Board of Directors & Advisors

Advisory Board

CRC staff, Board members and Advisory Board members gather in North Point Park at the Conservancy’s annual Advisory Board meeting in 2016.


Virginia R. Foote (Chair, Development Committee) – resident of Cambridge
Virginia Foote is a finance and impact investing professional who has worked in private equity, corporate operations as well as investment banking. Foote currently is the Director of Fund Development at Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) Ventures, where she is responsible for developing and growing a portfolio of impact investment funds seeking both financial and environmental returns. Prior to joining CLF Ventures, Foote was the Director of Finance and Operations for a private equity fund investing in clean energy and materials. Foote is a member of the Trustees Collaborative, a greater-Boston parks advocacy group, and The Boston Club. Foote lives with her family in Cambridge and is an active user of the Charles River Parklands.


Jennifer Gilbert
Executive Director, Kuehn Charitable Foundation – resident of Cambridge
Jennifer Gilbert has a 20-year career in community development, specializing in technical assistance and project management for nonprofits in complex real estate development and facilities projects. She additionally serves as Executive Director of the Kuehn Charitable Foundation which focuses on affordable housing, historic preservation and open space. She bikes and walks regularly along the Charles for commuting, exercise and inspiration.  In 2013, she was thrilled to be among the first group in 60 years to jump in the Charles for a public swimming event.


Debra Iles, Chair
Higher Education Executive – resident of Newton
Debra Iles serves as the Associate 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 start-up, 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..


Lonsdale G. Koester
Resident of Cambridge
A self-described “serial do-gooder,” Lonsdale Koester is an experienced nonprofit and political/public sector leader with expertise in organizational development, strategic planning, policy analysis, financial management, fundraising, and volunteer engagement. She and her family love the Charles River in all its seasons, and most especially from the bow of their sturdy old green canoe.


Steve Kropper
Partner, Skunk Works Fund resident of Arlington
Steve is an entrepreneur in clean energy, telecom and big data. He organized GovOnTheT 2015, worked for the City of Boston, and held elected and committee assignments in Lexington. He was also responsible for maintenance of the Pleasant Brook Community Pool in Lexington for five years. He builds experimental kayaks, and in the summer, he paddles the Charles every week.


Edward LeFlore
Principal, CSL Consulting, LLC – Resident of Hopkinton
Ed LeFlore is one of the Principals and Founders of CSL Consulting, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in construction services in New England. Ed has spent most of his career working with clients on projects in and around the Boston and Cambridge area. He strives to preserve the public experience of the Charles River and parklands as the region continues to develop.


Harry Mattison (Chair, Strategic Planning Committee)
Software Developer – resident of Allston
Harry Mattison 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.



Joan Pickett (Chair, Finance Committee)
Senior Director, Planning & Business Development, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – resident of Cambridge
Joan Pickett has more than 13 years of experience working in strategic planning and business development at one of Boston’s top academic medical centers. She is active in civic activities including advocating for preservation of open space. She believes that the Charles River Parklands are one of the most valued open space resources in Cambridge.


Robyn Reed 
Principal/Founder, Studio Cosmo  – Cambridge resident Robyn is a landscape architect with over 18 years of experience. From waterfront planning to urban design projects, Robyn’s work has always emphasized strong and clear public realm connections. An alumna of the Rhode Island School of Design, she teaches design within the school’s Landscape Architecture Department. Robyn enjoys walking the paths along the Charles and looks forward to a time when the River feels even more connected to its neighborhoods.



Renata von Tscharner
Founder and retired President, Charles River Conservancy — resident of Cambridge
She founded the Conservancy in 2000 and led it until her retirement in 2018. She trained as an architect and urban designer in Switzerland, and all her professional life has focused on planning and improving public spaces. She co-authored several books, taught at various colleges and hosted a TV program. Renata enjoys bicycling along the river.

To contact Renata, please email

Ron Axelrod*
Former Head, TAM Engineering; valuable advisor to the Lynch Family Skatepark project- resident of Cambridge

Jay Baldwin*
Co-Founder, Wind River Capital Partners – resident of Cambridge

Jarrett Barrios
CEO, American Red Cross Los Angeles Region, former Massachusetts State Senator

Jeffrey Bilezikian
Principal, Mill Lane Management/philanthropist – resident of Watertown

Dan Calano*
Managing Partner, Prospectus – resident of Cambridge

Dennis Carlone
Architect & Planner, Cambridge City Councilor – resident of Cambridge

Philip Crutchfield
Retired business executive, Harvard Business School lecturer – resident of Cambridge

John DeVillars
Managing Partner, BlueWave Strategies – resident of Boston 

Catherine Donaher*
Principal of CD+A, founding Charles River Conservancy Board Member – resident of Brookline

Michael Dukakis
Professor at Northeastern University, former Governor of Massachusetts – resident of Brookline

Michael Epstein*
Retired physician, former COO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – resident of Cambridge

Paul Fremont-Smith, Jr.
Retired business executive/philanthropist – resident of Boston

John Isaacson
Executive, Isaacson, Miller – resident of Cambridge

Mark Kraczkiewicz*
Retired economist/international development – resident of Watertown

Daniel Langenthal
Director of the Leadership Development Institute at Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston  – resident of Cambridge

Frans Lawaetz
Systems Analyst, co-founded the Charles River Swimming Club – resident of Boston

Henry Lee
Founder of the Friends of the Public Garden – resident of Boston

Linda Lerner*
Consultant & Executive Coach – resident of Boston

Paul Moyer
Vice President and Principal, Gill Engineering – resident of Boston

Robert O’Brien*
Former Executive Director, Downtown North Association

Geraldine Pangaro
Retired VP, John Hancock Life Insurance Company – resident of Boston

Randy Peeler
Managing Director at Berkshire Partners – resident of Cambridge

Matthew Petrie*
Architect – resident of Watertown

Candace Roosevelt
Gift Planning Officer, American Red Cross – resident of Boston

Richard Saltzberg*
Owner, Charles River Publishing – resident of Newtown

Bruce Schwoegler
Founder & Chairman, MySky Communications, Inc. – resident of Wayland

Amy Segal*
Counsel, Wilmer-Hale – resident of Newton

John R. Shields
Principal of Shields Design, Project Director, Esplanade 2020, a Vision for the Future – resident of Boston

Lisa Stone*
Rower, artist – resident of Newton

Ann Tikkanen
Chief Financial & Administrative Officer at The Trustees of Reservations – resident of Cambridge

Paul Walker*
Program Director, Global Green USA, founding CRC board member – resident of Cambridge

Bill Ward, P.E.

Ania Wieckowski*
Managing Editor, Harvard Business Review Press – resident of Brighton

John T. Williams (Ike)
Attorney, Stern Shapiro Weissberg & Garin LLP – resident of Cambridge

Michelle Wu
Attorney, Boston City Councilor – resident of Boston

*Denotes former Board Member