National Board Members

The Trust for Public Land benefits from the expertise and guidance of the National Board of Directors and its emeritus members. State advisory boards attuned to local conservation needs help guide our work across the country.

Laura Richards

Background and expertise: Founder and chair of the Friends of Carrollton GreenBelt (founded in 2011); currently serves as manager of Lakeview Farms LLC; previously worked for A.D.A.M. Software in Atlanta, for McMahon Publishing as a managing editor in New York City, and for Vermont Bicycle Touring as a European guide in Holland, Italy, France, and Spain; serves as a board member for the PATH Foundation in Atlanta and the Tanner Medical Foundation in Carrollton; graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1994; resides on 79 acres within the city of Carrollton with her husband, Jim Naughton and three daughters.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "A quotation I like about land and parks is: 'One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,' by Shakespeare. For me, parks are about uniting people and place."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: I give because The Trust for Public Land has a track record of helping in places where quality of life needs attention. For example, my city now enjoys a 26-acre park, which was one of The Trust for Public Land's projects. I want others elsewhere to share in a similar positive experience.

Roy Richards, Jr.

Background and expertise: Chairman of Southwire Company; served as past president of the International Cablemakers Federation; past chair of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce; elected "Georgia's Most Respected CEO" in 1999 by readers of Georgia Trend magazine; active fly fisherman, downhill skier, and reader; resides with his family in Charleston, South Carolina.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "We are creatures that need open, natural space for our health and happiness. Without access to the land, we would be a lesser people. As our country becomes more urbanized, I believe it's time to rethink exploitation before all of our wild land is gone, and before parkland becomes too expensive to wrest from the path of development."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "I was introduced by another committed board member and have been attached ever since. I truly identify with the land-for-people mission. There is near-unanimous support for the protection of green space, once we remind people that it should be done. The Trust for Public Land advocates for conservation and provides the tools and financing to make it possible."

William Rogers
President and Chief Executive Officer

Will Rogers is the president and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. He has been with the organization since 1991, first as the director of California, Hawaii, and Nevada operations and as CEO beginning in 1998.

Rogers is a nationally recognized advocate for land conservation and has given major addresses or interviews to the Urban Land Institute, the National Smart Growth Conference, the National Brownfields Conference, and Talk of the Nation, among others.

Prior to joining The Trust for Public Land, Rogers managed urban projects for a Chicago-based real estate development company, managing both new construction and the rehabilitation of vacant industrial buildings for commercial, office, and residential use. Before becoming a developer and then an "undeveloper," Rogers was a commercial beekeeper, founding and managing a commercial honey production company in Bogotá, Colombia.

He is a graduate of Stanford University and received his MBA from Harvard University. Will lives with his family in Kensington, California. In addition to tending to the chickens, beehives, and vegetables in his backyard, his favorite outdoor activities are hiking, backcountry skiing, and bicycle touring.

Lex Sant

Background and expertise: Co-founder and managing director of Persimmon Tree Capital; past director in the Alternative Energy group at AES Corporation, responsible for the origination and execution of transactions related to biofuels, wind, and other forms of renewable energy; director emeritus and past chairman of Island Press; treasurer and trustee of the Summit Foundation; MBA (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School; Lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two daughters.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "As people, we need natural places in order to be ourselves. Whether it's a small city park that provides a quiet refuge from a busy day or a wild landscape with the broad vista to inspire awe, our interactions with nature are made possible by the places we protect for ourselves and for all those who will follow us."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "It takes great skill and deep knowledge to provide and protect the natural and special places, small and large, on which we rightly depend for human wellbeing. For 40 years, The Trust for Public Land has focused on this important work with an enviable entrepreneurial spirit and a deep commitment to conservation, which benefits us all."

Sheryl Crockett Tishman

Background and expertise: Philanthropist and environmentalist; serves on The Trust for Public Land's national board; serves on the board of trustees of the Mianus River Gorge Preserve and Teton Valley Ranch Camp; former trustee of The Open Space Institute, The George Mitchell Scholarship Foundation, and The Meade School in Stamford, Connecticut, as well as the National Audubon Society Expedition Institute, where she also served as trip leader; former teacher at Weymouth House, Maine; owner/proprietor of Sleepy Hollow Llama Farm, Jefferson, Maine; B.S. in environmental studies from Middlebury College; M.S. in education from Lesley University; avid outdoorswoman who enjoys wilderness travel with her husband and two sons.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "My greatest teacher has been and continues to be the natural world. I feel honored, as well as responsible, to do what I can to enable future generations to have nature in their lives. Ensuring that there are protected lands for years to come is a win for us all."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "Many environmental advocacy organizations do amazing work. What sets The Trust For Public Land apart for me is its focus on the belief that all people have the right to experience the natural world every day-making our planet stronger and healthier. From inner city parks to iconic landscapes, The Trust for Public Land accomplishes projects that greatly enhance people's exposure to the natural environment."

