Board of Directors

Councilors elected to the Board of Directors set League policy and approve the budget and all land purchases.

Board of Directors

Matthew K. Berler

Chair

Matt graduated from Cornell University (A.B. in History) and Harvard Business School (M.B.A.).

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Before Harvard, he was a Research Associate at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, Virginia from 1983 to 1985, conducting national security studies for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In addition to a lifelong interest in public policy and conservation, Matt is an avid outdoorsman, endurance athlete, art collector and land steward on his ranch in the Mayacama Mountains. Matt, his wife, Amy, and their four children live in San Francisco.

Matt currently serves as Chairman of the Investment Committee, and Trustee, of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation; Chairman of the Investment Committee, and Trustee, of the Contemporary Jewish Museum; and Trustee of the Shalom Hartman Institute; and he is a member of the California Advisory Board of The Trust for Public Land and the Investment Committee for the Shimon ben Joseph Foundation.

During his 14 years (2003-2016) at Osterweis Capital Management Matt served in a number of capacities, starting as an investment analyst and ending up as a lead Portfolio Manager, President and CEO. Prior to joining Osterweis in early 2003, he was a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley in the Equity Research Division. He served as the Senior Analyst covering the North American Paper and Forest Products industries and as Team Leader of both the Global Forest Products Research Team and the North American Basic Materials Team at Morgan Stanley. He joined Morgan Stanley in 1994 as a Principal and he was elected Managing Director in 1998. Prior to Morgan Stanley, he worked from 1987 to early 1994 in research at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette, where he was a Vice President.

 

Rosemary Cameron

Vice Chair

Rosemary Cameron’s career has been in the public sector with management experience in regional and municipal parks and recreation, city management, and legislative affairs.

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For 20 years, she served as East Bay Regional Park District’s Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs, leading integrated marketing communications programs for the largest local park agency in the United States. In addition, she served as Executive Director of the Regional Parks Foundation, a separate nonprofit organization that raises private support for Regional Park District programs. Since retiring in 2010, Rosemary has had an active consulting practice and she continues to speak on marketing, branding, communications, social media, and fundraising at professional conferences and trainings.

Rosemary holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Government from Mills College and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Her volunteer involvement includes serving on the boards of the San Francisco Parks Alliance, National Association of Park Foundations Advisory Council, and the California Parks and Recreation Society’s PAC. She currently serves as Chair of the League’s Education Committee and serves on the Finance and Investment Committee, and she was active on the 2012-2013 Strategic Plan Refresh Work Group and with the League’s Centennial Visioning process.

 

Andy Vought

Vice Chair

Andy Vought is a retired CEO for multiple start-up companies.

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Over the past 35 years, he has held CEO, CFO and Director positions of many semiconductor chip companies with a focus on broadband communications. Andy holds a BA in Environmental Studies and a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an MBA from Harvard Business School. Andy developed his relationship with the League through his work with the Portola and Castle Rock Foundation, where he serves as Director and past President. Andy was elected to the League’s Council in 2012, joined the Board in 2013, and served as Chair of the League’s Audit Committee. Andy currently serves as League Secretary and chairs the League’s Governance Committee. After 30 years enjoying Redwoods in the Bay Area, Andy moved with his wife Andrea to Venice, California, in 2015.

 

C. Blake Williams

Treasurer

Blake Williams is a Managing Director in the Investment Banking division at Oppenheimer & Co. and serves as head of its Hardware and Emerging Technology practice.

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In this role, he provides a wide range of capital formation advice, including initial public offerings, follow-on offerings, private capital raising, PIPEs, convertible debt and leveraged finance, as well as strategic advisory services including mergers and acquisitions and proxy contests. He has over 20+ years as a trusted advisor to public and private technology companies from growth-oriented investment banking platforms, including Cowen and Company, Piper Jaffray, Robertson Stephens and CS First Boston. Early in his career, he also practiced as a corporate and securities attorney at Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles.

Blake received his bachelor’s degree (AB) from Harvard University and received his Juris Doctorate degree (J.D.) from Columbia University School of Law.

