Spotlighting Six of the Women in Leadership at the Alliance
In honor of International Women’s Day, we are spotlighting a few of the amazing women who are a part of our leadership team, and who shape the work that we do every day to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. Check out six of the incredible women who help lead our watershed-wide organization.
Kate Fritz has been Executive Director of the Alliance since August of 2017. Her environmental education started at St. Mary’s College of Maryland where she majored in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Studies. Her education continued with earning an Executive Master of Natural Resources focused on Leadership in Sustainability from Virginia Tech, as well as a Masters Degree in Environmental Management from the University of Maryland University College. Kate has worked in a variety of environmental positions across Maryland and beyond. This past December Kate was honored as one of The Daily Record’s 2018 Leading Women. In her day to day work, Kate ensures that she is leading by example, and is supportive of our staff in their own roles at the Alliance. Since joining the Alliance in 2017, she has led us in renewed efforts to expand our visibility and brand recognition. Her strength for strategic thinking has been instrumental in aligning our programs and our mission, and she has been the leader of our strategic plan refresh process that has been taking place since early 2019. She continues to lead the Alliance by inspiring all us to be leaders of our own, “I believe that the greatest thing I can do as a leader is to create more leaders,” she says.
Jaja is the Director of Finance at the Alliance and has been with us for over seven years. Jaja’s unique career background and different experiences makes her a great leader for our staff. Jaja was a Pan Am flight attendant for seven years and at the time was the youngest in the system. Her experience as a flight attendant allowed her to see the world and experience many cultures. After Pan Am, Jaja lived in New York City; Washington DC; Oxford, MD, then most recently Annapolis, MD where she worked for 12 years as the Vice President of Annapolis Performance Sailing. In December 2011, Jaja joined the Alliance as its bookkeeper where she was delighted to bring her many skills to support a mission she believes in. Not only is Jaja a powerful and inspirational leader to us at the Alliance, she also shares her passion for the learning and experiencing new things with her three daughters.
Jenna Mitchell is our Pennsylvania State Director. Jenna joined us in April of 2016 as our Pennsylvania Program Manager, and has been spreading her passion for conservation ever since. Born and raised in Lancaster County, Jenna’s desire to protect the Chesapeake Watershed started early. Jenna majored in Environmental Resource Management with minors in Environmental Soil Science and Watersheds and Water resources at Penn State. After graduating Jenna worked for two years at the Lancaster County Conservation District as an Erosion and Sedimentation Technician. Jenna now leads our Pennsylvania staff and has grown our small four person office to be the mighty team that they are. She is our youngest ever State Director, with a deep sense of passion, a fierce work ethic, and a humble attitude.
Nissa is our Virginia State Director. Nissa’s time with the Alliance dates back to when she started interning with us, and became a full time employee in 2000. In 2002 she left the Alliance to serve the Commonwealth at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, where she implemented the Chesapeake Bay tributary strategies and worked with localities and Soil and Water Conservation Districts on urban and agricultural best management practice implementation and watershed management. Nissa returned to the Alliance in March of 2012 as the Virginia State Director and in her day to day work, she gets to share and implement her experiences she’s gained from the projects she worked on outside of the Alliance. Nissa oversees our Virginia staff, and is an energetic advocate for change with a strength for strategic thinking and a passion for clean water in Virginia.
Rachel is our Director of Communications for the Chesapeake Bay Program. Rachel’s education background includes a Bachelor’s in Political Science from University of Pittsburgh, and a Master’s in Public Administration, concentrating in Environmental Policy & Management. She worked for the Environmental Protection Agency for nine years, four of which were as the Communications Director. After she developed an interest in the non-profit world, Rachel joined the marketing team at the National Aquarium, and joined the Alliance in 2016 as the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Communication Director. In her role at the Chesapeake Bay Program, Rachel leads her three person communications team to produce educational and informative content for the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. Her experience with the EPA, and her strong background in environmental policy make her the perfect fit for the Director of Communications for the Chesapeake Bay Program.
Suzanne is the most recent addition to our leadership team as the Interim Director of Development. She has over 20 years of development and fundraising experience, as well as experience in the environmental and education field. Suzanne earned a Master’s Degree in Education (Organizational and Human Resources Development) from the University of Vermont and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Skidmore College. She has worked in the education sector for Johns Hopkins University and The Key School, as well as the Jane Goodall Institute. She most recently served as the Director of Development for South River Federation. Upon joining our team, Suzanne was not afraid to dive right in and has already implemented development strategies that are furthering our mission. We are excited to see Suzanne’s leadership grow in the coming months at the Alliance!