed by more people from nearby communities.
Executive Director, Downtown North Association — Boston, MA
Bob O'Brien has long led this not-for-profit coalition of the diverse interests that comprise the West End of Boston, which includes the Charles River and its shoreline between the Longfellow Bridge and Boston Harbor. He has served on the Bridge Design Review Committee, the Environmental Oversight Committee, the New Charles River Basin Citizens Advisory Committee, and the Longfellow Bridge Task Force, all of which have provided community input and oversight on the planning, design, development, and use of the new parkland in this revitalized area of the river.
Joan Pickett, Treasurer
Senior Director of Planning and Business Development, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center— Cambridge, MA
Joan Pickett has had 13 years of extensive experience working in strategic and business planning at one of Boston's top academic medical centers. She is active in Cambridge civic activities advocating for the preservation and increase in open space in Cambridge and believes that the Charles River Parklands are one of the most valued open space resources in Cambridge.
Formerly the founder and principal of Charles River Publishing— Charlestown, MA
To showcase the quality of press, Richard initiated and printed the first edition of River Stories for the Charles River Conservancy. After he sold his business, Richard worked with the CRC to produce the second edition of River Stories. He grew up near the Charles River and started his business next to the Charles River in Cambridge. Richard loves the Charles and wants to apply his communication skills to improve this urban jewel.
Rower, artist — Newton, MA
Lisa Stone is a rowing coach at The Winsor School. A native Californian (now a want-to-be Yankee) and artist, Lisa is at home on the Charles River three seasons of the year. A 1976 Olympian and Cambridge Boat Club member, Lisa has, for more than 30 years, enjoyed her time on the River.
Renata von Tscharner, ex officio
Founder and President, Charles River Conservancy — Cambridge, MA
Renata von Tscharner was trained as an architect and urban designer in Switzerland. Her professional life has focused on planning and improving public spaces. She immigrated to the United States in 1979. She has co-authored several books, taught at various colleges, and hosts regular TV shows. She windsurfs from Community Boating, and bikes and inline skates along the river.
Managing Editor, Harvard Business Review Press — Brighton, MA
Ania Wieckowski oversees the processes of book creation at Harvard Business School's publishing arm. As an editor, she has focused particularly on the topic of sustainability strategies for businesses. A Philadelphia native, she now lives in Brighton and delights in kayaking, biking, running, and (afterward) picnicking along the Charles. (Chair of Advisory Board)
Ania Wieckowski (Chair of the Advisory Board) See bio above for more information.
Jay Baldwin lives in Cambridge and is the owner of Wind River Capital. He started his professional career as a landscape entrepreneur with City Gardens. After selling his company, he joined Keen Partners—now called Wind River Capital—a venture capital firm in Boston. He jogs along the Charles daily. For many years he has served on the board of the Environmental Careers Organization and the New England Wild Flower Society. (Co-Chair of Development Committee)
CEO, American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts — Boston, MA
Jarrett Barrios served as state representative and senator. In that role he helped the Swimmable Charles Initiative as well as the skatepark. Since leaving the legislature, he has served as the president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA Foundation and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. He is now the CEO of the American Red Cross of Eastern MA with offices right on the Charles.
Jeffrey Bilezikian lives near the Charles, in Watertown. He is passionate about the River and volunteering. His professional expertise is in retail—formerly, he ran the Christmas Tree Shops, which he sold a few years ago. He pursues many of his athletic endeavors along the Charles.
Dan Calano is managing partner of Prospectus, a real estate firm based in Harvard Square. Before his career with Prospectus began, Dan was a planner for Massachusetts Coastal Management and also served as chair of the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. He lives near the Charles River Parklands and strolls there regularly.
Dennis Carlone lives and works in Cambridge. As an architect and city planner, he created the master plan for the Lechmere area. He has worked on many other architectural and planning projects along urban rivers.
John Casagrande is a resident of Boston and helps organizations with strategic planning, management, and government relations. His 20 years of legal and real estate experience have benefited numerous civic institutions. He also expresses a fondness for the skatepark project.
Philip Crutchfield lives in Cambridge and spends much of his time sailing on the Charles River; he serves on the board of Community Boating, Inc. He is a retired business executive who continues to teach at the Harvard Business School and consult on diversity issues.
John DeVillars lives and works in Boston. As former Administrator of the New England Region EPA, he initiated the “Swimmable Fishable Charles 2005” campaign. He is currently Managing Partner of BlueWave Strategies, an environmental advisory firm, and he enjoys the Parklands on a daily basis.
Catherine Donaher is the principal of CD&A, a planning and development consulting firm. She worked as head of planning at MassPort and was president of the Trust for City Hall Plaza, a public-private partnership for redesigning and redeveloping this important urban space. She chairs the board of Dorchester College Bound and has served on the Walk Boston board. She is passionate about swimming in the Charles.
Michael Dukakis served three terms as governor of Massachusetts from 1975-1978 and 1982-1991, following which he served five years on the board of directors for Amtrak. He currently teaches at Northeastern University in Boston, where he is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the College of Arts and Sciences. He currently resides in Brookline and is an active supporter of parkland improvements both along the Muddy River and the Charles.
Michael Epstein is a retired physician who spent his 35-year career at Harvard Medical School, first as a neonatologist and later as the COO of Children's Hospital and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. His thrice a week runs along the River take him from his home in Cambridge downstream to the BU Bridge or upstream to the North Beacon Street Bridge.
