Jean Knaack is the Chief Executive Officer of the Road Runners Club of America where she has served in the role since 2005. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay with a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Nutrition. She earned a Master’s of Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from George Mason University. She has extensive skills in organizational and financial development, board and member relations, and program planning and implementation.
Stephen Awoyemi, Nigerian, earned his PhD at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University (CEU), Vienna, Austria. His doctoral research focused on how sociological theory can help explain and solve the conservation problem of trade in vulture parts for belief-based use in Nigeria. He holds a master’s degree in Conservation Leadership from the University of Cambridge and currently serves as the vice chair of the University of Cambridge Conservation Leadership Alumni Network Council. His research interests broadly include conservation social science, conservation policy, and religion and conservation.
Before starting his PhD program, Stephen worked with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, the foremost conservation organization in Nigeria, as Conservation Policy and Campaign Officer/Head of Abuja Office and has been a longtime volunteer with the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB). He served as President of two groups (Africa Section and Religion and Conservation Biology Working Group) concurrently, within the SCB, from 2015-2017. In September 2020, Stephen was awarded the CEU Presidential Scholar Award for academic excellence and leadership proficiency.
He currently is under contract with his university to advise graduate students.
Shanti has worked with Sean Esbjorn-Hargens, the founder of the MetaIntegral Associates, focusing on teaching the MetaImpact framework through courses called “Designing Wisdom Economies” and on working towards the creation of multicapital value accounting software. He has spent a decade living at two different ecovillages that were also nonprofit education centers, spending a significant amount of his time in leadership roles at those organizations.
He spent three years on the board of the Sirius, Inc. nonprofit, including approximately two years as treasurer. He also spent a couple of years on the statewide steering board for the Massachusetts 350.org network. Over the length of his career, he has founded or worked for over half a dozen environmental nonprofit organizations.
Overall, he has worked in the nonprofit sector for most of his career. He also has expansive training and practice in ecological conscious raising work, having trained directly with Joanna Macy and others in Experiential Deep Ecology, along with training in similar work by the Pachamama alliance.
Sherwood, American, is an independent facilitator based in Centennial, Colorado, with thirty years of experience in strategic and operational planning, and group facilitation methods training. He was an international staff member of the Institute of Cultural Affairs responsible for integrated rural development projects for 10 years in Indonesia and Jamaica. Sherwood is a founding member of the ToP Network of Trainers and Facilitators and is a certified mentor trainer licensed by ICA-USA in the Technology of Participation (ToP®). He is also a founding member of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF).
For the past fifteen years, Sherwood has worked extensively with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome and worldwide. He has led strategy sessions and priority setting retreats with FAO departments, along with multi-stakeholder meetings from 25 to 250 participants. He has also trained over 500 FAO staff in group facilitation methods, to support productive meetings at all levels of the Organization. In the past three years, Sherwood has facilitated planning retreats for RESULTS – at Microcredit Summits in the Philippines, Mexico and UAE. These global summits have developed formal commitments from microfinance organizations to build pathways out of poverty, emphasizing multi-sector partnerships with links to health and education.
DR. TRACE GALE
Trace is a U.S. citizen with permanent residency in Chile, where she is a senior researcher and currently serves as the coordinator of the Human-Environmental Interactions Research Group (HEI) within the Center for Investigation in Ecosystems of Patagonia (CIEP), located in the city of Coyhaique. Through an integral lens, her research interests are broadly centered on human-environmental dynamics at the intersection of conservation and development.
Her areas of focus include human values, perceptions, affect, and experiences, with the goal of understanding how these human dynamics converge with regards to natural resource management, community development/wellbeing, and protected areas. She has led teams in the development of visitor use planning methodology, multiple national park and reserve visitor use plans, and ongoing tools for visitor use management and development. She is an affiliate professor with the University Austral of Chile, where she teaches undergraduate courses in parks, outdoor recreation, and tourism, and an affiliate professor with the University of Montana, USA, where she participates in collaborative research and graduate committees. She has designed and taught numerous undergraduate and graduate level courses about authenticity and transformative tourism experiences, and methods for planning and managing visitor experiences in protected places.
Francisco, American, is a leader in outdoor recreation planning and management with 40 years of experience working primarily with the USDA Forest Service. A solid history of creative and outstanding work in the field of outdoor recreation and planning beginning in 1973 for Colorado State Parks, he has contributed to recreation programs on public lands across the United States and overseas. He has trained managers and consulted in recreation management projects in Latin America, the Near East, and Africa, published professional papers and journals, appeared on Public Television addressing recreation issues and spoken on the topic of sustainable recreation at national meetings.
In 1991 he received the National Conservation Education Award for leadership in the planning, design, and construction of the El Portal Visitor and Education Center in Puerto Rico. In 1992, he received the Recreation Image Champion Award, “for presenting a region wide image as an outstanding recreation professional." National Academy of Sciences recognized his work in the planning of Mount St. Helens National Monument in 1995. In 2002, he was given the Land Manager of the Year Award by the Continental Divide Trail Alliance. In 2009 he was recognized for excellence in government and received the largest cash award ever given by the Washington office recreation program.
In 2016 the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals designated him a senior fellow for significant knowledge of outdoor recreation planning, management and significant accomplishments. In 2017 the Recreation Roundtable Awarded him with the highest honor in Federal government for recreation leadership, the Legions Award. In 2019 the Arizona Trail Association awarded their highest award for contributions to the national scenic trails. Francisco has planned for and implemented more recreation projects including trail projects, visitor centers and special area plans than any other current recreation planner in the Forest Service.