Directors & Advisors


Joan Pickett, Chair
Senior Director, Planning & Business Development, Beth Israel Lahey Health – resident of Cambridge
Joan Pickett has more than 20 years of experience working in planning and business development at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, one of Boston’s top academic medical centers, and now at Beth Israel Lahey Health. She is active in civic activities including advocating for preservation of open space. She believes the Charles River parks are one of the most valued open space resources to be enhanced and enjoyed by all the communities that touch the Charles.

Debra Iles, Treasurer
Higher Education Executive – resident of Newton
Debra Iles serves as the Associate Dean for Executive Education at Harvard Kennedy School. She has previously worked as an executive with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, was COO of a health care quality start-up, and served as a management consultant. As a frequent runner along the paths of the Charles, she is interested in the connection between active recreation and the parks.

Craig Bida
CEO/Founder, Think Design Disrupt – resident of Boston
Craig Bida is a branding, marketing, and communications expert with over 20 years of experience working with brands and organizations across sectors. He is the Founder and CEO of Think Design Disrupt, a purpose-driven brand building consultancy that designs, re-imagines, and activates brands to create world-changing social and environmental impact. Craig has extensive experience working with organizations focused on the environment and natural resource conservation, including the National Park Service, Keep America Beautiful, the Sierra Club, and the Nature Conservancy. Craig fell in love with the Charles while learning to sail at Community Boating as a boy and has been dreaming about the river ever since.

Nathan Gauthier
Energy & Sustainability Lead, Facilities Center of Excellence at Takeda Pharmaceuticals – resident of Dedham
Nathan Gauthier is a sustainable real estate professional committed to sustainable design, construction and operations. He has lead sustainability programs for large corporate and academic organizations, consulted on green building projects across the globe, and teaches graduate courses on sustainability at multiple universities. Nathan enjoys canoeing and kayaking on the Charles with his two daughters and is also a member of the Dedham Conservation Commission.

Taurean Green
Resident of Somerville
Taurean serves as the Lead Compliance Specialist at Payfactors. She previously served as a Contracts Negotiator at Raytheon BBN Technologies Corp. Taurean actively uses the Charles River as a place to hangout with her friends. She is particularly interested in the continued environmental preservation of the Charles River and its ability to connect the residents of Massachusetts. 

Lonsdale G. Koester
Resident of Cambridge
A self-described “serial do-gooder,” Lonsdale Koester is an experienced nonprofit and political/public sector leader with expertise in organizational development, strategic planning, policy analysis, financial management, fundraising, and volunteer engagement. She and her family love the Charles River in all its seasons, and most especially from the bow of their sturdy old green canoe.

Steve Kropper, Clerk
Partner, Skunk Works Fund – resident of Arlington
Steve is an entrepreneur in clean energy, telecom and big data. He organized GovOnTheT 2015, worked for the City of Boston, and held elected and committee assignments in Lexington. He was also responsible for maintenance of the Pleasant Brook Community Pool in Lexington for five years. He builds experimental kayaks, and in the summer, he paddles the Charles every week.

Frans Lawaetz
CIO / Co-Founder Vyasa Analytics – resident of Boston
Frans brought his love of open water swimming with him from the Virgin Islands to Boston where he co-founded the Charles River Swimming Club. He swims in the Charles as often as is allowed and looks forward to the day when river swimming is a daily feature of summer life. When not in the water Frans can be frequently found running along or windsurfing on the Charles.

Bonnie L McLellan
Senior Director, Adobe – resident of Needham
Bonnie McLellan has a passion for public outdoor spaces that started with childhood summers learning to sail on the Charles River and countless hours since then biking, running and playing along the Charles River Parks more recently with her family and rescue dog by her side.  She has her MBA from Boston University Questrom School of Business (more time on the Charles!) and received a degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Cornell University which further sparked her interest in nurturing public places for all to enjoy.  While at Cornell she was on the planning board and she has held leadership roles with the Department of Environmental Protection and Beacon Management creating inclusive, vibrant active spaces.  Today she partners with clients to drive experiences for customers through technology while continuing to advocate the importance of outdoor experiences as essential to our community. 

