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Meet The Staff: Jaja Leroux

Meet our Director of Finance
based out of the Maryland & DC Office

A pretty colorful mosaic would be needed to describe the background of Jeanne-Marie Leroux (Jaja). Born in Louisiana, she is not Cajun or Creole but a mix of Ecuadorian, Polish, German and Irish. She was raised in Ecuador, Chile and the US spanning both Latin American and US cultures. As a result, Jaja speaks both English and Spanish fluently and can defend herself in French.

Jaja’s first job was decided in college while walking from English 101 to Philosophy- the poster read “Interesting Openings at 36,000 Feet“. Six months later she was in Honolulu, Hawaii training to be a Pan Am flight attendant at the time, the youngest flight attendant in the system. She spent seven years being paid to see the world, experience many cultures, eat amazing food, and meet people from all walks of life. She still believes it was an unrivaled education in life and the real world.

After Pan Am was downsized and Jaja was furloughed, she landed at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and spent three years studying and working as assistant to the bureau chief at Worldwide Television News. She then returned to the DC area to marry her first love and start a family. Finding a job at the World Wildlife Fund as assistant to the director for Latin America and the Caribbean, she coordinated and monitored projects throughout these regions. Because the work spanned three continents in the pre-internet age, her program became the first in any NGO to use something called email, to which one could attach and send documents not only from one computer to another, but from one country to another! Wow!

In 1994, she moved to Oxford, MD to be closer to family and went to work for a stock broker: valuing portfolios, researching stocks and managing the Easton office. Here she met a man who would become her partner in marriage and business. She moved to Annapolis and for 12 years was Vice President of Annapolis Performance Sailing. Jaja ran the administrative end of the business accounting, human resources, office management and took care of 25 plus employees, often filling in as “mom” when they were far from home. Jaja edited and proofed APS’ annual mail order catalog until 2010 when that partnership came to an end. In December of 2011, Jaja joined the Alliance as its bookkeeper where she is delighted to bring her many skills to support a mission she believes in.

Jaja has three amazing daughters, Roxanne, Emma and Zoe, who are the love of her life. She also has two great dogs that love the Chesapeake as much as she does. Jaja loves to cook and garden; especially cook.

