Our board comprises entrepreneurs, scientists, and academics who bring a high level of commitment and passion to conserving our planet’s biological and cultural diversity.
Charles has started five companies and one foundation. He is known for inventing the royalty-free image delivery model at Digital Stock Inc., one of the world’s first internet-enabled transaction models, and later sold directly to Bill Gates. Charles also developed the confidence-based learning model at Amplifire, the leading learning platform based on cognitive psychology with over 3 billion learner interactions to date, and recently sold to Polaris Partners. He is co-founder and a board member of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, and previously served on the Director’s Cabinet at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
President and CEO
Matt started with Nature and Culture in 2015, as an advisor in the Loja, Ecuador office. For seven years prior to that, he was the Executive Director of the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, a conservation organization in his native Portland, Oregon and also served as treasurer on the board of an Oregon-wide network of conservation entities. Additionally, he’s worked extensively for Native American tribal governments in the US, supporting their treaty fishing and water rights. Matt first fell in love with Latin America — its vibrant cultures, stunning landscapes and incredible biodiversity — while in Honduras in the 1990s as a Peace Corps volunteer. He has a BA from Stanford University in English Literature and Human Biology and a Master’s in Environmental Management from Yale University.
Marcia is a preventive medicine physician. For two decades she was medical director of IntraHealth.org, focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa. In North Carolina, she was medical director of a county health department, taught international health at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), and taught environmental epidemiology at Duke University’s School of the Environment. Marcia has a BA from Harvard University, an MD from Duke University, and an MPH from UNC-CH. She serves on the boards of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, and the Southern Environmental Law Center, as well as several advisory councils. At home she is an enthusiastic organic gardener.
Adriana is an environmental lawyer native to Colombia. She has experience working on environmental law and policy issues in Latin America, particularly as related to sustainability, nature-based solutions, and climate change mitigation and adaption. She is also interested in the transition towards carbon-free energy systems, urban forests, and the overlap between biodiversity conservation and infrastructure development. Adriana and her husband support a scholarship fund in Colombia for undergraduate and graduate student theses related to conservation and sustainable use of Colombia’s biodiversity.
Sheldon is an entrepreneur who co-founded a life sciences tool company (now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific). He is a former Alumni Regent of the University of California, and a trustee emeritus of the UC San Diego Foundation. An avid surfer, Sheldon is active with the Director’s Cabinet at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and received the Chancellor’s Medal in 2011.
John spent 36 years leading development and advancement programs in the charitable and educational sector, including at three major universities, a leading genomics research institute, and the oldest continuously operating theater in the Western Hemisphere. A decade ago he began helping advance companies with technologies that can enhance the future for people globally. Today he is the general partner and managing director of an impact fund with a portfolio of twenty companies in multiple sectors that can make the world more positive for all life on the planet. He and his wife especially enjoy hiking in natural areas.
Ivan founded Nature and Culture International in 1997, and has led our efforts to protect millions of acres of tropical ecosystems. He is the co-founder of the Del Mar Partnership, one of the earliest developers of biotech laboratories in San Diego, as well as prestigious projects like the Del Mar Plaza. His firm has won the Urban Land Institute’s National Award of Excellence. Ivan has served on numerous boards in San Diego, including the Museum of Man and the Director’s Cabinet at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In 2010, Ivan won the San Diego Zoological Society Conservation Medal, previously bestowed on conservation icons such as E.O. Wilson and Jane Goodall.
Sue received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from UC San Diego, where she served on the Board of the Alumni Association. She taught Math at the University of San Diego and currently volunteers as a math tutor for an alternative education high school in Oceanside. She and her husband Steve live in North County, where he co-founded the company ViaSat. Sue and Steve actively support a number of organizations including Nature and Culture, UC San Diego, Interfaith Community Services, KPBS, and Mainly Mozart.
Founder and Chief Conservation Officer
Renzo has broad experience in the field of conservation. In 1996, Renzo and Ivan Gayler established the San Francisco Scientific Station in southern Ecuador, which now supports the largest tropical mountain forest ecology research program in the world. Under Renzo’s direction, Nature and Culture’s conservation model was first developed in Ecuador and then expanded to Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. Renzo served as coordinator of the United Nations Geo-Loja report and was president of the Regional Council of the Catamayo-Chira River Basin. In recognition of his efforts, Renzo received the Podocarpus Award from Loja’s Provincial Council for his conservation and environmental management efforts. He holds a Master’s in Zootechnics from the People’s Friendship University in Moscow.
Diana is the founder and lead advisor at myathenacapital.com, a firm that helps women take control of their finances and invest in conscious companies. As a financial planner and tax lawyer with over a decade of experience, she has represented multinational corporations, investment funds, and high-net-worth individuals on matters ranging from international tax planning to charitable giving to cryptocurrency tax compliance. Diana earned a B.A. with honors from The University of Chicago and a J.D., cum laude, from Boston University School of Law. She is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Project Management Professional (PMP®), trained mediator, and FINRA arbitrator. She lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with her husband and dog, and is passionate about preserving large landscapes.
Daniela is an environmental activist from Pereira, Colombia currently living in Boulder, CO. Over the past decade, Daniela has worked at the intersection of social issues and environmental challenges via nonprofits, philanthropy, consulting, and business, including as the co-founder of the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund in the Chilean Patagonia. She has been an enthusiastic fan and supporter of NCI’s model of conservation and deep partnership with Indigenous communities, which led her to join the organization’s Board of Directors in 2021. Daniela earned a BA from Stanford University, a Certificate in Tropical Forest Conservation from Yale School of the Environment, and a Masters in Environmental and Natural Resources Policy from CU Boulder.
Honorary Board Member
Jane Goodall is a world famous primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and Roots and Shoots. Her work began in Tanzania where she studied the social and familial behaviors of chimpanzees. She is considered the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees. Her work has been critical to conservation and animal welfare efforts.
Honorary Board Member
David Neill has lived in Ecuador since 1985, where he has been carrying out floristic projects, providing training to Ecuadorian botanists, and assisting in the development of the National Herbarium of Ecuador (QCNE). In the past he served as director of the Jatun Sacha Foundation, a nonprofit Ecuadorian organization engaged in conservation, education and research, and holds a position as a university professor in Quito.
Honorary Board Member
Byron Swift is an environmental lawyer, and has worked for the past four decades to conserve biodiversity and natural ecosystems in most countries of the Western hemisphere. He has served as President of Nature and Culture International, founder and President of Rainforest Trust, and head of the United States office of IUCN – the World Conservation Union. An avid birder, he graduated from Columbia Law School and Stanford University.
Honorary Board Member
Ed Wilson is a renowned biologist, author and Professor Emeritus at Harvard University. He is considered the world’s foremost expert on myrmecology, or the study of ants. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author known for his books ranging from biology to environmental advocacy and his secular-humanist ideas on the interplay between religion, ethics and conservation.