San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is welcoming two new members to its Board of Trustees. Gary E. Knell, former chairman of National Geographic Partners; and T. ʻAulani Wilhelm, senior vice president for Oceans at Conservation International; are joining the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance board at the start of January, helping to direct the international nonprofit organization’s operational strategies while maintaining a sharp focus on its vital wildlife conservation mission.
“We are honored that Gary Knell and T. ʻAulani Wilhelm are joining our board of mission-focused leaders,” said Paul A. Baribault, president and chief executive officer of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. “Aulani and Gary bring a remarkable amount of experience in conservation, wildlife protection and leadership in community engagement. The Alliance will greatly benefit from their talented leadership as we continue our important work to safeguard wildlife and push for a world where all lives can thrive.”
InPark Magazine Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman sat down with San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance CEO Paul Baribault to discuss changes with the organization and the continual evolution of animal conservation.
Knell’s career in media has spanned nearly four decades. He has served as president and CEO of National Public Radio, worked for more than 22 years at Sesame Workshop, was senior vice president at WNET/Channel 13 in New York, served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary and Governmental Affairs committees in Washington, D.C., and worked in the California State Legislature and the California Office of the Governor. As president and CEO of the National Geographic Society, he oversaw the Society’s vast nonprofit activities in science, exploration, education and media innovation. More recently, he served as chairman of National Geographic Partners, the global joint venture of The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society, which includes National Geographic television, print and digital assets, and related activities in travel and consumer products.
Wilhelm is an accomplished and inspirational conservation leader. As the senior vice president for Oceans and Conservation Design at Conservation International, she is working to bridge culture, community and science to drive innovations in ocean conservation. Wilhelm played a pivotal role in shaping the emerging field of large-scale ocean conservation, leading the establishment of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawaiʻi, and as a founder of Big Ocean, a network of the world’s largest marine managed areas. Prior to joining Conservation International, she was director of ocean initiatives for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and a social innovation fellow at Stanford University. She also founded Island Water, a social venture to provide clean water and reduce plastic pollution on islands, and the Design4Nature Collective, a network of professionals trained in design thinking who apply methods of problem-solving for nature.