Blake has a passion for redwood conservation, re-forestation, ecosystem protection and exploring the science around climate change. As a young boy, his inspiration was heavily influenced by admiration for his father, Dr. Carroll B. Williams, Jr., who is a retired scientist for the U.S. Forest Service, was an Adjunct Professor Emeritus in the College of Natural Resources at the University of California at Berkeley, and served on the Board of the East Bay Regional Park District. His father is also among the first African-American men to receive both a Masters and a Ph.D. in forestry and entomology in the U.S. A key part of Blake’s personal mission is to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs, conservationists and youth to environmental sciences through education and by providing access to diverse communities.

 

Mike Wyatt

Secretary

Mike Wyatt is Head of Global Technology Mergers & Acquisitions at Morgan Stanley, where he has worked for the last twenty-four years.

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Mike has advised leading technology companies on over 150 M&A transactions, including recently advising Microsoft on its $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn. His specialties include strategic advice and experience in negotiating complex transactions and strategic acquisition advice.

Mike has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for most of his life. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Phillips Brooks School in Menlo Park, where his children attended elementary school. Mike attended Stanford University for his BS in Industrial Engineering, and then again later for his MBA in Business Administration. Mike currently lives in Atherton with his wife, Gretchen, and their three teenage children. He is an avid hiker and enjoys wine, golf, snow skiing, duck hunting, travel, poker and bridge.

 

Abe Tarapani

Assistant Treasurer

Abe Tarapani is a Principal at Incandescent LLC, a New York- and San Francisco-based advisory firm.

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At Incandescent, Abe advises non-profit organizations on their strategic direction, and works with technology startups to build high performing organizations. Prior to Incandescent, Abe was Director of Business Development at Premise Data, a technology startup developing new data sets to shed light on real-time macroeconomic and social developments in traditionally data poor parts of the world. Prior to Premise, Abe lived and worked in India for 6 years as Vice President of Global Strategy and Business Development for Astonfield Renewables, a utility-scale renewable energy power plant developer. Abe holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Yale University and he has been a First Mover Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Business & Society Program since 2012.

A League Councilor since 2016, Abe has served on the Finance and Investment Committee and Governance Committee. He lives in Marin with his wife Kelly and their daughter and spends as much time in the redwoods as possible.

 

Sara A. Clark

Board Member

Sara Clark is a partner at Shute Mihaly & Weinberger LLP, a public interest environmental firm in San Francisco.

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Her practice focuses on land conservation; representation of environmental groups, tribes, and public agencies in environmental litigation; federal tribal and public land law; and initiative and election law. She is a regular speaker on land conservation topics, including at the California Council of Land Trusts, the Conservation Law Forum, and the Land Trust Alliance.

Between 2011 and 2017, Sara served on the Board of Directors of Bay Area Wilderness Training, including as Board Chair. The organization is a leader in providing equitable access to the outdoors for low-income youth and youth of color. Between 2014 and 2018, she also served on the NextGen Committee at the Peninsula Open Space Trust, which helped the organization evaluate and implement mechanisms for increasing the diversity of its supporters.

Sara graduated from the U.C. Berkeley School of Law, where she earned a certificate in environmental law. During law school, she served as Editor in Chief of the Ecology Law Quarterly and was a member of the Environmental Law Society’s Environmental Justice Symposium steering committee. She spent a year as a legal intern at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Prior to attending law school, she worked in land conservation. She was part of the land acquisition team at POST, and was part of the conservation research program at the Open Space Institute in NYC. Sara graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, where her senior thesis focused on forest restoration efforts and prescribed burning in the urban-wildland interface.

Sara joined the Board in September 2019, having served on the League’s Council since June of 2018. She has been active on the League’s Land Protection Committee, the Governance Committee, and the Strategic Planning Team.

 

William Croft

Board Member

Bill Croft is Professor of Linguistics at the University of New Mexico.

