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Irene Vilar PRESIDENT (Boulder, CO) is a Guggenheim Award author, social and environmental justice advocate, motivational coach, and activist combining over two decades of Non Profit, Cultural Brokerage, and Creative and Outdoor Economies experience. She is the Puerto Rican founder of the Colorado based environmental nonprofit Americas for Conservation + the Arts 501c3, advancing healthy communities in the face of climate change through environmental stewardship, leveraging arts and culture for conservation and outdoor economy gains that can best serve the most underserved. See more...

Robert Mandel VICE PRESIDENT (Hartford, CT 2018-2023) has been in academic and trade book publishing for over 34 years, 27 of these as a University Press Director. Prior to his appointment as the Director of Texas Tech University Press, he was Director of the University of Alaska Press, the University of Wisconsin Press, Syracuse University Press and Wayne State University Press and served as Assistant Director of Indiana University Press. He has been an Acquisitions Editor for all of his 34 years in publishing and has acquired, edited and published over 1,800 titles during his career. Prior to his publishing career, Robert received his Ph.D. in modern European History from the University of Toronto and his Masters in History and Bachelors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mirta Ojito OFFICER (NYC, 2022-2027) the recipient of numerous awards, won a shared Pulitzer for national reporting in 2001 for a New York Times series of articles about race in America. She is the author of Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus and of the upcoming Hunting Season: Immigration and Murder in an All-American Town. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an op-ed columnist for The Miami Herald and an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

Doug Unger OFFICER (Las Vegas, NV 2018-2023) is the author of four novels, including Leaving the Land, a classic about the vanishing family farm in the American Midwest. Celebrating more than thirty years in print, his landmark work won the Society of Midland Authors Award for best fiction, a special citation from the P.E.N. Ernest Hemingway award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and Robert F. Kennedy awards. His fourth novel, Voices from Silence, earned a coveted ‘star’ review from “Publisher’s Weekly” and was a year’s end “experts recommend” choice of “The Washington Post Book World.” A new edition of Voices from Silence appeared in 2008 in French translation as Mes frères de sang, from Daniel Arsand/Editions Phebus, with a new ending.  See more...

Keirstin K. Beck TREASURER (Boulder, CO 2022-2027) is a Boulder based attorney committed to sustainable practices and conservation in real estate development with extensive land use experience including representation of landowners and developers in all aspects of the entitlement process including negotiation of annexation agreements, development agreements and vested rights agreements as well as acquisition, disposition and leasing of real property. Keirstin’s true passion is assisting her clients in complicated redevelopment projects that involve challenging land use and financing hurdles. She has substantial experience negotiating public/private partnership agreements, including TIF, sales tax sharing and other economic incentives. In addition, Keirstin possesses unique knowledge of alternative financing options for complex transactions, including New Markets Tax Credits, EB-5 financing and PACE. Her innovative approach has yielded positive results to provide strong community support for projects. She obtained a B.S. from the University of Oregon and a J.D. from the University of Denver. Keirstin enjoys spending time with her family, yoga, skiing, hiking, running and biking. She is a past director of the YMCA of Boulder Valley and the Denver Children’s Home. Prior to joining the firm, she practiced at Otten, Johnson, Robinson, Neff and Ragonetti P.C.

SoYoung Lee OFFICER (Boulder, CO 2022-2027)  Executive/Music Director at Rocky Ridge Music Center, received her Doctorate in Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. An award-winning pianist and a Regents scholar, SoYoung is a recipient of the Ernő Dohnányi Piano Prize and the Gwendolyn Koldofsky Accompanying Fellowship at University of Southern California. She recently released a CD, In This World, with flutist Claudia Anderson. SoYoung enjoys her multi-faceted career as a performing artist, administrator, teacher, producer, and arts advocate. A strong believer in the concept of artist as entrepreneur, she cofounded two organizations: Colorado-based AirTurn, a company dedicated to empowering musicians through technology; and Notes at 9,000 at Winter Park, a multi-genre music competition that launches emerging musicians by providing concert opportunities, funding, and mentoring. She is passionate about building community through the arts, and serves currently as a trustee on the board of Boulder County Arts Alliance and as a member of the Estes Arts Presents Task Force.


Rudy Arredondo PRESIDENT and CEO of the NATIONAL LATINO FARMERS & RANCHERS TRADE ASSOCIATION (Washington D.C., 2019-2024) represents the interests of Latino small farmers and ranchers nationally in Washington, D.C., organizing and dealing with policy, legislation and regulatory issues. He is an active member of the board of directors of the Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural. He focuses on issues related to land, minority agriculture, rural economic development, small business and entrepreneurship, specifically as they relate to Latino farmers and ranchers in the United States. See more...

Anti-discrimination statement adopted by the Board of Directors

Americas for Conservation and the Arts does not, and shall not, discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services and programming. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.

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