Board of Directors
Our board of directors comprises a passionate and supportive group of professionals from many industries who are dedicated to achieving CORAL's mission in our project sites throughout the world and expanding CORAL's work significantly in years to come.
James R. Tolonen (Board Chair)
Jim was elected to CORAL's Board in 2009. Since 1972, he has been involved in the Silicon Valley High tech industry, and has held CFO, COO, President and other executive and Board of Directors positions in both public and private companies. His accomplishments include taking two companies from start-up through becoming public, and growing two other global public companies from several hundred million dollars to several billion dollars in revenue. Jim retired in 2008, but is currently a member of the Imperva, Inc. board of directors, the chairman of the Conservation Committee of the Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen, and a volunteer with the Coastal Watershed Council. He was previously a member of the Blue Coat Systems, Inc. Board of Directors. He also spends time traveling with his wife Ginger, scuba diving, motorcycling, and fishing. Jim has been an avid scuba and skin diver since 1962, and was NITROX certified; he is also an amateur photographer, both above and under water. He is passionate about habitat preservation in general, and the marine environment and sustainable practices in particular. Jim received both BSME and MBA degrees from the University of Michigan, and then earned his CPA in1974.
H. William Jesse, Jr. (Treasurer)
Since 1986, Bill has been an investor in and advisor to a host of growth-oriented consumer product and service companies. He has worked with such firms as WIRED Ventures, Design Within Reach, Specialized Bicycle Components, and Peet’s Coffee & Tea. Overall, Bill has served on over twenty boards in the last thirty-five years. He presently is Chairman and CEO of Pure Sculpture, an early-stage art business, Executive Chairman of BuDhaGirl (a fashion and personal development company), Chairman at The Wine Group (the second largest U.S. wine business), Chairman of The Hive Group (a data visualization company), and Chairman of Serena & Lily (a fast growing home furnishings company). Prior to 1986, Bill worked extensively in operating management, as CEO of two cruise lines and with responsibility for an extensive collection of marketing and distribution businesses operating in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Bill is a graduate of Lehigh University (B.Sc. and M.Sc.) and the Harvard Business School (MBA). He joined CORAL's board in 2007, and served as Chair from 2010 to 2012. In addition, he serves as an Advisory Board member of the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas.
C. Elizabeth Wagner, Esq. (Secretary)
Elizabeth was elected to CORAL’s board in 2007. She is the senior advisor to the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Large and Mid-Size Business Division in Washington D.C. Prior to joining the IRS, Elizabeth served as director of governmental affairs for the National Association of Bond Lawyers (NABL), where she managed the interaction of NABL with the federal government. Elizabeth has also worked in the national tax offices of KPMG, LLP, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, LLP, and for the Department of the Treasury and law firm Latham & Watkins. She earned a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas, a master’s degree in accountancy/taxation from the University of Houston, and a law degree from The University of Texas. A certified scuba diver for more than a decade, Elizabeth volunteers as a diver and underwater presenter at the National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB), has participated in NAIB fish exploration and collection trips, and has conducted REEF field surveys. She currently resides in Washington, D.C.
John Anner has been President of the East Meets West Foundation since February 2003. A former Peace Corps volunteer in Mauritania, he has worked in many sectors of international development. Responsible for overall project design, strategy, relationships, and implementation, John has successfully developed and launched several large-scale international projects in clean water, education, disabilties, and pediatric health. John is known as an innovative social entrepreneur; he has launched several successful businesses and non-profits over the past 20 years, and has worked on a number of large-scale public/private partnerships. Prior to EMW, John founded and directed the Independent Press Association, was Publications Director at the Center for Third World Organizing, and worked in Central America on grassroots and civil society projects. He was also Editor in Chief of Nicaraguan Perspectives magazine. He holds a BA from Tufts University, an MS from UC Davis, and is currently enrolled in a PhD program in Public Policy and Administration.
Ian is owner and founder of BlueSky Mediation & Law, a San Francisco-based firm helping companies, people, and governments resolve their environmental and energy disputes through collaboration and mediation. In 2011, Fulbright New Zealand sponsored Ian as an Axford Fellow to improve the nation’s legal regime for allocating coastal space for ocean renewable energy. Prior to New Zealand, Ian practiced environmental law in California where he helped Fortune 100 companies, coastal developers, and international sailing teams comply with domestic and international environmental laws. He clerked for the Costa Rican Ministry of Energy and Environment, as well as for Oceana, during law school. Ian was a peripatetic laborer in his youth, toiling two seasons in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, teaching English in Nepal, cleaning yoga studios in Vermont, and learning how to live by his wits. He now happily lives by the ocean with his wife.
Linda was elected to CORAL’s board in 2007. She is the principle of Cain Travel, the fifth largest travel management company in Colorado and one of the fifty fastest growing businesses in the state, a company she cofounded with her late husband, David. Former owner of Scuba Joes Dive Shop, Linda is an expert in both travel and the dive industry. She has served on the board of Hertz, the United Airlines Travel Agency, and other industry-related organizations, and is currently a member of the Sutherland Foundation's board of directors. Linda began her career in the travel industry in 1967, after attending the University of Colorado. She currently resides in Boulder, Colorado.
Paula was elected to CORAL’s board in 2000. She has led Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)’s fund-raising efforts for more than twenty years. When she joined the organization in 1986, the budget was around $3 million; today EDF is raising more than $100 million annually. Prior to joining EDF, she served as a consultant and chief fundraising counsel for UNICEF and Women's World Banking, and helped raise money globally for UNDP. A founding member of Earth Share, a consortium of environmental organizations, Paula has served on the boards of Oxfam and many other organizations. She currently resides in New Rochelle, New York.
Dr. Nancy Knowlton
Nancy was elected to CORAL's board in 2010. Her research centers on the ecology, evolution, and conservation of coral reef organisms, and she currently serves as the Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and adjunct professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She was the Founding Director of the Scripps Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, and is also a Staff Scientist Emeritus with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. She chairs the editorial board of the Smithsonian's Ocean Portal web project and the synthesis panel of the World Bank's Coral Reef Targeted Research project. She also co-leads the Census of Marine Life's coral reef initiative, which focuses on documenting the amazing biodiversity that coral reefs shelter. Nancy holds a B.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, and is the author of over fifty peer-reviewed scientific journal research articles.
Elizabeth Ulmer, Esq.
A former board chair and vice chair, Elizabeth was originally elected to CORAL's board in 1996 and currently serves as a member of the executive, development, and governance committees. Elizabeth is a nonprofit development consultant and currently works with Island Press. She has consulted for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and Greenpeace USA, and serves on several nonprofit boards. Elizabeth earned a law degree from the University of Texas–School of Law and currently resides in Washington, D.C.