F. Jerome Tone

Background and expertise: Serves as agent for Hellman Properties LLC in Seal Beach, California; former general partner and executive vice president of Montgomery Capital Corporation in San Francisco; served as a director of the Alamitos Land Company in Signal Hill, California; former chief financial officer with BRIDGE Housing Corporation; former vice president in the real estate lending department at Wells Fargo Bank; currently serves on The Trust for Public Land's national board of directors, and the board of the Seattle Parks Foundation; graduated from Williams College and received his MBA from the University of California-Berkeley.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "When I walk through cities across America, I am struck to see that the parks, trails, and open spaces are in constant use. There is always a resident, a couple, a family, or a group who are using our public spaces. These spaces are open and free: a perfect demonstration of our democracy at work. For example, my father recently pointed out an older fellow who sits on a bench in a central riverside park across the street from a coffee shop dad frequents. He told me that the guy is there every day. We were in Cleveland, Ohio, and so I asked, 'I wonder what he does in the winter?' Dad said, 'He's there in the winter!' Sitting in the park, enjoying his community. That's why I believe in protecting land and creating parks. The Trust for Public Land is doing a fantastic job creating special places for people to get outside and enjoy their communities."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "Having been on the 'inside' of The Trust for Public Land for many years, I can attest to the fact that the income that comes into the organization is allocated and used very efficiently. The Trust for Public Land leverages its resources in the most amazing ways, with project teams, the legal team, the finance and administrative teams cooperating to bring complicated and expensive transactions to closure. They navigate complex political situations at the local, regional, state, and federal levels-with thousands of examples (5,000-plus transactions to date) demonstrating their professionalism and efficiency. I am very proud to be associated with staff and volunteers for The Trust for Public Land and to have witnessed so many incredible transactions which have enhanced communities across the country."

Ana Valdez

Background and expertise

Co-founder and president of Valdez Consulting Group, Inc.; current principal of The 650 Company; graduated from the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico with a degree in business; received master's degree in international relations in Spain. Formerly held positions with the AC Nielsen Co., Banamex, and the United Nations; held assignments within the Clinton-Gore administration; serves on the boards of Southern California Public Radio, Los Angeles Universal Preschool, Los Angeles Children's Bureau, and the Public Policy Advocacy Planning Group; formerly served on the board of American Public Media, as chair of the Center for Early Education's Multicultural Committee, as co-founder and vice chair of FOCUS, and as a director of Southern California Goodwill Industries.

Why I support The Trust for Public Land

From the moment I read the mission of The Trust for Public Land, I knew I wanted to be part of it. I believe in empowering communities nationwide for a better livability: preserving green spaces, historic sites, and parks is a basic part of that. I am also excited about The Trust for Public Land's commitment to generating public support for pro-conservation policies. Creating awareness at all levels is the key to a better and more balanced world for everybody.

Why I believe in the importance of protecting land and creating parks

When my first son was born, it was clear from the beginning that he would be a naturalist: he adored all kinds of animals, plants, and every manifestation of nature around us. I became a volunteer park ranger originally to enjoy nature with him, and I went on to become a guide of park tours for underprivileged kids from urban areas. Their fascination when seeing a park for the first time made me realize that the lack of green spaces in their lives was much more important-and unfortunately, more of a handicap-than I had thought. The Trust for Public Land makes me hopeful that eventually many more kids will be able to grow up like my children, with close-to-home access to places to run, learn, and thrive.

Susan D. Whiting

Background and expertise: C-level executive and board director working with multinational corporate and not-for-profit organizations in the United States; served for the past decade as top advisor and director for consumer, technology, and financial services companies, working with executive leadership, external business partners, clients, and investors; currently serves on the board of directors for Alliant Energy Corporation and DJE Holdings; actively involved in several community, educational, and environmental organizations, including Denison University and as the chair of the board of the The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum; served as vice chair at Nielsen; retired from the company in January 2014, after a 35-year career; known for building Nielsen's most visible franchise in television measurement during the cable, telecommunications, and media industries' digital transition; currently resides in Chicago and Wisconsin with her children.

Why I believe protecting land and creating parks: "Green spaces and parks have a unique ability to transform cities and urban spaces, inspiring people-both young and old-to be a part of their community. We need to preserve the land for all those who come after us. It is our national legacy."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "I support The Trust for Public Land because I believe in its core mission. I also believe it is our civic duty to protect our environment for future generations."