Jamie Alberti RiverSmart Homes Senior Program Manager
Maryland & DC Office
Jamie is Senior Program Manager of RiverSmart Homes, where she oversees the Alliance's rain barrel and landscaping projects in D.C. Jamie enjoys her current position with the Alliance because it allows her to combine watershed restoration with environmental education opportunities.
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Jessica Blackburn Citizens Advisory Committee Coordinator
Virginia Office
Jessica serves as the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) Coordinator to the Chesapeake Executive Council. As Coordinator, she is responsible for organizing meetings throughout the Chesapeake for CAC members to meet with government officials, technical experts, and stakeholders to discusses issues and how to address them.
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Amanda Bland Chesapeake Conservation Corps Member
Maryland & DC Office
Amanda is Alliance’s current Chesapeake Conservation Corps Member. Prior to joining the Chesapeake Conservation Corps Amanda has interned at the Calvert Marine Museum as the Estuarine Biologist intern, and for Bergeson and Campbell, P.C., an environmental law firm located in DC.
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Christina Bonini RiverWise Program Manager
Virginia Office
Christina is the RiverWise Program Manager in the Alliance's Richmond, VA office.RiverWise is a stormwater management and property owner engagement program that aims to improve water quality of local waterways that flow into the Chesapeake Bay.
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Adam Bray Program Assistant
Virginia Office
Adam assists the Committee Coordinator in providing organizational support and meeting coordination for CAC members as they meet with government officials, technical experts and stakeholders across the watershed.
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Laura Cattell Noll Local Leadership Workgroup Coordinator
Maryland & DC Office
As a member of the Alliance’s Local Governments Team, Laura coordinates the Local Leadership Workgroup. She has more than a decade of experience managing and implementing community-based watershed restoration and stewardship projects across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
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Liz Chudoba Water Quality Program Manager
Virginia Office
Liz is the Alliance's Water Quality Program Manager. She manages the Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative partnership, and the Alliance's RiverTrends program.
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Meredeth Dash RiverWise Schools Program Coordinator
Virginia Office
Meredeth is the Alliance's part-time Program Coordinator for RiverWise Schools. She manages the Alliance's RiverWise Schools project.
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Ola Davis Local Government Assistant
Maryland & DC Office
Ola began her work with the Alliance in August of 2018 as the Local Government Program Assistant, where she helps to staff the Local Government Advisory Committee for the Chesapeake Bay Program
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Ryan Davis Chesapeake Forests Program Manager
Pennsylvania Office
Ryan is the Alliance's Program Manager for our Chesapeake Forests program. He focuses on forest conservation and restoration within the watershed in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York.
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Nissa Dean Virginia State Director
Virginia Office
Nissa is the Alliance's Virginia State Director, where she oversees program staff, and manages a variety of projects, including Greening Virginia's Capitol and RiverWise Communities.
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Rachel Felver Director of Communications for the Chesapeake Bay Program
Maryland & DC Office
Rachel is the Director of Communications for the Chesapeake Bay Program, where she is in charge of communications content that is distributed to the Bay Program's partners.
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Kate Fritz Executive Director
Maryland & DC Office
Kate is the Executive Director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Her interest in the Chesapeake extends beyond her love of kayaking and fishing, and has led her to many volunteer opportunities locally. She is a certified Master Watershed Steward, and was a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy (WAS).
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Lucy Heller Communications and Maryland Outreach Coordinator
Maryland & DC Office
Lucy is the Communications and Maryland Outreach Coordinator in the Annapolis office. She assists with daily communications work and coordinates Maryland outreach events.
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Craig Highfield Director of Chesapeake Forests Program
Maryland & DC Office
Craig is the Director of our Chesapeake Forests Program, where he manages a variety of projects that improve existing forests, create new ones, and educate residents and decision-makers about the benefits of forests in the Chesapeake watershed.
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Abbi Huntzinger Maryland Restoration Program Manager
Maryland & DC Office
As the Maryland Restoration Program Manager, Abbi supports the development, design, and implementation of in-the-ground projects that help improve the waterways, habitat, and communities throughout Maryland. She is a Registered Landscape Architect who strives to balance both building strong projects and partnerships.
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Caitlyn Johnstone Communications and Outreach Specialist for Chesapeake Bay Program
Maryland & DC Office
Caitlyn joined the Alliance in September of 2016 as the Communications & Outreach Specialist for the Chesapeake Bay Program, where she works to increase collaboration of the watershed as a whole through outreach and partnership.
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Jaja Leroux Director of Finance
Maryland & DC Office
Jaja serves as the Alliance's Director of Finances, where she balances our many grants, various budgets, and organizational expenses.
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Jenna Mackley Community Engagement Manager
Pennsylvania Office
Jenna is the Community Engagement Manager in our Pennsylvania office. She manages a variety of program functions such as event planning, volunteer coordination, social media, and more.
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Suzanne Martin Director of Development
Maryland & DC Office
Suzanne is the Director of Development, and has over 20 years of development and fundraising experience, as well as experience in the environmental and education field.
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Jenny McGarvey Senior Program Manager
Virginia Office
Jenny is a senior program manager based in the Alliance’s Virginia office. She serves a dual managerial role over the Chesapeake Watershed Forum, ForumPlus, and Chesapeake Network, and aspects of our Chesapeake Forest program.
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Jenna Mitchell Pennsylvania State Director
Pennsylvania Office
Jenna serves as the Alliance's Pennsylvania State Director, where she oversees our PA staff and manages several projects in the region.
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Harriet Newquist Bookkeeper
Maryland & DC Office
Harriet Newquist is the Bookkeeper at the Alliance in the MD/DC Office, where she supports our Director of Finance with the financials and bookkeeping of the organization.
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Erin O’Grady RiverSmart Homes Program Coordinator
Maryland & DC Office
Erin is based in the MD/DC Office as the RiverSmart Homes Program Coordinator. She manages the Rain Barrel program which helps DC community members reduce their stormwater runoff by installing rain barrels on their property.
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Will Parson Multimedia Specialist
Maryland & DC Office
Will joined the Alliance in 2014 as the Multimedia Specialist for the Chesapeake Bay Program, where he produces photo and video stories across the Chesapeake watershed.
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Queen Richardson RiverSmart Homes Program Assistant
Maryland & DC Office
Queen is the RiverSmart Homes Program Assistant in DC. She helps to install and inspect rain barrels, rain gardens, BayScapes, and permeable pavers throughout DC.
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Drew Siglin Grants Manager
Maryland & DC Office
Drew recently returned to the Alliance part-time as the Grants Manager, where he assists Jaja with balancing our many grants.
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Joan Smedinghoff Web Content Specialist for the Chesapeake Bay Program
Maryland & DC Office
Joan is the Web Content Specialist for the Chesapeake Bay Program Communications Office. She works to create content for the Bay Program website, social media accounts, and newsletters.
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Marissa Spratley Communications Manager
Maryland & DC Office
Marissa is the Communications Manager at the Alliance’s Headquarters. Her job includes managing communications strategies across the organization and our regional offices.
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Jennifer Starr Director of Local Government Programs/LGAC Coordinator
Maryland & DC Office
Jennifer is the Alliance's Director of Local Government Programs & LGAC Coordinator, where she manages our Local Government Programs and provides insight and feedback to the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) partners.
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Sophie Stern RiverTrends Coordinator
Virginia Office
Sophie joined the Alliance in June 2019 as the RiverTrends Coordinator. She is looking forward to continue to motivate citizen scientists to connect with their waterways and provide essential data for improving water quality throughout the Chesapeake Bay.
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Laura Todd RiverSmart Program Coordinator
Maryland & DC Office
Laura is the Program Coordinator for the RiverSmart Homes program, coordinated in partnership with the DC Department of Energy and the Environment. She works on the permeable paver program.
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Leslie Weller Agricultural Program Manager
Pennsylvania Office
Leslie is the Agricultural Program Manager for the Alliance's Pennsylvania office. She supports and provides resources to farmers in Lancaster and surrounding counties.
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