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He received his A.B. and A.M. degrees from the University of Chicago, his Ph.D. from Stanford University, and previously taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Manchester (UK). His primary research interests are in syntax (from a crosslinguistic perspective), semantics, and evolutionary models of language change. He has written nine books and over 100 articles and book chapters. He has been invited to present his research in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, has been a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institutes of Psycholinguistics and Evolutionary Anthropology and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and he was recently elected a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America. He serves on many editorial boards for academic journals and scholarly presses.

Bill was elected to the League’s Council in 1987, contributed to the sequoia grove section of Sequoia National Forest Mediated Settlement Agreement in the 1980s, and has served on the League’s Master Plan Task Force and chairs the Science Committee. He and his wife Carol Toffaleti have hiked in most of the redwood parks and sequoia groves, and love hiking in the forests of California and in the deserts of the Southwest where they presently live.

 

Melissa Harris

Board Member

Melissa Harris graduated from Temple University, with an AD in Horticulture, and has a BA and MA in English Literature from the University of Maine, where she taught briefly as an adjunct.

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A mother of three, Melissa raised her kids primarily in Maine and was involved with many and various activities in their multiple schools. She has become more and more involved with another lifelong passion, photography, and now travels as frequently as possible on phono tours with an emphasis on remote and vanishing cultures. She and her husband Shep have been in the Bay area for 9 years. Upon arrival in San Francisco, she became an active volunteer for the Alcatraz garden restoration project. Visiting the redwoods was love at first sight and they continue to inspire her, hence her interest in the League. With a lifelong passion for gardening and forestry, most of Melissa’s experience derives from the management of their private properties. At home, she splits her time between the City and their house in Marin, exploring the area redwoods, beaches and parks. Melissa is honored to do whatever it takes to preserve the redwoods. She now has a young grandson whom she can’t wait to introduce to the magic of the redwood forest!

 

Caryl Hart

Board Member

From 2010 to 2017, Caryl Hart was Director of Sonoma County Regional Parks, a system of more than 50 parks and regional trails.

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Under her leadership, Regional Parks experienced great success in increasing park attendance, acreage and revenues. Caryl was a member of the California State Park and Recreation Commission, appointed by three successive governors, and served for thirteen years, seven as Chair, until 2013. She then joined the Parks Forward Commission assembled by Governor Brown to assist California State Parks after the 2012 fiscal crisis impacting the Department. Caryl founded the Parks Alliance for Sonoma County, which supported the innovative management of state parks in Sonoma County during the state parks budget crisis.

Caryl graduated from Cornell University (A.B.-Economics), University of San Francisco (J.D.) and University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D.-Environmental Science, Policy and Management). At UC Berkeley, her focus was on the role of California State Parks and other public land systems in addressing the challenges of climate change. She returned to UC, Berkeley, as Visiting Professor in 2010 to teach a course on the history and challenges confronting the state parks. Caryl serves on a number of boards including the UC, Berkeley School of Natural Resources Advisory Board, the UC Natural Reserve System Board of Councilors, and the National Parks Conservation Association-Western Regional Board. Elected to the Board of Directors in 2017, Caryl has been a League Councilor for more than ten years. She, her husband, Mickey Hart, and their daughter, Reya, reside in Sebastopol.

 

Peggy Light

Board Member

Peggy Light is Vice President of Rite Engineering & Manufacturing Corporation.

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She has strong financial skills and has had a successful career in public accounting (CMA, and CPA (retired)), operational auditing, food distribution, and for the past 18 years has helped manage her family’s boiler manufacturing business in Southern California. She received a BA in Political Science and an MBA with an emphasis on Accounting and Information Systems, both from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Peggy is passionate about the natural world and spends as much time as possible in nature – hiking, fishing and travelling. She is a 3rd generation supporter of Save the Redwoods League, and has served on the Audit and Nominating Committees, the 2012-13 Strategic Plan Refresh Work Group, and as chair of the Redwoods 2018 (Centennial) Task Force. She currently serves as Chair of the Development Committee.


 

John Montague

Board Member

John Montague currently owns Scope Dog, a film production company that specializes in film financing and story production.

