Board of Directors and Staff

Meet the heart and soul behind the Walden Woods Project — our devoted board and staff. The Project is rooted in people who have made it their mission to establish a dynamic environment of creativity, professionalism and continued commitment to preserving the historical landscape of Walden Woods.

Board of Directors

Left to right: Betsy Lack, Kathi Anderson; Tom Jones; Don Henley; John Tyson; Ed Begley, Jr., Anna West Winter, John DeVillars (photo by Neil Rasmussen, 2006)
Left to right: Betsy Lack, Kathi Anderson; Tom Jones; Don Henley; John Tyson; Ed Begley, Jr.,
Anna West Winter, John DeVillars (photo by Neil Rasmussen, 2006)

Don Henley, founder of the Walden Woods Project and Thoreau Institute, is the Chairman of the Board. Mr. Henley is a Grammy award-winning recording artist, both with the Eagles and as a solo artist. In recognition of his efforts to save Walden Woods and his leadership role in establishing the Thoreau Institute, Mr. Henley was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 1997 by President Clinton.

Kathi Anderson is the Secretary of the Board and Executive Director of the Walden Woods Project. From 1977-1990, she was a staff member for U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. She served as the legislative director of the Senator’s Massachusetts office and as a legislative assistant for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. She has served on a number of nonprofit boards including RESTORE: The North Woods, the Walden Conservancy and the Thoreau Society.

Ed Begley, Jr. is a well-known stage and screen actor and perhaps the living definition of the word “environmentalist.” He was recycling before the first Earth Day took place. When participating in Walden Woods Project events, he often travels across the country by train or in his hybrid vehicle as part of his own crusade to promote mass transit and to reduce energy emissions. He is involved with many organizations such as the Coalition For Clean Air, The Union Of Concerned Scientists and the Environmental Media Association.

John P. DeVillars is Chairman of BlueWave Capital, LLC, a solar energy development and finance company with offices in Boston, MA, Charleston, SC; Nassau, The Bahamas; and Cape Town, SA.  He previously served as the New England Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Secretary of Environmental Affairs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Chairman of the Board of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and holds an MPA degree from Harvard University. He has received numerous environmental awards including the President’s Award of the Nature Conservancy for outstanding national leadership.

Thomas O. Jones, a technology entrepreneur, serves as the Treasurer of the Walden Woods Project and as Chair of the WWP Audit Committee. He was a co-founder of Epsilon – the nation’s leading database marketing company – and served as its CEO until it was acquired by American Express. A graduate of MIT and Harvard, he has taught on the full-time faculty of both the Harvard Business School and MIT’s Sloan School. He is featured in a number of HBS Publishing products – the most recent of which appeared in the July 2008 issue of Harvard Business Review. He is a recognized expert in the area of customer loyalty and personalized marketing and speaks widely on issues relating to organizational innovation and transformation.

Betsy Kenny Lack is Head of Global Brand Strategy at Snapchat.  She was a Contributing Editor at Vanity Fair magazine for eight years. Prior to that, she was a consultant to Forstmann Little & Co., the investment firm founded by Theodore J. Forstmann. In addition to the Walden Woods Project, she sits on the board of Thirteen-WNET and WLIW, the organization that oversees the public television stations in the New York metropolitan area and the board of the Riverdale Country School.

John H. Tyson is Chairman of Tyson Foods, Inc. and a member of the Executive Committee of Tyson’s Board of Directors. He has worked at Tyson Foods since 1974, in many different areas of the company’s business, ranging from operations to marketing to governmental relations.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and serves on the Advisory Board for the Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative.

Anna West Winter  is Executive Director of Save Our Heritage, a non-profit citizen’s organization whose mission is to protect and preserve the birthplace of the American Revolution. She worked as a freelance art director for film and television. Ms. Winter serves on the Science Visiting Council for PBS NOVA, is a board member of the Emerson Hospital Health Care Foundation, a Trustee of The Trustees of Reservations, a member of the Board of Governors at the Concord Museum, and a member of the Board of Directors of Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House.

Walden Woods Project Staff

Kathi Anderson (see Board of Directors) — is the Secretary of the WWP Board of Directors and has been the executive director of the organization since its founding in 1990. From 1977-1990, she served in various legislative capacities on the staff of Senator Edward M. Kennedy in Washington, DC and Boston. She is a graduate of Boston College. Kathi supervises the WWP staff, oversees strategic planning, mission-related initiatives of the organization, fundraising and public relations.

Matthew Burne – Conservation Director – holds a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology from UMass-Amherst and is a former Reading High School biology teacher. Prior to teaching, he was an ecologist with the Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, expert in vernal pool habitat and wildlife. Matt is responsible for the planning and execution of the organization’s conservation mission, and makes significant contributions to the organization’s educational programming.

Samantha Corron – Social Media Coordinator – started at the WWP as the Education Intern before joining the staff full-time. She got her B.A. in American Studies at the University of Mary Washington. Samantha reaches out to our members and supporters through our newsletter and social media outlets, and manages our farm stand during the late summer and fall months.

Jeffrey S. Cramer – Curator of Collections — has been a professional librarian since 1978. He is a Thoreau scholar and editor of more than half-a-dozen Thoreau-related works for Yale University Press, Princeton University Press, Penguin, and other publishers. Jeff oversees the library, provides research support and responds to public inquiries.

Robert Friberg – Manager of Farm at Walden Woods – started working in the fields and farm stand in 2012, and now manages agricultural production of our 8-acre farm, supervises staff and works with local vendors.  He also contributed to the Farm’s transition to organic certification.

Catherine Lemay –part-time Bookkeeper – was a volunteer with the organization for nine years, providing assistance during major fundraising events and office support, before joining the staff in 1999. Cathy provides administrative accounting support for the organization.

Whitney Retallic – Director of Education — spent twelve years in higher education, teaching and facilitating service-learning and leadership programs for middle school, high school and college students.  Prior to joining the WWP staff, she directed a Boston-based organization that brings people of different faith backgrounds together for social action. Whitney received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her M.Ed. from Boston University. At WWP, she oversees the educational programs and partnerships.

Dan Schmid – Facilities Director – is a licensed contractor who operated his own custom building business in Boston and the Metro-West area for 20 years. Dan has been with the WWP since 1998 and is responsible for maintaining the organization’s grounds, buildings, and its systems. He directs the Farm at Walden Woods and oversaw its transition to organic certification.  He has also been involved in the acquisition and the sale of three of the organization’s properties.

LeighAnn Sciacca –  part-time CPA – has been managing the financial operations of the organization since 2005. LeighAnn has worked with non-profits organizations starting in 1996 and received her CPA in 1999. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from Bentley College.

Juliet Trofi – Assistant to the Director – has been on the WWP staff since 1991. She manages the office, provides administrative support, organizes special events and other fundraising activities. She has coordinated on-site programs such as the Stewardship Lecture Series and co-edited the organization’s newsletter.