BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Rachel D. Guthrie
President & Founder
Rachel is a Midwesterner native to the Ozarks. Currently an environmental attorney in Kansas City, Rachel double-majored in Biology & Environmental Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and worked on commercial fishing vessels in the Bering Sea of Alaska as a National Marine Fisheries Service-trained Pacific groundfish observer, and as a primate zookeeper intern at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans before receiving her J.D. with Certificate in Environmental & Natural Resource Law from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, OR. She currently sits on the American Bar Association’s Endangered Species Committee, and recently served a 3-year appointment on the Kansas City Environmental Management Commission, co-chaired the KC Metro Bar Association's Environmental & Energy Committee, and was a member of the Midwest Innocence Project's NextGen Advisory Board.
Chris is a Senior Account Executive with Hearst (Channels 9 and 29). She brings more than 15 years of broadcast and digital marketing and advertising experience to the board, having previously spent almost 10 years working for KCUR (NPR affiliate) and owning a catering company in the Crossroads (Moxie Catering). She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Chris has a passion for growing the non-profits and small businesses that make our community dynamic. When Chris is not spending time with her husband and daughter, you can find her in the garden, reading a good book or loving on her rescue dogs, Murph and Elliott.
Matt is currently a senior member of the Human Resources team at Netsmart Technologies. He brings 15 years of broad HR experience in a variety of industries to the organization, including nonprofit, privately-owned, and public companies. He is a Kansas City native, with a bachelor’s degree from Rockhurst University, and an MBA from Baker University. His expertise in the development and implementation of HR programs, change management, and an understanding of challenges unique to nonprofit organizations make him a great fit for our growing organization.
Michael is currently a Senior Finance Manager within JE Dunn Construction Company in Kansas City, MO. He brings over 15 years of public and private accounting experience to the organization. Camping, boating, and hiking are just a few of his favorite activities. When he is not enjoying time with his wife and two children, he is looking for some live music concerts around town. Michael's passion for nature and wildlife began at an early age through his father's similar interests and Boy Scouts.
James is currently employed with Utilities International, Inc. (consulting & software firm) where he is responsible for managing financial modeling engagements for clients in the energy & utility sectors. He has been involved with a wide range of projects, including the integration of newly acquired companies into financial systems, building models to forecast cash flows, and assessing risks & opportunities presented by renewable energy. Immediately prior to his employment with Utilities International, Inc., he managed the financial risk associated with a basket of interest rate products at a Chicago-based proprietary trading group. He earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Chicago and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is a licensed CPA. He previously volunteered with the Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club, offering guidance on energy policy issues. He enjoys family camping, riding a bicycle, and woodworking.
Anne is a senior environmental professional with broad experience and a desire to serve as a leader in raising environmental awareness and promoting sustainability initiatives in the areas of environmental and public health, recycling and waste reduction, energy and water conservation, and corporate and personal social responsibility. Anne is currently a Sr. Project Manager with Blackstone Environmental, Inc., focused on solid waste, site assessment, environmental permitting, monitoring and compliance, and data interpretation. Anne serves on the Steering Committee for the Green Business Network – Kansas City, through which she has planned activities highlighting environmentally conscious and sustainable actions currently being implemented by local government, industry, consultants, and educational institutions. Anne has served on the board of the Heartland Chapter of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers for ten years, currently as Secretary. Anne received a B.A. in Chemistry and a M.S. in Environmental Health Science from the University of Kansas.
Prof. Ray Pierotti
Ray is an Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas, where his research investigates the evolutionary biology of vertebrates with male parental care and socially monogamous breeding systems. He has done extensive research and scholarship on the relationship between wolves and humans.
Mandy heads up marketing and communications for Great Plains SPCA, working on strategic planning, brand management, media relations and community engagement. Prior to becoming the Director of Marketing and Communications at Great Plains, Mandy led sales and marketing for the design-build firm Dimensional Innovations and its product-oriented spinoff company, Shield Casework for seven years. For the first six years of her career, she implemented public relations and community engagement efforts for Kansas State University, Harvesters Food Bank and the City of Lenexa’s stormwater outreach program. Her passion for communication and environmental science led her to Kansas State University, where she graduated with a degree in environmental science and journalism.