Alana Olsen Westwater
Vice President of Strategy and Operations – resident of Boston

Alana Olsen Westwater has been a leader in Greater Boston’s political and non-profit sectors since 2011. Former Chief of Staff to Boston City Councilor At Large Annissa Essaibi George and Executive Director of Allston Village Main Streets, Alana respects the boots on the ground approach to coalition building and advocacy. In her role at the Kendall Square Association, Alana has focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and designed the Inclusion Drives Innovation program which trains Kendall leaders in anti-racism. She believes the Charles River and its parks are one of the most precious shared resources that should be enjoyed by everyone.

Gautam Sundaram
Associate Principal, Perkins & Will – resident of Newton

Gautam Sundaram is an architect and landscape architect with over 20 years of national and international experience in planning and design of a diverse range of project types.  He is an Associate Principal at Perkins and Will and serves as the Urban Design and Landscape Architecture practice leader in the Boston Studio. He brings forth a strong emphasis on the role of landscapes to address climate change and social equity issues with a thoughtful, resilient and place making approach.


Renata von Tscharner
Founder and retired President, Charles River Conservancy — resident of Cambridge
von Tscharner founded the Conservancy in 2000 and led it until her retirement in 2018. She trained as an architect and urban designer in Switzerland, and all her professional life has focused on planning and improving public spaces. She co-authored several books, taught at various colleges and hosted a TV program. Renata enjoys bicycling along the river.

To contact Renata, please email

Ron Axelrod*
Former Head, TAM Engineering; valuable advisor to the Lynch Family Skatepark project- resident of Cambridge

Jeffrey Bilezikian
Principal, Mill Lane Management/philanthropist – resident of Watertown

Dennis Carlone
Architect & Planner, Cambridge City Councilor – resident of Cambridge

Philip Crutchfield
Retired business executive, Harvard Business School lecturer – resident of Cambridge

John DeVillars
Managing Partner, BlueWave Strategies – resident of Boston

Catherine Donaher*
Principal of CD+A, founding Charles River Conservancy Board Member – resident of Brookline

Honorable Michael Dukakis
Professor at Northeastern University, former Governor of Massachusetts – resident of Brookline

Michael Epstein*
Retired physician, former COO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – resident of Cambridge

Paul Fremont-Smith, Jr.
Retired business executive/philanthropist – resident of Boston

Jennifer Gilbert*
Principal at VIVA Consulting – resident of Cambridge

John Isaacson
Executive, Isaacson, Miller – resident of Cambridge

Mark Kraczkiewicz*
Retired economist/international development – resident of Watertown

Daniel Langenthal
Independent Consultant  – resident of Cambridge

Henry Lee
Founder of the Friends of the Public Garden – resident of Boston

Edward LeFlore*
Principal, CSL Consulting, LLC – resident of Hopkinton

Linda Lerner*
Consultant & Executive Coach – resident of Boston

Harry Mattison*
Software Developer – resident of Allston

Geraldine Pangaro
Retired VP, John Hancock Life Insurance Company – resident of Boston

Randy Peeler
Managing Director at Berkshire Partners – resident of Cambridge

Matthew Petrie*
Architect – resident of Watertown

Bruce Schwoegler
Founder & Chairman, MySky Communications, Inc. – resident of Wayland

Amy Segal*
Counsel, Wilmer-Hale – resident of Newton

John R. Shields
Principal of Shields Design, Project Director, Esplanade 2020, a Vision for the Future – resident of Boston

Ann Tikkanen
Chief Financial & Administrative Officer at The Trustees of Reservations – resident of Cambridge

Paul Walker*
Program Director, Global Green USA, founding CRC board member – resident of Cambridge

Ania Wieckowski*
Managing Editor, Harvard Business Review Press – resident of Brighton

John T. Williams (Ike)
Attorney, Stern Shapiro Weissberg & Garin LLP – resident of Cambridge

Michelle Wu
Attorney, Boston City Councilor – resident of Boston

*Denotes former Board Member