Board

All board members listed below are current independent voting members of the Board of Directors.

John W. Copeland
Chair
Managing Partner, Wealth Partners Capital Group, LLC

S. Todd Crider, Esq.
Vice Chair
Partner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP; Member Executive Committee (founding Chair), The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

Brett Odom
Treasurer
Retired Finance Executive

Robert Curran
Freelance Photographer

Christian Lelong
Director, Natural Resources at Kayrros

Jenny Springer
Director, Global Program on Governance & Rights at IUCN

Becky Yang
Founder, Lin Lane; Partner, The Fund

Steven Kemler
Principal & Managing Director, Stone Arch Group

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John Copeland
Chair
Managing Partner, Wealth Partners Capital Group, LLC

John is Managing Partner of Wealth Partners Capital Group, LLC, which provides capital and strategic support to Registered Investment Advisor firms. Formerly, John was President of AMG Wealth Partners, and served in leadership roles prior to that at Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, Credit Suisse First Boston and Goldman, Sachs & Co. John holds Bachelors’ degrees in Economics and English Literature from Georgetown University, a Master’s in Management from the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

As a child of the ‘70s, John remembers celebrating the first Earth Day. He has been involved in various environmental causes for over 30 years. John has been a RFUS board member since 2009, and is particularly devoted to RFUS given the team’s efficiency and intense commitment.

S. Todd Crider, Esq.
Vice Chair
Partner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP; Member Executive Committee (founding Chair), The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

As Head of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s Latin America Practice, Todd advises clients in international corporate finance transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and project finance. A leader in pro-bono practice, he is a member of the governing body and executive committee of the Cyrus R. Vance Center of International Justice, where he was founding chair. He also serves as the Vance Center representative to the boards of the Pro Bono Network of the Americas (Red Pro Bono de las Américas) and the Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights of the Americas. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Howard College of Arts & Sciences at Samford University, the board of directors of the Council of the Americas and the board of directors of Equitable Origin. He has acted as counsel to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the context of the Awas Tingni case, an important precedent-setting case related to property rights of indigenous peoples under international law. Todd holds a Bachelor’s in International Relations from Samford University, a License d’histoire from Université de Paris IV Sorbonne, and a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School.

Todd came to issues related to indigenous peoples rights almost three decades ago. As a young lawyer, he represented the Awas Tingni community in Nicaragua in negotiations with the Nicaraguan government and a lumber company. The experience introduced him to the intersection of environmental concerns and human rights, which defines the work of Rainforest Foundation US. Todd has served on RFUS’s board since 2007. He firmly believes that supporting indigenous peoples to protect their rainforests is the most cost-effective solution to forest degradation, deforestation, and related climate change.

Brett Odom
Treasurer
Retired Finance Executive

As Deputy Chief Compliance Officer for Partner Fund Management, L.P. from 2016 to 2019, Brett ensured the firm met national and international regulations. Formerly, he held leadership roles at Kingdon Capital Management, L.L.C., PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Brett is also a dedicated volunteer, having worked for several years at Animal Haven, where he prepared dogs for adoption. Now retired, he currently volunteers at Sea Turtle Oversight Protection, an NGO dedicated to rescuing disoriented sea turtle hatchlings in coordination with local and state authorities. He earned his Bachelor’s in Accounting from Millsaps College and uses his background in accounting and finance to serve as the Treasurer of Rainforest Foundation US. Brett is dedicated to environmental causes and ensuring that the indigenous populations of Central and South America are entitled to own and manage their own land.

Robert Curran
Freelance Photographer

Robert is a photographer, explorer, and environmental activist, born in Manhattan and raised in Peru. He has completed several expeditions to the Amazon over the last thirty years and is also a member of the NYC-based Explorers Club. His photography extends from work in advertising and fashion to personal work capturing people of different cultures in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America. His work has appeared in Vogue, Town and Country, Harper’s Bazaar, People, and George magazine. He has photographed celebrities such Pope Francis, John F Kennedy Jr, Shakira, Pitbull, Roy Jones Jr, and many others over the years. He also is an Ambassador for All Hands and Hearts, a volunteer organization that has built over 300 schools after natural disasters on five continents. Robert holds a Bachelor’s in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania.

