About Women in Conservation Leadership

Stronger conservation through women leaders of all ethnicities, races and cultures.

National Wildlife Federation is one of the largest and most powerful conservation organizations because of it’s unique ability to affect change with decision makers from the halls of Congress to grass tops and grassroots coalitions on the ground. National Wildlife Federation has spent decades building alliances of diverse communities – from the backyard gardener and weekend birder to the hunter/angler – all committed under the same conservation ethic that aspires to save America’s wildlife, wild spaces and our human connection to them. When we save wildlife, we save ourselves.
Women in Conservation Leadership is an important part of National Wildlife Federation’s 30 year vision to:
  • protect, restore and connect wildlife habitat
  • transform wildlife conservation
  • develop a conservation stewardship ethic
The Women in Conservation Leadership program develops, empowers and champions women leaders within the environmental community.
Although women comprise more than 60% of new hires and interns in environmental organizations, they make up only 30% of presidential and board chair positions – and women of color are dramatically underrepresented. We cannot achieve our conservation goals without the perspectives and leadership of all of the people our movement represents. Growing women’s leadership in conservation is critical to the success of our movement.
Women in Conservation Leadership provides skill building, training and networking opportunities to bolster and support women in the environmental field. We do this by acknowledging female-specific and intersectional identity barriers and by equipping women with networking opportunities, coaching and guidance to cultivate success in their personal and professional lives. We support women in all stages of their career and at every level of leadership.
Women in Conservation Leadership launched in 2017 alongside the Women in Conservation Leadership Summit, a conference for building women’s capacity in conservation. In just the first two years, Women in Conservation Leadership has reached hundreds of women across the country, and our community continues to grow. Join us today.
Learn more about the co-founders and leaders of Women in Conservation Leadership below.
Elizabeth Lillard
Women in Conservation Leadership Manager

Elizabeth Lillard is the Women in Conservation Leadership Program Manager for the National Wildlife Federation and is based out of the Great Lakes Regional Office in Ann Arbor. Dedicated to creating space for and amplifying others, her time is spent building and empowering female leaders across the conservation movement. As one of the founders of the program, Elizabeth believes that conservation success will not happen without robust leadership from women of all interests and backgrounds. She also serves on NWF’s National Equity and Justice Steering Committee and supports the committee’s fundraising and development efforts. Prior to joining the National Wildlife Federation, Elizabeth worked at the Great Lakes Commission where she helped develop a nutrient trading program in the Lower Fox River. Elizabeth received a B.A. in Geology from Wellesley College, and a M.S. in Conservation Ecology from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Kaila Drayton
Director of Operations, Programs and Equity
Kaila Drayton is a National Geographic Explorer, conservation photographer, and storyteller. She first realized the power of photography as a storytelling tool when she traveled to the country of Niger. Niger opened Kaila’s eyes to the challenges and dangers faced by people, specifically women, in developing nations. After Niger, Kaila traveled to El Salvador, using photography to tell the story of children in both private and government-run orphanages. The photographic series focused on the economic and political challenges faced by the Salvadoran people. She then traveled to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands to document how tourism and nature intersect and what the Ecuadorian people are doing to protect their country’s natural resources. In 2009, Kaila joined the Peace Corps in Panama, serving as an agriculture volunteer and capturing her time in the field as well as in the community. Her photographic work from all four aforementioned countries has been featured on BBC News Online.
Chanté Coleman
Director of Equity and Inclusion
Chanté is the Director of Equity and Inclusion at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) where she ensures equity is embedded across the organization by advising on strategies, structure and processes. She leads the development and implementation of comprehensive and integrated strategic equity plans and activities that drive culture change.  Prior to this, Chanté was the Director of the Choose Clean Water – Chesapeake Bay Coalition at NWF where she led strategies on a regional scale to support the Coalition and its members evolve to have an intentional focus on equity and justice. She also serves as a co-lead of National Wildlife Federation’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Steering Committee. In addition to training and facilitating at conferences across the country, Chanté is a member of the Green Leadership Trust and was named as a “rising star” by Green 2.0. She is a strong collaborator, and brings great passion and dedication to this role—and she is a firm believer in self-care, regularly practicing yoga and meditation.
Heather Davis Miller
Director of Conservation Partnerships, Mid-Atlantic
Heather is currently the Director of Conservation Partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Center. In her role she works to build organizational and programmatic capacity for the Federation’s affiliates in the region. Heather also engages in programmatic work in the Ohio River Basin as well as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center’s habitat connectivity conservation efforts. Additionally, she serves on the Federation’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Steering Committee and is the lead on the committee’s communication efforts as well as the affiliate initiatives.  Heather is a lifelong conservationist previously leading urban conservation policy programs for The Wilderness Society, Community Health Councils, and the USDA Forest Service. When not working her day job, Heather escapes to the mountain lakes near her home in Vermont with her kayak to clear her head or train for her next big race. Whether she’s working or playing she is always thinking about paddling and serves on the American Canoe Association’s Board of Directors and lends her organizational capacity building skills as well as her competition experience and policy chops.
Jennifer Hill
Associate Director - Great Lakes Regional Center
Jennifer Hill serves as the Associate Director for NWF’s Great Lakes Regional Center where she is charged with the management and oversight of key programs, carrying out key elements of strategic planning implementation, and new program development and associated fundraising. Jennifer was an active member of the Great Lakes Advisory Board from 2013-2018, advising the Environmental Protection Agency on best practices for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Jennifer currently serves on the planning committee for the Women in Conservation Leadership effort which was launched in 2017 to empower women across the Federation to grow as conservation leaders.  Jennifer received her B.A. in Environmental Science from the University of Michigan School Of Natural Resources and the Environment in 2005.
Geralyn Hoey
Director of Conservation Partnerships, South Central
Geralyn is a Director of Conservation Partnerships for NWF’s South Central Regional Center in Austin, Texas, working with state affiliates and partners in Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.  She has been with NWF since January 2008. Geralyn also co-chairs the Design Team for the NWF Annual Meeting. Previously, she was Executive Director of the Cumberland River Compact, a regional watershed organization based in Nashville, Tennessee that focused on education and cooperation to enhance water quality.  She has also served on the boards of many non-profit organizations throughout her career.
Hillary Fenrich
Senior Coordinator, Tropical Forests & Agriculture
As Senior Coordinator, Hillary Fenrich works to facilitate the work of our international team particularly regarding the support of projects on cattle and soy in Latin America. Prior to joining the National Wildlife Federation, her career focus of sustainable conservation projects led her to manage a field station on the edge of Manu Biosphere Reserve in Peru and explore the heart of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Consistent hand-on collaboration on projects regarding tropical forests has given her a strong understanding of the local and global impacts of tropical deforestation.
Rebeca Villegas
Manager, Environmental Justice

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