Board of Directors

Jill Fritz

Denise Fort

Denise D. Fort is Emerita Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law. She resigned her position as a professor to focus on climate change and environmental advocacy. Currently she serves as a foundation adviser, as a board member of the Western Environmental Law Center, and as an activist with New Mexico environmental groups. In past positions Fort served as Director of New Mexico’s Environmental Improvement Division, as an attorney with New Mexico PIRG and Southwest Research and Information Center, and as Executive Director of Citizens for a Better Environment (CA). President Clinton appointed her to chair a national commission on western water. She was a member of the National Research Council’s Water, Science, and Technology Board and participated in NRC reports. Other positions include experience in public finance as the Secretary of Finance and Administration for New Mexico and as an assistant Attorney General in the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department. Contact: denisefort@msn.com 

Board of Directors
Jill Fritz

Bee Friedlander

Bee Friedlander is a longtime animal advocate and is a founding member and the director of Attorneys for Animals. She was previously executive director of the Animals and Society Institute, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is also a founding and current member of the Animal Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. She serves on the boards of the Animals and Society Institute, the Bird Center of Washtenaw County, Leuk’s Landing (a rescue and advocacy organization for cats with feline leukemia), and is on the advisory council for the Center for Humane Studies at Madonna University. Bee has also lobbied and advocated successfully for numerous animal protection bills in the Michigan legislature, and was a leader in the successful Keep Michigan Wolves Protected ballot referendum campaign in 2014. Bee received her J.D. and B.A. (Sociology) degrees from The Ohio State University, and a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Non-Profit Sector Studies from Wayne State University.

Board of Directors
Jill Fritz

Jill Fritz

she/her

Jill Fritz is a senior director in the Wildlife Protection department at the Humane Society of the United States, with the team that advances legislative and regulatory policy. Jill joined the HSUS in 2006 as the Minnesota and Wisconsin state director, then served as the Michigan senior state director where she led the 2014 ballot campaign in which the state’s voters overturned two laws authorizing the trophy hunting and recreational trapping of wolves. Jill has worked on a wide variety of state and federal policy issues that include trophy hunting, wildlife killing contests, wildlife trafficking, trapping, marine wildlife protection, captive hunting, wildlife conflict abatement and resolution, the use of lead ammunition, establishing penalties in animal protection laws for intentional cruelty to wildlife, and increasing public involvement in wildlife policy decisions.

Board of Directors
Brenda McKenna

Maggie Howell

Maggie Howell recently stepped down from her leadership position at the Wolf Conservation Center where she worked since 2005, starting as the WCC’s Managing Director and taking the helm as Executive Director in 2013. Before that, Maggie worked in the jungles of Wall Street for a few years before moving out West to begin her career in wildlife conservation. Maggie has served as coordinator of the Northeast Wolf Coalition. She has a degree in Biology from Vassar, with a focus on Animal Behavior and ecology.

Board of Directors
Brenda McKenna

Brenda McKenna

Brenda McKenna is a long-time volunteer for environmental and wildlife advocacy organizations.  In 2020, she was elected as a New Mexico State Senator to represent district nine and serves as the Caucus Chair.  This district includes the communities of Algodones, Placitas, Town of Bernalillo, City of Rio Rancho, Corrales, and Albuquerque.  She is a field representative for the District One Congressional Office and Program Coordinator for the  Nanbé Tewa Language Program.   Brenda is from Nanbé Ówîngeh and resides in Corrales, NM.

Board of Directors
Holly Piasente

Holly Piasente

she/her

Holly was born and raised in California, living in the San Francisco Bay Area until moving to Las Cruces, New Mexico in 2002. She was employed for over thirty five years in the pharmaceutical and vision-care industry, as an international accountant and controller. Holly became involved with the Southwest Environmental Center/Wildlife for All as a volunteer in 2012, serving as a volunteer gala committee chair person for A Wild Night for Wildlife fundraiser. She joined the Board of Directors in May, 2016 and was then appointed treasurer in November of that year. Additionally, Holly is Secretary of the Board for Southern New Mexico Pride and has been a director since 2014. She has three children, a son who resides in Las Cruces, a son and daughter living in California, and four grandchildren. She shares a home with four rescue dogs and promotes rescue of all animals, both wild and domestic.

Board of Directors
Jill Fritz

Steve White

Steve White co-manages Angelo Gordon’s Los Angeles office and is a member of the U.S Real Estate Investment Committee. Prior to joining Angelo Gordon in 2004, Steve worked in the real estate investment banking group at Goldman Sachs where he participated in the disposition and recapitalization of office, retail, hotel, and multi-family properties. Previously, Steve was a partner and co-founder of a private real estate investment company in the Los Angeles area. Steve is involved with several environmental and conservation-focused, non-profit organizations [current HSI board member] and holds an A.B. degree from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Board of Directors