Board of Directors


Neal Desai:
Neal is the Director of Pacific Region Field Operations for the National Parks Conservation Association, and has worked on and led numerous campaigns to protect, expand, and create national parks since 2004. Those campaigns include the protection of Drakes Estero within Point Reyes National Seashore as the first marine wilderness on the west coast, the creation of the Port Chicago National Memorial to remember the racial discrimination during WWII that led to the desegregation of the armed services, the restoration of public access at Santa Rosa Island within the Channel Islands National Park, and the protection of the Presidio’s Main Post and Crissy Field from large-scale, inappropriate development proposals. Neal works to organize and build diverse public and political support for national parks. Prior to joining NPCA, Neal worked in Burlington, Vermont with the Community and Economic Development Office and the AmeriCorps*VISTA program. He received a degree in Management Information Systems and Marketing from the State University of New York, Albany School of Business.


samantha_harveySamantha Harvey:
Samantha is both Associate to the Environment Program at The Overbrook Foundation and Program Manager of Building Equity and Alignment for Impact, a grassroots-led initiative working on increasing the impact of the environmental and broader progressive movement by breaking down historic relational barriers and funding inequities among grassroots, mainstream green groups and philanthropy. Samantha serves on the board of EDGE Funders Alliance, as well as on the Environmental Grantmakers Association’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Ad Hoc Committee. Before working in philanthropy, she coordinated an internship program for under-served New York City public high school students at The American Museum of Natural History. She found her environmental calling in the canyons of Utah on a 2002 Outward Bound trip, and went on to earn a Master’s in Journalism through the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado.  Samantha’s first career was as a modern dancer, and she has performed and taught with dance companies internationally and throughout the New York area.

Alex McBride:

Photo and Bio coming soon!

Marisa Aurora Quiroz:
Marisa is the Senior Program Officer for Environmental Conservation at the International Community Foundation where she manages all aspects of the foundation’s marine and terrestrial conservation program with an emphasis on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and coastal communities of the Gulf of California, as well as the Eastern Tropical Pacific region. Prior to the International Community Foundation, Marisa directed The San Diego Foundation’s Opening the Outdoors Initiative where she worked with donors, volunteers and nonprofits to advance regional conservation efforts, ensure that all communities have access to clean air, water and nature, as well as to promote action on climate change. She serves as a member of the California Structural Pest Control Board and is certified by the International Association of Public Participation. Marisa has a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and Sociology from Mills College and a Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego. In 2010, she was selected as one of San Diego News Network’s, 35 Under 35 Community Leaders. She is a graduate of the 2012 HOPE Leadership Institute, and co-founded The Latina Giving Circle – a regional group of woman engaged in culturally relevant philanthropy.

Marisa is also a Certified Massage Therapist and Doula, with over ten years of experience in bodywork. For relaxation you can sometimes find her stilt walking in the park.



Evan Smith:

As the Senior Vice President of Conservation Ventures at The Conservation Fund, Evan Smith adds an entrepreneurial twist to classic conservation. Evan oversees programs that invest in green businesses and working forests to generate both economic and environmental return.  Since joining the Fund in 1995, Evan, a trained forester, has worked to demonstrate that nonprofits can successfully acquire and sustainably manage large tracts of forestland, most recently through the Working Forest Fund. He serves on the boards of directors for the Center for Diversity & the Environment, the Natural Capital Investment Fund, the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts, and Walker Range Fire Protection Association. He is a member of the Committee for Family Forestlands for the Oregon Board of Forestry and the Advisory Council for the College of Forestry, Oregon State University, and is a frequent speaker on conservation finance topics. Evan resides in Portland and takes great pride in his daughters’ fondness for biking, wildflowers, and ice cream. He has B.S. in Geology and Master of Forestry degrees from Yale University.


Ann Takamoto photoAnn Takamoto:
(Board Chair)

Ann is the Development Director for Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), a family of numerous tribes and voices who are rooted in sustaining tradition and building cultural wealth. With a background in new business development and communications, Ann has been in working in development since 2001, developing and managing a diverse suite of fundraising activities including foundation, corporate, individual and membership programs as well as event management. Previously, Ann served as Marketing Chair on the Board of Directors of the Willamette Valley Development Officers, on the Board of Directors at Hands On Greater Portland. After finishing her studies in art and music at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Ann traveled along the west coast and through parts of Europe as a member of Balafon Marimba Ensemble. A believer in the importance of artistic expression, Ann enjoys playing accordion with friends.

An alum of Center for Diversity in the Environment’s E42 Leadership Program, Ann is passionate about changing the dominant paradigm, creating equitable distribution of power and inviting all voices to the conversation.


Peter Stephens:
Peter is a Certified Public Accountant who currently works in public accounting. He is a graduate of The University of Oregon, and holds a Masters in Business Taxation from the University of Southern California. Professionally, his interests include corporate and partnership tax compliance, consulting, and provision work.

Peter was born and raised in Portland Oregon, and has had a lifelong interest in the environment stemming from his days camping and enjoying the outdoors with his family. Peter feels fortunate to live in a place with four seasons of outdoors activities, and is committed to the environmental well being of the community, both locally and further afield. As stewards of this gift, Peter believes it’s important to work together to sustain the natural world for future generations.

  • Like Us On Facebook
© Center for Diversity and the Environment. Back to top