Paul Fremont-Smith of Boston has retired from his agricultural business and is now involved with the U.S. Ski Team Foundation and other sports-oriented charities. While in Boston, Paul enjoys the Parklands; however, he spends most of the winter skiing out west. He is eager to see a world-class skatepark built in Boston.
Nicholas Godfrey lives in Charlestown and has his own marketing firm, which mainly serves consumer goods clients. Previous, he worked at Lingo Motors, a software company, and at Harpoon, in the branding and communication strategies department.
John Isaacson lives in Cambridge and works in Boston. His firm, Isaacson and Miller, is a national head-hunting firm that specializes in executive positions for civic institutions. John enjoys spending time in the Charles River Parklands on both the Cambridge and Boston sides.
Mark Kraczkiewicz worked overseas as an economist and strategic planner with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Earlier in his career, as planning director, he helped the Commonwealth develop its first program for managing the resources of the Massachusetts Coast. He enjoys daily walks along the Charles River Parklands near his home in Watertown.
Steven Kropper of Lexington worked in an office with a view of the Charles River for many years. He founded and recently sold Domania to LendingTree. Currently he works in the United States and India at Equinox, which provides technology to help lenders retain their customers. He works from his barn, with a view of Wilson Farm.
Frans Lawaetz lives on Beacon Hill in Boston and works as a systems analyst. He spends as much time as possible windsurfing on the river. Frans also volunteers at Community Boating and co-founded the Charles River Swimming Club that organizes the annual Charles River One-Mile Swim Race.
Henry Lee lives on Beacon Hill and is the founder and president of the Friends of the Public Garden, the Boston Common, and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. He is widely recognized veteran in parkland stewardship and public/private partnerships.
Linda Lerner of Boston spent several years as Vice President of Human Resources for UST Corp. and U.S. Trust Bank, and now serves as a consultant and executive coach in leadership development and human resources management. Linda’s column in the Boston Globe addresses employment issues. She exercises regularly along the Charles River.
Geraldine Pangaro of Beacon Hill retired in 2007 from the John Hancock Life Insurance Company where she was Vice President, and for the last 12 years she headed the International Group Department. She assists the Conservancy with financial analysis and is a regular walker on the banks of the Charles.
Matthew Petrie of Watertown is an architect. He has worked on the renovations to the Hasty Pudding Theatre and the MIT Media Lab. He is a former Board Member for the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Matthew enjoys walking along the banks of the Charles River with his family and his dog.
Patricia Pratt lives and works in Cambridge where she practices landscape design. She is an active birder, urban space activist, and is currently writing a biography of an art collector. She has served as the chair of the Cambridge Community Foundation and helped with the restoration of Fresh Pond in Cambridge.
Candace Roosevelt lives on Beacon Hill in Boston. After many years with the Joslin Diabetes Center, she joined Pathfinder as a public health expert and a professional fundraiser in high-net-worth donor solicitation. She enjoys the Charles River Parklands on a regular basis.
Bruce Schwoegler is the Founder and Chairman of MySky Communications, Inc. He also serves as a consultant and ambassador to the Massachusetts Environmental Trust. Previously, Bruce was chief meteorologist and science reporter for WBZ-TV, Boston. In his free time, he enjoys biking along the Charles.
Nancy Schön of West Newton is probably best known for her "Make Way for Ducklings" sculptures in the Public Gardens. Nancy, a renowned public artist, cares deeply for the river and the parklands and works tirelessly to raise funds and awareness for the world-class skatepark. She is also an avid athlete and swimmer.
Amy Segal lives in Newton. She is Counsel to the law firm WilmerHale, and specializes in advising tax-exempt organizations. Before turning to law, Amy worked as a writer and editor in the United States and Europe. She enjoys bicycling and walking with her family along the Charles River and surrounding areas.
Raul Solano of Cambridge came from Mexico 32 years ago to attend Boston University. He is a CPA and has an MA in Urban Planning. Raul currently works for the Boston Housing Authority. Most mornings—year round—he runs along the river for some two hours.
James Storrow lives in Stormville, NY, but is a frequent visitor to Boston, where his ancestors left a major parklands legacy later developed as Storrow Drive. After a career in theater management he became a scholar in the history of landscape architecture and the work of Andrew Jackson Downing.
Mary Tambiah works at Boston University, where her office overlooks the Charles River. She has more than 20 years of experience as a senior fundraiser and now specializes in planned giving. Mary was originally trained in city planning and previously worked in banking.
Paul Walker of Cambridge, and Washington, DC, is Program Director for Global Green USA. He has been actively involved in Cambridge politics for more than 20 years and is the co-founder and longtime board member of the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. He was a founding board member of the Charles River Conservancy.
Judy Warren lives in Cambridge near the Charles. Now retired, she previously held senior management positions at Harvard and at a Boston law firm. She assists the Conservancy with a variety of issues, including issues relating to human resources.
John T. Williams (Ike) of Cambridge is of counsel with the law firm Stern Shapiro Weissberg & Garin LLP, a litigation firm with a wide area of practices. John is a frequent lecturer on intellectual property and entertainment law. John has served on the Cambridge Arts Council Board, and sees the Charles River Parklands as a civic space with great potential.