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Yael Heller Jekogian, Managing Director

Yael is a hands-on advocate and leader in the women's rights movement, has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit management, and is an accomplished environmental engineer. She has designed municipal and hazardous waste landfills, and implemented remedies for soil and groundwater contamination at Superfund and brownfield sites. Yael has served as a Board Member, Director of Development, consultant and volunteer for many nonprofits including Women's Campaign Fund, Women's Way, New York Women's Foundation, and Transport Group Theatre Company. She has a MS and BS in Civil Engineering from Drexel University, lives in New York City, and enjoys exploring the world with her husband and two daughters who are making their own discoveries along the way. Yael joined the WINGS WorldQuest leadership team in 2015.


Linda Plym, Board Chair 

Linda Plym is an artist and producer. She has developed documentary films for National Geographic Explorer, PBS and Discovery Channel, as well as video content for major broadcast networks. Passionate about Art, nature, travel, and adventure, she is a staunch believer in the need for universal primary education and gender equality. She attended the Art Institute of San Francisco and is a graduate of Skidmore College. After being inspired by the courageous woman of WINGS, she joined the board in 2013. She resides with her husband and two daughters in Brooklyn. 


Diane is a private travel designer and expedition leader specializing in women’s international adventure travel. As founder and CEO of Private Journeys, LLC, she has spent the past two decades inspiring women to “unleash” themselves and explore this extraordinary planet, the further afield the better.  A passionate writer, photographer and AIDS activist, Diane studied at Indiana University, Golden Gate University School of Law and the International School of Photography. She has been involved with Wings since 2005, joining the board in 2011. 


Claire Werner is a graphics designer and owner of a design boutique in Connecticut. Claire holds a BFA from Parsons School of Design and has donated her time and professional expertise to a number of nonprofit organizations, including The Garden Education Center of Greenwich, YWCA and local schools and community institutions. She joined the WINGS WorldQuest Board in 2009 and has served as Secretary since 2012.





Ann Bancroft is one of the world's preeminent polar explorers and an internationally recognized leader who is dedicated to inspiring women and girls around the world to unleash the power of their dreams.Through her various roles as an explorer, educator, sought-after speaker and philanthropist, Ann believes that by sharing stories related to her dreams of outdoor adventure, she can help inspire a global audience to pursue their individual dreams.

Ann's teamwork and leadership skills have undergone severe tests during her polar expeditions and provided her with opportunities to shatter female stereotypes. The tenacity and courage that define her character have earned Ann worldwide recognition as one of today's most influential role models for women and girls. She has been named among Glamour magazine's "Women of the Year" (2001); featured in the book Remarkable Women of the Twentieth Century (1998); inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame (1995); named Ms. magazine's "Woman of the Year" (1987); and honored with numerous other awards for her accomplishments.


Dr. Maya Tolstoy is a marine geophysicist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Science at Columbia University. She is an alumna of the University of Edinburgh and received her doctorate from the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Tolstoy’s research interests include mid-ocean ridge earthquakes, the links between earthquakes and life (particularly at mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal vent systems), seafloor instrumentation and the impact of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals. She was named both a WINGS Woman of Discovery (Sea) and a WINGS Fellow in 2009. Dr. Tolstoy has served on the Board since 2011.


Ashley Jurgensen has focused her career in the hospitality industry.  She owned and operated Top of the Garden Event Space, planning weddings, corporate events, non-profit fundraisers, and other private events in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Ashley initiated, designed and implemented the first recycling program for Starwood Hotels when hotels first started to think green. The system she designed became a model for all Starwood Hotels across the world. She also worked with Ian Shrager hotels, significantly increasing new and repeat group business.  Ashley founded, owned and operated Charlie Chews Organic Dog Treats, selling product in  85 stores across New York City. Ashley is a foodie and graduated top of her Culinary Arts class at Institute of Culinary Education. She is an avid equestrian and a gardener of flowers, herbs and vegetables. She donates her crops to local soup kitchens.  Ashley joined the WINGS board in 2014 and Co-Chaired the WINGS 2014 Women of Discovery Gala.  


Kathy Kukula is an editorial project manager, editor and writer with experience creating content for print and the web. She has worked for national consumer magazines, special interest publications, custom publishers, non-profits and more. Currently, she is the writer/editor at AmeriCares, a non-profit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization. Kathy recently reported on AmeriCares work from Sri Lanka and Mumbai; rafted and hiked along the Futaleufu River in Patagonia, Chile; and toured the Eastern Tibetan Plateau (Kham) where she herded yak, spent the night with 80 Buddhist nuns and explored botany on the roof of the world.


Michele Perri

Michele Perri is an Interior designer and owner of Greenwich Design Group in Greenwich, Connecticut. She has s a BA from Boston College and an Associates in Fine Arts from The New York School of Interior Design in NYC.  Michele is an avid traveler studying local architecture and design where ever she is.  She joined the WINGS WorldQuest Board in 2014.

Hillary Wallace 

Hillary is the Founder and Senior Designer of Simon-Wallace Design, an international boutique interior design firm located in Soho, New York. Hillary has trekked throughout Nepal and South East Asia and is active in promoting and supporting women involved in scientific and cultural exploration. Hillary lives in New York with her husband and two young children. She joined the WINGS WorldQuest board in 2013.






Karen is a photographer who focuses primarily on event photography and private client work. Fine arts trained, she has exhibited worldwide. A passionate; traveler, sail racer and expert skier; she is also a keen side-kick on her partner John’s vintage motorcycles, and an adventurous mom to her young son. Karen became involved with WINGS in 2003 when she donated her services to photograph the Annual Gala. She was inspired by the extraordinary women she met and has been deeply involved with WINGS ever since.  Zieff attended RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) - BFA, Brown University, and Studio Arts Center International, Florence, Italy. She joined the board in 2011 and became the board chair in 2012.