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Credits include last year’s Oscar-winning Moonlight, where John served as an associate producer. He is also a member of the board of directors at The Footprint Foundation. John is a graduate of The University of Virginia (B.A. in Theatre) and Northfield Mt Hermon School. John studied comedy at Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City.

John wears many hats as a leadership volunteer at the League. He has served on the League’s Council since 2015. He spends a great deal of time deep in the forest, collecting data to aid redwood conservation planning by locating residual old-growth redwoods, identifying field sites for the next phase of the League’s Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative research, and measuring sword ferns for the League’s Fern Watch project. John also serves on the Education Committee. Independently, John is currently assisting researchers Chris Atkins and Steve Sillett with the re-measurement of every redwood over 350’ tall. He is also building the first-ever complete inventory of every redwood over 18’ dbh (diameter at breast height). In his spare time, John enjoys performing stand-up comedy at open mics, writing music on his guitar, and running. He resides in Arcata with his wife, Jessica, and their two daughters, Holly and Lucy.

 

John Scharffenberger

Board Member

John Scharffenberger has spent his career in the world of food, forests, and farming.

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He received a BA in Biogeography at UC, Berkeley, specializing in agricultural history. After graduation, he began to develop vineyards on several ranches in Northern California. He started a “champagne quality” winery in Anderson Valley and later created the first artisanal chocolate company in the U.S., Scharffen Berger Chocolate. Growing up during the revolutionary wine and food world of the past 40 years has allowed him to both experience and implement many concepts that have now become mainstream. Organic farming, soil preservation, local marketing, grass-fed animal products, water conservation, fermented food, humane animal husbandry, controlled burning, alternative wood products, non-animal protein, fair trading, and aquaculture are some of these practices.

He serves on the advisory boards of the UC, Berkeley College of Natural Resources and the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley (now emeritus), and on the Council and Science Committee of Save the Redwoods League. He is also involved in many community activities near his home in Anderson Valley, California. In developing vineyards on ranch property, John was able to work on the restoration of forestlands adjacent to these lands. Oak woodland, Douglas fir, and his favorite, the redwood forest, have been included in this work. Planting, thinning, pruning and soil restoration on over several hundred acres in the past 40 years has given him great satisfaction. Having experienced this restoration has allowed him to see what practices seem to work in helping the forest return to a more “virgin” state.

John continues to work with small food producers, Hodo Soy, Farmhouse Culture, CoCo Terra, California Caviar Company, and a new venture to provide housing for Anderson Valley farmworkers.

Michael K. Woo

Board Member

Michael Woo has had a long and diverse career in public service, academia, and place-making. For the last 10 years, he was Dean of the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly, Pomona, overseeing degree programs in architecture, art history, landscape architecture, regenerative studies, urban and regional planning, and visual communication design.

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He was the first trained urban planner and the first Asian American elected to the Los Angeles City Council on which, for eight years, he represented Hollywood and surrounding neighborhoods. Michael initiated the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan that laid the legal and financial framework for Hollywood’s current revitalization, played a key role in selecting the route and station locations for the Metro Red Line subway that runs through Hollywood and in founding the Hollywood Farmers Market. He gave up his City Council seat to become one of 24 candidates running for Mayor of Los Angeles, ultimately reaching second-place with 46 percent of the citywide vote in the June 1993 run-off election. In the world of nonprofit and community organizations Michael has had many roles, including chairing the boards of Smart Growth America, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, the Los Angeles County Grand Park Foundation, and Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles.

Michael’s interest in redwoods dates back to his undergraduate days at UC, Santa Cruz. In the aftermath of the crisis in the California state park system, he was asked to join the Parks Forward Commission, an independent, blue-ribbon panel that proposed new directions for state parks. Michael specialized in diversifying the public constituency for state parks, explored transportation and cultural obstacles to park access, and launched a pilot project in which architecture students produced innovative designs for new cabins to attract millennials and urban residents to state parks. More recently, he was invited by REI to participate in a “Race and Place” initiative highlighting outdoor locations that have significance for underrepresented groups.

Michael joined the League’s Council in October of 2018, was elected to the Board effective September of 2019, and serves on the League’s Parks and Public Engagement Committee.

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