EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - DARLENE MAY LEE
Darlene May Lee is a visionary leader with a track record of building sustainable and growing businesses, world-class teams, and strong stakeholder relationships at different levels of an organization. She previously spent 20+ years at marketing research agencies (Frank Small & Associates, Sofres, Taylor Nelson, NetValue, Ipsos, and Penn Schoen Berland) to deliver actionable insights for global clients. Ms. Lee has also shown a lifelong commitment to social and environmental causes through her work with nonprofits, including as a Board Member for Project EATS in New York City and project team leader for New York Cares. She has travelled widely (60+ countries), working in the US, Europe, and Asia Pacific before calling New York City home. Ms. Lee is fluent in English and Mandarin and speaks basic French, German, and Spanish. She is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Nutritional Biochemistry.
“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with such a visionary Board, to help drive the movement to give nature back its rights.”
DIRECTING ATTORNEY - GRANT WILSON
Grant Wilson is an attorney who has advanced environmental campaigns in the United States and worldwide. As a law clerk, Grant attended the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancún to support the Pacific Small Island Developing States. He also traveled to Kenya, where he worked with local Samburu and Maasai communities to help shape the National Land Policy and 2010 Constitution of Kenya. Later, Grant advocated on behalf of the Environmental Management and Law Association in Budapest for environmental access rights and analyzed the connection between human rights and the environment. Then, as Deputy Director of Global Catastrophic Risk Institute, Grant advocated for greater attention to threats such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, ocean fertilization, and emerging technologies like bioengineering, and wrote articles for several prominent law journals on these topics. Grant earned a degree in Environmental Policy from Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University, and a J.D. with a Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Grant speaks conversational Spanish.
Ocean Rights Manager - MICHELLE BENDER
Michelle Bender is an environmental law and policy specialist with expertise in ocean and wildlife law, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act. She conducts ongoing research and analysis for Friends of the Sea Otter and Donald Baur where, among other things, she advocates for the continued protection of the Southern Sea Otter and assisted with amicus brief preparation for federal court litigation in opposition to captive display of cetaceans (The ‘Born to be Free’ documentary involving this case is on Netflix). As an Ocean Policy Research Intern at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, she created a strategic plan for reducing the sources of plastic pollution entering the ocean, focusing on how to use law and policy to drive change. Michelle also previously assisted with the Animal Welfare Institute's various campaigns, including a petition to the EPA to ban the use of Compound 1080. Michelle graduated Summa Cum Laude from Vermont Law School, where she earned a Master’s in Environmental Law and Policy and holds a B.S. in Biology with a Marine Emphasis from Western Washington University.
ASSOCIATE - GREG NAYLOR
Greg Naylor is an attorney and environmental advocate who has worked with NextGen Climate Action and former V.P. Al Gore's Climate Reality Project to educate the public on climate change and the need to protect the rights of nature. Trained as a climate change leader by Organizing for Action, Greg has been active in the NorCal Climate Reality Leadership Group since relocating to the Bay area after retiring early from the private practice of law. During his legal career, Greg was recognized by Best Lawyers in America, Great Plains SuperLawyers and Chambers USA: Leading Lawyers for Business, and he was rated AV by Martindale Hubbell. While working on his book addressing America's ineffective response to climate change, Greg joined the ELC team to help the organization provide educational outreach, advise on rights of nature issues and provide assistance with fundraising.