Robert is one-eighth Native American (Inca). He grew up in Cuzco, Peru—home to a large indigenous population—and speaks Spanish and Portuguese. As a Rainforest Foundation US board member, Robert’s interests lie in protecting indigenous peoples’ cultures in the Andes and Amazon through advocacy and enabling the legal recognition of indigenous peoples’ lands.

Christian Lelong
Director of Natural Resources, Kayrros

With more than 20 years of experience working in the natural resources, technology and financial service sectors, Christian leads the development of environmental services based on satellite imagery and advanced analytics at Kayrros. Formerly, he played leadership roles at Goldman Sachs and BHP. Christian started his career as a software engineer and holds a Master’s of Business Administration from INSEAD.

Christian supports the RFUS team by analyzing the risks presented by extractive industries, and finding ways in which indigenous communities can use new technologies to protect their lands and livelihoods. Christian’s life-long devotion to environment issues and interest in supporting indigenous peoples stem from his childhood in Mexico.

Jenny Springer
Director of the Global Program on Governance and Rights, IUCN

Jenny Springer is an anthropologist with over 20 years of experience working on indigenous peoples’ and community land rights, community-based natural resource management, and social dimensions of conservation. She joined the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Director of the Global Programme on Governance and Rights in October 2018. From 2015 to 2018, Jenny served as Chair of the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy’s Theme on Governance, Equity and Rights, where she played a lead role in the development of the IUCN Natural Resource Governance Framework. Formerly, she held leadership roles with Rights and Resources Initiative and World Wildlife Fund US, where she co-founded the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights. She holds a Bachelor’s in Social Studies from Harvard and conducted graduate work in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at the University of Chicago.

Becky Yang
Founder, Lin Lane; Partner, The Fund

Becky is the founder of Lin Lane, an advisory and investment firm focused on early stage companies. She is also currently working as Partner at The Fund, a platform of founders and operators investing in the next generation of local entrepreneurs. Before joining The Fund, she worked in global expansion and business development at WeWork, and later served as the Global Director of Growth and Community at Summit. She holds a Bachelor’s from Vanderbilt University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Columbia University.

Becky brings with her over a decade of public and private sector partnerships and fundraising work, including at the Clinton Foundation and Avantage Ventures, which focuses on impact investing. She is committed to aligning these skills with her deep interests in climate change and biodiversity to advance Rainforest Foundation US’s mission.

Steve Kemler Headshot

Steven Kemler
Principal & Managing Director, Stone Arch Group

Steve is an entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. He is the Principal of the Stone Arch Group, a private investment firm that funds single and multi-family real estate opportunities and growth stage companies. Steve and Stone Arch also support organizations committed to climate change mitigation, rainforest preservation, education, children’s health, and the arts. Between 2005 and 2016, he was the Co-Founder and CEO of Group of Health Care Training Companies, which built and operated five healthcare training organizations. Formerly, he served as the Managing Director of Fastwired, and as the CEO and Owner of Human-i-Tees. Steve holds a Bachelor’s in Economics from Trinity College-Hartford and a Certificate in Organizational Design for Digital Transformation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management.

In addition to running various businesses, Steve has been involved in environmental advocacy and forest preservation for over twenty years. He is committed to utilizing this experience in helping Rainforest Foundation US effectively fulfill its mission.

Adam Janos is Rainforest Foundation US’s lead writer and storyteller, translating programmatic impacts and capturing the human face of RFUS’s partnerships for the organization’s priority engagement needs. He brings over 10 years of professional writing experience to the organization, having contributed to several outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The Budapest Times, and A&E, amongst others. He’s also a published fiction writer and playwright. Adam holds a Master’s in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Camden. He is bilingual in Hungarian and fluent in Spanish, which he learned while traveling the Pan-American Highway in his early twenties. That’s also when he came to know the rich indigenous cultures of the continent and the stunning forests that house them, ultimately guiding him to this work.