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.
BETH NIXON, BOARD CHAIR
Beth Nixon runs a photography business in Greenwich, CT, where she serves on a number of local boards. She previously worked as a producer/field producer for such news media as MainStreet Media and the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour in Chicago and Looking East and One World in New York. She also has worked in Tokyo, Hong Kong, China, Greece, France and Australia. With her husband and two college-age daughters, she has hiked and rafted 22 US National Parks and a numerous National Monuments. She holds a BA from Princeton University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and a Certificate in Language and Literature from Peking University (PKU).
MAUD WELLES, VICE-CHAIR
HARA WOLTZ, BOARD SECRETARY
Hara Woltz is an artist and scientist who addresses the destruction and conservation of ecological systems through a variety of visual media. Field research is integral to the creation of her work, and her solo and collaborative projects investigate the relationships between humans, the environment, and other living organisms. Her art works reside in a number of private and corporate collections, and she has exhibited in spaces ranging from Sotheby’s to Storm King Art Center. Woltz has worked on a number of global ecological and habitat design projects, including habitat restoration for native species in New Zealand, giant tortoise and Waved Albatross habitat assessment and restoration in Galápagos, Ecuador, and biological and cultural resilience programs in Solomon Islands, Melanesia. Her work has appeared in various publications, including ORION, Biological Conservation, Popular Science, New York Magazine, and Landscape Architecture Magazine. She has created illustrated field guides for private clients and institutions, including Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, NY. As an undergraduate, she studied studio art and biology at Duke University. She has an MA in landscape architecture from the University of Virginia, and an MA in conservation biology from Columbia University. She consults as a visiting artist and scientist at the American Museum of Natural History, and has a studio in New York City.
MARY BRITT, BOARD TREASURER
Mary Britt is a CPA specializing in nonprofit organizations. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. She has served as Treasurer of the WINGS WorldQuest Board since 2011.
ANN BANCROFT, FELLOW
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.
BOLORTSETSEG MINJIN, PH.D, FELLOW
Dr. Bolortsetseg Minjin is a Mongolia paleontologist with a passion for saving Mongolia’s dinosaurs from being illegally excavated and sold worldwide, as well as inspiring the next generation of Mongolian paleontologists. Dr. Bolortsetseg has spent the last two summers touring the Gobi Desert in a Winnebago donated to the Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs by the American Museum of Natural History that serves as a movable museum. Thus, she has exposed hundreds of children to Mongolian dinosaurs such as Velociraptor, while educating on why these fossils should remain in Mongolia. Her ultimate goal is to establish a permanent museum at the Flaming Cliffs, where some of the first dinosaur eggs were discovered in 1922. Dr. Bolortsetseg received the WINGS Women of Discovery Earth Award in 2009.
KIMBERLY GOLDSTEIN, JUNIOR COUNCIL FOUNDER AND CO-CHAIR
Kimi serves as a Care Partner Development Associate at Bright Health, a health insurance startup. Previously, she spent several years as a management consultant in the Health & Life Sciences Group at Oliver Wyman. She holds a B.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering with a focus on Biomechanics from Yale University. While in college, Kimi served as both Chief Operating Officer and President of her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, as well as on the board of Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society. Originally from Minneapolis, she now lives in New York City and enjoys being outdoors, exercising, visiting farmers' markets, and cooking. Kimi has been involved with WINGS since late 2016. Shortly after being introduced to WINGS, she founded the WINGS WorldQuest Junior Council and currently serves as the co-chair. Kimi is committed to being a lifelong learner and leader: she loves the intellectual stimulation of hearing from and working with the WINGS Fellows and Flag Carriers and is excited to grow the reach and impact of WINGS through the Junior Council.
Laura Kaufmann is a global business development and licensing executive with over 15 years’ experience developing major entertainment and consumer brands. Currently the Senior Director of Brand Management for CAA-GBG Global Brand Management Group, Kaufmann is responsible for running the North American licensed programs for The Hershey Company, Jelly Belly and Kodak. Additionally, she drives strategy and new business development for clients such as DwellStudio, Bob Marley, Anheuser-Busch, The Cheesecake Factory and Habitat for Humanity. Her philanthropic leadership includes her service as a Mentor and Citizen's Roundtable member of American Corporate Partners, as a Project and Team Leader for NY Cares, and as an Ambassador and Engagement Council Member at Interlochen Center for the Arts, where she is also a proud alumnus. Laura holds a BA from New York University.
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.
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 served as secretary from 2012 to 2017.
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 served as the board chair from 2012 to 2015.