Board of Directors
JOHN HEMINWAY – Chairman
John Heminway is a writer and filmmaker, with a focus on nature, science, complex people, and Africa. He is completing his sixth book. His film making career spans four decades and includes many prestigious awards. “Battle For The Elephants,” which he recently produced with Katie Carpenter and JJ Kelley, was voted Best Conservation Film at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.
Hemingway has been a trustee of Trout Unlimited and the Leakey Foundation. He is trustee of the White Oak Conservation Center, a member of the advisory boards of the American Prairie Foundation, Trustee Emeritus of the African Wildlife Foundation which he served as Chairman for nine years, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and, since the age of 17, a member of the Explorers’ Club where, in June 2002, he was named a “Champion of Wildlife”. In June 2013, Dr. Richard Leakey appointed Hemingway chairman of WildlifeDirect
KATHERINE CARPENTER – Television Producer and Communications Consultant
Katherine Carpenter is an award-winning documentary filmmaker specializing in wildlife conservation and environmental science topics around the world. Most recently, she produced two National Geographic specials for PBS, Bones of Turkana and Battle for the Elephants, filmed on location in Kenya, Tanzania and China.
Her enthusiasm for wildlife conservation programming was nurtured while she was Vice President of Film/TV for National Audubon Productions, where she developed and produced wildlife series and specials in co-production with Animal Planet, Turner Broadcasting, PBS, Disney Channel and the BBC. Carpenter’s television honors include a Cable Ace Award for best documentary series, two Cable Ace nominations, an Emmy and an Emmy nomination, and nine Cine Golden Eagle Awards. She taught documentary film making at Princeton University.
Educated in England, Patrick won an exhibition to study law at Cambridge University. Upon graduation from Cambridge University in 1988, Patrick took an entry level job in a London literary agency, later becoming the junior partner of Christopher Little, the agent who discovered JK Rowling, working together over the period in which JK Rowling’s profile exploded.
A life-long conservationist, Patrick travels constantly and has in recent years begun to overlap his personal interest in conservation onto his client list: to which end he has represented and sold books from Kenya such as Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s memoir, AN AFRICAN LOVE STORY, and Alan Root’s IVORY APES & PEACOCKS. From the UK he represents leading conservationists and campaigners such as Professor John Bradshaw, the father of anthrozoology, Professor Callum Roberts, the oceanographer and campaigner, and Professor Dave Goulson, the entomologist whose recent memoir, A STING IN THE TALE, was a Top 10Sunday Times bestseller in Spring 2013. More generally Patrick’s author client list extends from historians to scientists, and from human rights’ campaigners to psychologists.
Her interest and passion for wildlife conservation was nurtured at her father’s knee, as he became one of the earliest members of the board of directors of the African Wildlife Foundation, at whose meetings she sat on the sidelines and absorbed at an early age the urgency and vitalness of the mission to protect Africa’s wildlife.
She received a Masters Degree from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and her early interest in environmental preservation and justice grew as she went on to earn a Juris Doctor from Boston University School of law.
Mr. Asen is a private investor managing a portfolio of equity and real estate investments for his personal account. Mr. Asen joined the brokerage firm of Mitchell, Hutchins & Co. in 1967, where he worked in the investment advisory department with responsibility for research on small technology stocks. Between 1969 and 1974, Mr. Asen was a portfolio manager with Research and Science Investors, a New York based venture capital and money management firm.
Mr. Asen graduated from Harvard College in 1966.
Irungu Houghton (M.A.) is currently Associate Director, Society for International Development, a US$1 million programme committed to creating a covenant around five promises of the Kenyan constitution. Irungu has been recognized for his contribution to the field of development. In 2007, he was nominated by President John Kuffuor as Chairperson of the African Union to review the performance of the African Union (2003-2007). He was recently awarded the 2013 African Union Women’s Rights Award and the 2012 Oxfam International Kenny Award. Under his leadership, Oxfam also received in 2012 the Partner of Choice Award from AU-NEPAD Agency after ten (10) years of collaboration. A widely known inspirational speaker, sought-after change-facilitator, and skillful moderator, Irungu has been involved in hosting and coordinating national, regional and global conferences. He has authored and commissioned numerous policy papers, research studies, training manuals and guides. He is a father to seven and loves jazz, movies and digital gadgetry.
ALI DAUD MOHAMED
Ali Daud Mohamed is an environment and development expert with over 30 years’ experience in the public service of Kenya and has strong analytical skills and deep knowledge of the inter-linkages between environment and development from both international and national perspectives. He has extensive experience in public policy development and implementation. Ali has served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministries of Environment, and Special Programmes in the Office of the President of Kenya. He has been elected to many international positions including as President of the International Conference on Chemicals Management and Africa’s representative in the Standing Committee on (Climate) Finance among others. He has vast experience in Public policy development, administration and implementation, with rich experience in international cooperation issues and multilateral agreements. He is a specialist in international conventions and treaty negotiations; international project development and implementation; integrated resource management; coastal and marine environmental management
Paula Kahumbu – CEO
Paula Kahumbu received her PhD in Ecology at Princeton University where she studied elephants in coastal Kenya. She is one of Africa’s best known wildlife conservationists. She is the CEO of WildlifeDirect and brainchild of the HANDS OFF OUR ELEPHANTS campaign with Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya. The campaign is widely recognized for its singular successes in advocacy and the engagement of the people of Kenya to support the protection of elephants. At a popular level this never has been experienced before in Kenya or any other elephant range state. Paula is the winner of the Whitley Award 2014, National Geographic Howard Buffet Award for conservation leadership in Africa in 2010 and is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She received a special commendation at the United Nations Person of the Year celebrations for her critical role in creating awareness and mobilizing action around the crisis facing elephants in Kenya. She is recognized as a Kenyan conservation ambassador by Brand Kenya and in 2015 received the presidential award and title of Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW) .
Jim Karani, Legal Affairs Manager
Jim Karani is a Kenyan attorney and the first recipient of Lawyers Without Borders Animal Law LL.M. Scholarship at Lewis & Clark Law School. Jim has extensive experience and expertise as an attorney and advocate of the High Court of Kenya. His work is also focused on strengthening legislation and law enforcement to combat wildlife crime with WildlifeDirect and the Hands Off Our Elephants campaign.
Joy Omulupi – Administrator
A graduate of The Technical University of Kenya she joined the organization in May 2007 and is currently the longest serving employee in the organization. She is responsible for handling all office management including purchasing, logistics and bookkeeping and is the go to person if anyone needs anything. Prior to joining WildlifeDirect, she worked at GTZ International Services, Coca-Cola Africa and International Rescue Committee both in Nairobi and Kigoma, Tanzania.
Robert Millia – Project Officer
Robert Millia Kaai, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental science from the Egerton University. He joined WildlifeDirect as an intern to assist in the development and production of a community guide to the new Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013. He progressed to become a project officer, working with communities living in elephant areas.
Lisa Olson, Administration Consultant, WildlifeDirect USA
Lisa Olson has been with WildlifeDirect for 10 years administrating the US office. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and 3 children. Before WildlifeDirect, Lisa travelled around the world working with Electronic Data Systems as a systems engineer and as an IT services sales professional in Hawaii. It is very rewarding to be a part of an organization that is making such a positive difference in the conservation world.