PROF. Deborah Williams
Deb is Professor and Chair of the Johnson County Community College (“JCCC”) Environmental Science Department is a lifelong learner and career educator. She has a very broad, multidisciplinary academic background and holds advanced degrees in ecology, Indigenous studies, education, philosophy and law with a J.D. and certificates in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and Tribal Law from the University of Kansas. Her Master’s project in Ecology and Evolutionary biology at KU examined legal and ecological issues facing wolf recovery in the United States. Deb currently serves on the Kansas-NEA Board of Directors as the Higher Education Representative. Deb has a successful record of leadership and advocacy, having served three terms as the JCCC Faculty Association President and as the regular Lead Faculty Negotiator. She enjoys advocating for conservation and higher ed issues and creating ways to spotlight higher education and higher ed educators.
Kayla is a Kansas City native passionate for animal welfare, education and conservation. She earned her B.S. in Animal Science from Kansas State University in 2010. Currently she is a Behavior Consultant at Great Plains SPCA where she advocates for animals by helping people better understand animal behavior and how to manage it positively. After graduation, Kayla worked at the Kansas City Zoo for 7 years, where she lead a team of keepers managing polar bears, North American river otters, trumpeter swans, four species of penguins and numerous species of fish and invertebrates. While at the Kansas City Zoo, she assisted in the 2016 Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) census in Peru through a consortium with Brookfield Zoo and St. Louis Zoo. She also helped Kansas City Zoo enter the AZA Species Survival Plan Program for trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator) and partner with Iowa Department of Natural Resources to release captive-bred trumpeter swans into their historic breeding territory in Southern Iowa. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their many pets, as well as birding, SCUBA diving, cooking and gardening.
Maggie Mann Harrison
Maggie is the Behavior Team Manager at Great Plains SPCA (GP SPCA). One of her favorite things about GP SPCA is the big-picture focus the organization brings to population control, including spay and neuter programs, helping people manage hard behaviors in-home and training people to keep pets out of the rescue system. Before GP SPCA, Maggie spent 10 years in conservation. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point with a Major in Wildlife Research and Management and double minors in Biology and Captive Wildlife, Maggie completed 3 internships focused on charismatic mega fauna at AZA accredited zoos around the country, followed by 5 years at the Kansas City Zoo and the Sedgwick County Zoo (SCZ) in Wichita, KS. While at the SCZ, Maggie assisted with Species Survival Plan ex situ care of Mexican gray wolves and actively participated in 2 years of in situ conservation of black footed ferrets in the hills of Western Kansas.
Sean is a User Interface & Graphic Designer for the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he is responsible for designing and building web interfaces and visual material for the Libraries Division. One of his favorite things about his work is improving access, navigation, and awareness of both the digital and physical spaces of the libraries. He is an all-season bicycle commuter, a life-long vegetarian, and an ardent supporter of wildlife conservation. He enjoys spending time with his family, making music with his friends, and riding bikes with everyone.
Prof. Chris Serenari
Chris is an Assistant Professor in Human Dimensions of Wildlife at Texas State University. His research explores ways to improve wildlife governance, with a focus on imperiled species, landscape scale conservation, and private lands. He has spent nearly 20 years in the environmental field. In search of novel ways for humans to live in harmony with their planet, his studies have taken him to remote communities in the biodiversity hotpots of India, South Africa, Chile, and North Carolina. Chris obtained his B.S. in Environmental Health from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and a M.S. in Natural Resources and Ph.D. in Forestry and Environmental Resources from North Carolina State University. He served as a social scientist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for four years. In that span, he led the first rigorous and multi-year scientific study exploring the social dimensions of red wolf recovery and served on the Red Wolf Recovery Team in 2016. He has discussed his red wolf research in peer-reviewed outlets, classrooms, meetings, workshops, and conferences throughout the United States.
John Aaron Stark
Aaron is a lawyer and environmental steward based in San Diego, CA. Raised as a hunter, angler, and avid outdoorsman in the northeast along the Appalachian Trail, Aaron obtained a B.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Science at Penn State University in State College, PA. He worked as a watershed biologist for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection through AMERICORPS, and as a commercial fisheries observer with the National Marine Fisheries Service in Honolulu, HI before receiving his Juris Doctor and Environmental & Natural Resources certificate from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, OR. Aaron spent four and one half years on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, and has served as a board member of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, a pro-bono member of the Surfrider litigation team, and an elected member of the House of Delegates for the Oregon State Bar.
Lauren is a conservation researcher for Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, analyzing puma populations in the state. She earned her M.S. from the School of Natural Resources at the University of Missouri in Columbia. where her research focused on red wolf habitat suitability and human perceptions about carnivores. She received her Bachelor's in Wildlife Biology at Missouri State University.