Vice President for National and International Conservation Programs
Sarah Laskin serves as the Vice President for National and International Conservation Programs at the National Wildlife Federation, leading the organization’s work to implement national and international programs in the cause of conservation and to integrate these with regional program work. Laskin is an accomplished leader and facilitator with over 20 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations on global programs in conservation, science, public engagement, and storytelling.
Prior to joining the National Wildlife Federation, Laskin spent 16 years at the National Geographic Society in their Science and Exploration Programs. There she served as senior vice president and chief operating officer for Science and Exploration through July 2016 and oversaw strategic planning, budgeting, and program development and implementation across National Geographic’s global field research, conservation, exploration, and public events activities.
Prior to joining National Geographic in 2000, Laskin spent five years working on ocean, coastal, and fishery policy issues in the Clinton Administration. She served as associate director for fisheries and coastal issues at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and as the program examiner for NOAA programs at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, which she joined as a Presidential Management Fellow in 1995.
Laskin has a master’s degree from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard.
Vice President for International Conservation and Corporate Strategies
Barbara and her team work with the private sector to sever the link between deforestation and agricultural production; she helps global brands and retailers to avoid purchasing agricultural and forest commodities that originate from recently cleared tropical forests and other carbon rich lands. She is the Chair of the International Board of the Forest Stewardship Council, the preeminent eco-label for wood and paper products from sustainably managed forests, and formerly chaired the Board of Directors of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, which is the equivalent certification organization for biofuels and bio-based products.
Barbara was a key organizer of the International NGO Forum at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and she worked closely with Mexican NGOs for several years, to enhance their advocacy and environmental education skills.
Before joining NWF, she served as legal advisor to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and as an environmental lawyer in private practice.
Barbara earned a J.D. from George Washington University, and a B.A. from George Mason University. Barbara has lived in Latin America for almost 5 years and speaks both Spanish and Portuguese.
Nathalie Walker, Ph.D., is Director, Tropical Forest and Agriculture at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). She has over 15 years of experience in researching and addressing drivers of tropical deforestation, working for the NWF, the Global Canopy Programme and Oxford University’s Department of International Development. Although she started her career working in tropical forests, recognizing that the greatest threats to forests often lie far outside of them, Dr. Walker has focused her work in recent years on the private sector, civil society and government initiatives to reduce deforestation.
As manager of the Tropical Forest and Agriculture Project, David Burns leads NWF’s work on palm oil, most notably in Southeast Asia, providing strategic counsel as a member of the High Carbon Stock Approach Steering Group and as lead liaison to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. David also follows the international climate negotiations for NWF, focusing on land use, avoided deforestation (REDD+), and agriculture. Prior to joining NWF, David worked on land use finance and policy at the World Bank and as a consultant.
As manager of the Tropical Forest and Agriculture project, Simon Hall leads NWF’s work on cattle and soy in Latin America. He is the liaison to the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) as well as the Brazilian Roundtable on Sustainable Livestock (GTPS). As the lead natural resource economist, Simon provides strategic guidance in the application of economic decision making tools and market-based approaches to conservation. Prior to joining NWF, Simon worked on land use change and agriculture expansion in frontier regions of the Brazilian Amazon as a researcher and consultant with Salisbury University and North Carolina State University.
As Program Coordinator for the Tropical Forests and Agriculture Project, Kiryssa Kasprzyk focuses on facilitating the coordination of key partners, including nonprofits, academics, and government representatives across Latin America and Southeast Asia, as well as organizing capacity-building workshops and supporting NWF’s work in international climate negotiations. Prior to joining NWF, Kiryssa worked at the Environmental Protection Agency and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru. Kiryssa has a dual Masters in Environmental Science and Public Affairs from Indiana University and a dual BS/BA from Stetson University in Deland, FL.
As Senior Coordinator, Hillary Fenrich works to facilitate the work of our international team particularly regarding the support of projects on cattle and soy in Latin America. Prior to joining the National Wildlife Federation, her career focus of sustainable conservation projects led her to manage a field station on the edge of Manu Biosphere Reserve in Peru and explore the heart of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Consistent hand-on collaboration on projects regarding tropical forests has given her a strong understanding of the local and global impacts of tropical deforestation.
Mauricio Bauer, MBA
Senior Corporate Engagement Specialist
Mauricio S Bauer was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and joined the National Wildlife Federation’s International Wildlife Conservation team in 2017 as Corporate Engagement Specialist. Mauricio built his career in the private sector in production and trading of agricultural commodities in Brazil, Australia and in the United States. He supports NWF’s corporate engagement efforts, focused on eliminating the loss and degradation of tropical and sub-tropical forest ecosystems in Latin America that result from the production of key agricultural commodities, primarily beef and soy. He is also responsible for supporting the development and execution of NWF’s corporate engagement activities with companies in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia, coordinating efforts with coalition partners.
Corporate Engagement Specialist
Rafael joined the International Wildlife Conservation team in 2019 as a Corporate Engagement Specialist. He has developed strategic solutions for several sectors in Brazil, including leather, footwear, furniture and jewelry. Rafael has over 20 years of experience working in the leather sector, and has been involved in leading global projects promoting the development of various industries. His passion is to foster new collaboration strategies that support the innovation of processes and products in order to create sustainable transformation, competitiveness, market access and social value.
Mariana Empis is a member of the National Wildlife Federation’s International Wildlife Conservation team as the Communications Coordinator for the Tropical Forests and Agriculture project. She works in facilitating internal and external communications and supporting the team’s efforts to reduce deforestation and land conversion associated with the production of agricultural commodities, namely beef and soy. Mariana received her BA from American University in 2016, followed by her MA in Environment and Development from King’s College London.
Sustainable Agribusiness Specialist
Francisco works to engage the private sector and obtain commitments to only source deforestation-free cattle, toward a sector-wide solution. He is based in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil, and built his carrier working for the agribusiness companies, financial sector, cooperatives, and as consultant. Since 2013 he has worked with sustainable development, especially at soy and beef markets, and participates at the Round Table for Responsible Soy – RTRS and both the Brazilian and Global Roundtable for Responsible Beef – GTPS and GRSB. Francisco graduated Agronomist in 1995, MBA in Agribusiness Market in 2000, both at ESALQ – USP, and Environmental Leadership Program at University of California, Berkeley, in 2015.
International Wildlife Conservation Fellow
Julia Jeanty is the International Wildlife Conservation Fellow, a position in which she works to maintain and expand the social media presence of the International Team and supports her team in improving U.S. international policy on climate change and tropical forest conservation. Julia is a 2018 graduate from the University of Florida with a dual degree in Environmental Geosciences and Sustainability Studies, as well as certificates in Geospatial Information Analysis and Meteorology and Climatology. Prior to joining NWF, she served as general manager of Conservation Initiative for the Asian Elephant, and worked for several geoscience organizations.
Data Analysis and Research Fellow
Ethen Whattam is a passionate environmental researcher whose interests lie at the intersection of conservation and sustainable supply chains. He is a 2019 graduate from the University of Washington with a degree in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. During his senior year, he lived in India as a recipient of the Boren Scholarship. Prior to joining NWF, Ethen worked at C4ADS where he investigated and analyzed the illicit networks behind the wildlife and timber trades in Asia and Africa. Outside of work, Ethen is a dedicated skier and backpacker.”