DR. MICHELLE LEWIS
Michelle is the founder and Executive Director of the Peace Garden Project, a non-profit with gardens in New York and North Carolina to address food justice. It looks at intersections of food justice and other justice issues. Her doctorate in ministry from Candler School of Theology focused on food justice and spirituality. Prior to relocating to North Carolina, Michelle pastored a multi-racial/multi-ethnic church in New Rochelle, N.Y. and has pastored churches on the Outer Banks of N.C., in Catskill, New York, and East Berlin, Connecticut.
Michelle also spent two years as the Youth Worker at Newtown United Methodist Church, and assisted in providing pastoral care to the congregation in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. Michelle graduated from Yale with a Master of Environmental Science and a Master of Divinity. She is the first person of color to complete the joint degree program in religion and ecology at Yale. She focused on connecting underserved populations to the environment, and the potential role of religion. Michelle formerly served as a mayoral appointee for the New Rochelle Sustainability Commission, and as Chair of the Environmental Justice Committee for the New Haven Branch of the NAACP. She also spent time working at the United Nations in an internship as an advisor to the Federated States of Micronesia on Climate Policy.
Before Yale, Michelle spent 12 years as a US Park Ranger, working as a Biological Science Technician, Educator, and Law Enforcement Officer. Michelle has produced two award-winning documentaries, Stairway to the Top of Hatteras, for which she was awarded a Communicator Award of Distinction with Boyer Video and Law Enforcement in the National Park Service, that won the NPS Intake Program award for innovation and creativity. Michelle holds a B.A. from Elizabeth City State University, and a M.A. from Regent University.
BRIAN T. MULLIS
Brian, American, is a destination management, development and marketing specialist. From April 2018–2020, he was the Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), in which time the country became globally recognized as a leading sustainable destination. Prior to leading the GTA, he founded and led Sustainable Travel International for 14 years. Leading initiatives and delivering innovative solutions within governmental agencies and multinational and for MSMEs and community leaders in 70+ countries has given Brian a unique ability to foster multi-stakeholder collaboration, bridge communication divides, and generate tangible results at scale. This stems from 25+ years of experience in CEO positions in the private, public and civil sectors and a long track record of generating positive socio-economic and conservation outcomes through tourism. Brian has also held leadership positions on the World Economic Forum Future of Travel and Tourism Council, UN 10YFP Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee, and the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. Prior to becoming a director, he served as country representative in Guyana and technical service member before that.
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 VALENZUELA - CHAIR
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.