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Board of Directors

Board Leadership

Ron Morris photo
Ron Morris, Chair
U.S. Coast Guard Retired

Board Member since 2014

Before joining the Board, Ron was President and General Manager of Alaska Clean Seas from 2006 to 2012. Alaska Clean Seas is a not-for-profit cleanup co-op supporting the oil and gas industry exploration and production efforts on the North Slope of Alaska. Bird Rescue has a long history of association with Alaska Clean Seas. Prior to his time with Alaska Clean Seas, Ron served for over 33 years of active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard, completing his Coast Guard career as Captain of the Port for Western Alaska. During his career, he worked with International Bird Rescue in response training and in actual spill responses. He resides in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Susan Kaveggia, Vice Chair
Wildlife Response Team

Board Member since 2011

A southern California native, Susan fell in love with biology as a child. Her appreciation for the ocean and its inhabitants has guided and shaped her career in wildlife rehabilitation. Her conservation work seeks to advance understanding of unique and rare avian species, and includes research on Snowy Plovers, Ridgway's Rails, Black and Laysan Albatrosses. She has collaborated with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Santa Ana Water District, Irvine Water District, University of Southern California, and the University of California-Los Angeles.


Beth Slatkin, Secretary
Director of Marketing and Outreach,
Bay Nature

Board Member since 2010

Beth officially joined Bay Nature in the spring of 2011, but her first contribution was a sidebar on saving local frogs to accompany Bay Nature magazine's April 2002 cover story "A Leap of Faith." A passionate observer of and advocate for the natural world, Beth has a dual background in magazine publishing (MJ, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism) and digital marketing for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations which helps her reach new audiences and inspire others to fall in love with local nature. An experienced grant writer, Beth roams Northern California's wild spaces in her spare time.

Photo of John Sifling

John Sifling, Treasurer
Principal, Broad Reach Maritime
U.S. Coast Guard Retired

Board Member since 2016

John's 25-year Coast Guard career included assignments in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, Central Pacific, and Alaska, numerous oil spills responses (including the Exxon Valdez), and emergency salvage and abandoned vessel removal. He retired from the Coast Guard in 2006 as Captain of the Port of Southeast Alaska. He then joined Princess Cruises as VP Fleet Security where he was responsible for security operations and policy development for 18 ships on worldwide itineraries. John lives near Los Angeles and holds a B.S. in Marine Science from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a M.S. in Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island.

Board of Directors


Jodi Benassi
McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Board Member since 2017

Jodi grew up going to the beaches of Santa Cruz, California. It was her desire to protect the bird life on those beaches that led her to join International Bird Rescue and support the stewardship of our global waters. As an attorney at McDermott Will & Emery, Jodi counsels clients on intellectual property protection.
Will Gaia photo

Will Gala
Staff Scientist, Chevron

Board Member since 2010

Dr. Gala is a Fellow in ecological risk assessment for Chevron in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been an oil spill responder for Chevron for over 25 years and leads their Environmental Functional Team (EFT). The EFT has 20 members available 24/7 to assist Chevron facilities and operations worldwide on environmental issues associated with an oil spill or other emergency response. He is Chair of the Industry Advisory Committee for the Global Oiled Wildlife Response System, and on the Advisory Board for California's Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN. He has a PhD from Michigan State University in Environmental Toxicology and Fisheries & Wildlife.

Maria Hartley

Board Member since 2018
Dr. Maria Hartley is the global technical lead in Chevron's Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response and has been with Chevron since 2008. She is also the assistant lead of Chevron's Environmental Functional Team which is responsible for providing technical specialists to address environmental issues during potential oil spills and other emergencies. She developed and implemented Chevron's industry-leading environmental standards and processes worldwide, such as ESHIA (environmental, social, health impact assessment) and the Natural Resources Environmental Performance Standard, and led permitting initiatives for Chevron's major international capital projects. She advises on biodiversity and endangered species issues and advocacy. Maria also volunteered her expertise to the Red Cross assisting and supporting disaster assessment.  Receiving both her Doctorate and Masters of ecology from Rice University, she is now an Adjunct Assistant Professor teaching Ecosystem Management at Rice, and elected member on the Board of Affiliates for the Professional Master's Program and on the Advisory Board of the School of Natural Sciences. Maria is a British citizen, currently residing in Houston, Texas.

Ian Liston
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Board Member since 2016

Ian is a litigator in the Delaware office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. His practice primarily includes representing companies in complex commercial, intellectual property, and corporate and securities litigation in Delaware's federal and state courts and in arbitration. Ian has also represented clients in proceedings before the Delaware Public Services Commission and the Delaware Healthcare Commission. In addition, he mediates corporate and commercial law disputes. In each of the last three years, he has received the John Wilson Award, the firm's highest award for pro bono service.

Toni Arkoosh Pinsky
Community Leader

Board Member since 2017

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors, Toni has been an active clinic volunteer at both International Bird Rescue's San Francisco Bay-Delta Rehabilitation Center, and at Wildcare in Santa Rosa since 2015. She started her career with Tiffany & Co. in 1980, and rose to the position of Director Business Sales from 1993 through 2009. Toni has a Bachelor's Degree from California State University - Long Beach. She lives in San Anselmo, CA.

Ian Robinson
Wildlife Veterinarian

Board Member since 2018

Ian received his veterinary degree from the University of Bristol, UK, in 1975 and the diploma of Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (UK) in 2006. After a spell in general practice he joined the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in 1990, to establish the Norfolk Wildlife Hospital, which treated over 6,000 wildlife patients annually. In 2003 he joined the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), moving to Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 2006 and rose to the position of Vice President for Animal Welfare and Conservation before retiring in 2016. As part of his involvement in wildlife rehabilitation and
conservation, Ian has attended many oil spills, wildlife emergencies and disaster responses

Ex-Officio Members

photo JD Bergeron
JD Bergeron
Executive Director

JD was appointed Executive Director of International Bird Rescue in July 2015. JD brings a birder's passion, a childlike delight in Nature, and a deep commitment to solving the world's challenges in unconventional ways. He has many two decades of experience in not-for-profit leadership, international development, and organizational change. JD is the Founder of Chooda, which puts on Bike Zambia, a weeklong bicycle ride that raises funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS prevention and economic empowerment for girls and women in Zambia. He previously served in senior roles at TrueliftKiva, Accion, and the U.S. Peace Corps. He is a graduate of Washington University in Saint Louis.

Emeritus Directors

Alice Berkner
Dan Brumlik
Randall Davis
Dr. Michael Fry
Martyn J. Green
Andrew Harmon
Jay Holcomb
Ron Holton
Pat O'Brien
Laurie Pyne
Sam J. Sacco
Chuck Webster
Dave Weeshoff
Ken White
Michael Ziccardi DVM MPVM PhD


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