Staff

Laura Jasinski, Executive Director

Laura (she/her) is an urban planner with ten years of experience in development and activation of urban open space and community engagement. Most recently she served as the Associate Director of the Boston Waterfront Initiative for The Trustees of Reservations, an effort to build world-class, resilient open space on the Boston Harbor. Previously, she served as the Director of Programs and Planning for the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy where she managed several capital improvements and installations. Ms. Jasinski holds a BA in Architectural Studies and an MA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University. Her graduate work focused on universal design and best practices in creating inclusive public spaces. A former co-captain of the Tufts women’s basketball team and long-time athlete, Ms. Jasinski has trained for several half marathons and the 2016 Boston marathon along the Charles River. She looks forward to the day when she and her fellow swimmers from the Cambridge Masters program can practice at the Swim Park.

Email: ljasinski@thecharles.org     Phone: (617) 300-8175

Vanessa Nason, Associate Director

Vanessa (she/her) enjoys being part of an organization working to improve the Charles River, which she has spent countless hours walking, running, and relaxing beside. Since joining the Conservancy, she can include cycling in that list! After starting on the operations and development side, Vanessa has appreciated adding project management and applying her passion for swimming to the Charles. She didn’t need much convincing on the idea of urban river swimming, but her first jump in during City Splash 2016 made her a convert, and she looks forward to the time when swimming has a home in the Charles again. Vanessa has a graduate degree from Georgetown University. Her prior experience includes administration at an architecture firm and program coordination at an urban planning foundation.

Contact Vanessa with questions about the Swim Park Project or the Charles River Floating Wetland.

Email: vnason@thecharles.org     Phone: (617) 300-8162

Sasha Vallieres, Volunteer Program Manager

Sasha (she/her) currently manages 2,000 annual volunteers and the Conservancy’s horticultural and conservation activities. Sasha has over ten years of experience in the non-profit sector, where she has worked in resource management, taught environmental education and natural history, performed trail maintenance, and organized volunteer events for small groups to events with several hundred. Sasha has previously worked for YMCA of Greater Boston, National Parks Service, Trustees of Reservations, and interned with the Student Conservation Association. When not working in the Charles River parklands, Sasha enjoys gardening, reading, movies, and hiking.

Contact Sasha if you are interested in scheduling a corporate volunteer event or attending the next open volunteer day. Please note that group volunteer days are typically scheduled one month in advance.

Email: svallieres@thecharles.org     Phone: (617) 300-8173

Taylor Leonard, Program Manager, Community Partnerships

Taylor (she/her) is interested in the intersection between art, the environment, and community advocacy. With a Bachelor of Fine Art from the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University, Taylor is constantly searching for exciting and creative solutions to engage open space along the Charles River. Prior to her time at the Charles River Conservancy, Taylor organized free community celebrations at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and planned art residency programming at the Harvard University ArtLab. Needless to say, she is partial to a celebratory event when the time comes to swim in the Charles River again! In her spare time Taylor enjoys spending time biking on the Charles with a watercolor kit packed in her bag to capture the beautiful views (including the CRC’s incredible Floating Wetland)!

Contact Taylor with questions about programming along the Charles River. 

Email: tleonard@thecharles.org 

Joann Lai, Communications & Outreach Manager

Photo of Joann Lai

Joann (she/her) is most interested in advocacy work related to the environment and the people. She completed a master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management and Protection with a Minor in Indigenous Studies in Natural Resources and the Environment from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Joann previously worked on community outreach and engagement efforts at Solstice Initiative and interned at the State House. Prior to graduate school, she worked as an Environmental Scientist at CAL FIRE, conducting program evaluations on one of California’s hazardous materials programs. These work experiences have shaped her curiosity for expanding public participation and environmental stewardship. Outside of work, Joann enjoys reading a good book, catching up on her TV shows, and trying new restaurants.

Email: jlai@thecharles.org

Louisa Tornari, Projects & Events Assistant

Louisa (she/her) is interested in exploring the relationship between communities and the natural and built environment. Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, she is a fourth-year student at Northeastern University working towards a B.A. in History with a minor in Environmental Studies. Before working at the Charles River Conservancy, Louisa worked with the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship as a program assistant and at the Massachusetts Archives’ Commonwealth Museum, where she facilitated and planned programs about Massachusetts history and trivia for elementary school students as a museum education assistant. Additionally, Louisa has experience in pet care and classical voice. In Louisa’s free time, she can be found playing card games, mending clothes, or cooking.

Email: ltornari@thecharles.org

TERRACORPS MEMBER

Kaelyn Gormley, Land Stewardship Coordinator

Photo of Kaelyn Gormley

Kaelyn (she/her) is serving as the Land Stewardship Coordinator through the TerraCorps program. A recent graduate of Lafayette College with a bachelor’s in Environmental Science, Kaelyn is interested in pursuing ecological restoration while prioritizing environmental justice. She is eager to learn more about conservation, restoration, and community engagement through this position. Prior to joining the Charles River Conservancy team, she has worked for the Conservation Crew for the Town of Concord, as a Coastal Ecology intern for the Trustees of Reservations, and has done lab research exploring resource recovery from waste water! In her free time, Kaelyn enjoys spending time outdoors, cooking, and crocheting.

Email: kgormley@thecharles.org