The Team

Management Team

Olivia Couchman

Executive Manager

Fauna & Flora

Before joining the CLP team in September 2022, Olivia was responsible for the strategic development, fundraising and leadership of the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) flagship capacity building initiative, the EDGE of Existence Programme. Olivia is passionate about building conservation capacity across biodiverse-rich countries to support the growth and development of local conservation leaders. She is experienced in overseeing the selection, funding and evaluation of conservation projects, design and delivery of in-person and online training courses and the progression of conservation partnerships. Prior to ZSL, Olivia worked as a project manager for an environmental charity where she managed their small grant-giving programme. She has an MSc in Conservation from the University of Sussex during which she conducted research projects in East Africa and Central America.

Nathalia Santana

Program Coordinator

Wildlife Conservation Society

Nathalia Santana is a full time Program Coordinator for the Learning Leadership for Conservation (LLC). Nathalia graduated with an M.S in Global Affairs from New York University back in 2017. Since then, Nathalia has worked with non-profits in the NYC area and in Uganda, focusing on leadership development for the youth. Nathalia taught ecology in Uganda, and developed different projects in the Kikaaya Secondary School, such as water tank instillations, refurbishment of the school library, and creating the first sponsorship program for the school. Nathalia is currently back in school receiving a second M.S degree in Animal Behavior and Conservation at Hunter College and is expected to graduate in the fall of 2023. In her off time, Nathalia enjoys watching baseball with her family (Red Sox) and traveling when presented the chance. Nathalia’s last trip was to the Galapagos Islands back in May 2022, which has inspired her to get a scuba diving certification, and to return next year to be able to swim with scalloped hammerheads in the area (she is open to any scuba diving classes that are recommended). Nathalia’s role as a program coordinator will include but not limited to supporting training, logistics, and event planning for CLP, SMART and other LLC funded capacity building trainings, as well as supporting the design and delivery of online and in-person engagement activities.

Leala Rosen

Program Officer

Wildlife Conservation Society

Leala joined CLP in June 2020 after completing an MPS in International Agriculture & Rural Development at Cornell University, where she studied the intersection of community-based natural resource management, sustainable food systems, and environmental conservation. Her master’s research centered around gender equity & social inclusion among community forest user groups in Nepal, where she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2014-2015. She has worked extensively in leadership/capacity building initiatives primarily in agricultural food systems and youth development. Leala enjoys foraging, birdwatching, hiking, and cooking. She has a BA in Sociology/Anthropology with a concentration in Environmental Studies from Hendrix College.

Karla G. Hernandez-Aguilar

Programme Officer - Leadership Development

BirdLife International

Karla joined the CLP team in November 2023 while finishing her PhD in Geography at the University of Nottingham. Karla’s PhD research focused on the impact of climate change in agricultural food systems within indigenous territories in Latin America and the Caribbean. Particularly, she worked toward better understanding the factors shaping the use and adaptation of knowledge systems (both indigenous and scientific) by Maya Yucatec farmers to build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Before her PhD, Karla worked in Belize and Mexico for several years managing local programmes and projects focused on biodiversity and community-based conservation, indigenous knowledge, environmental justice, capacity building, and protected areas management. Karla is passionate about environmental research and linking knowledge systems for action through participatory and transdisciplinary approaches. This has led her to collaborate with different local and indigenous groups to co-create a variety of educational materials and deliver training courses intersecting both indigenous and scientific knowledge. She has an MSc in Conservation Leadership with a focus in community-based conservation from Colorado State University and a BSc in Biology with a focus in protected areas management and conservation of endemic species from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM).  

Eleanor Glass

Programme Officer

Fauna & Flora

Eleanor joined the CLP team in December 2023. She is of Irish and Swedish heritage, and grew up in Northern Ireland where she developed her love of the outdoors and nature. Eleanor went on to study a BSc in Ecology and an MA in Environmental History, uncovering a keen interest in human-wildlife conflict, in particular the bat-human relationship. This led her to study bats in Malawi and South Africa, where she also collected data for both her Bachelors and Masters theses. Eleanor’s most recent professional role was working within communications for the Tenure Facility, an organisation located in Stockholm that works with Indigenous Peoples and local communities towards securing their ancestral land rights. Outside of work, Eleanor enjoys organising cultural music events, roller-skating and practising kick-boxing.

Kate Tointon

Communications Executive

Fauna & Flora

Kate joined the CLP team in February 2020. She is committed to telling the world about the incredible work of CLP alumni and their critical role in conserving nature. Kate has worked in a variety of science communication roles, including at the British Ecological Society and Cambridge University Press. She has a PhD in Sensory & Evolutionary Ecology from the University of Cambridge, an MSC in Animal Behaviour from the University of Exeter, and a BSC in Psychology and Zoology from the University of Bristol. Kate has had a lifelong interest in ecological research and wildlife conservation and has studied a variety of species in the field, including Atlantic puffins in the UK, Horsfield’s hawk cuckoos in Japan, and Aegean wall lizards in Greece.

Executive Committee

The role of the Executive Committee is to provide overall governance and offer guidance and support to the programme. Members of the Executive Committee include:

Lenke Balint

Head of Communities and Capacity Development

BirdLife International

Lenke leads two global programmes of capacity development, research, advocacy and conservation action focused on strengthening grassroots conservation organisations and on the linkages between biodiversity, well-being and human rights as the Head of the Partnership, Capacity and Communities Department at BirdLife International. She has responsibility, among others, for building the capacity of the BirdLife Partnership to mobilize grassroots civil society through local conservation groups, developing individual skills of early and mid-career conservation leaders and strengthening the development and cohesion of the BirdLife network. Before her role with BirdLife, she worked extensively on developing conservation organisations in Eastern and Southern Europe, Central Asia and the Mediterranean. With a background in natural resource management, Lenke is a Fellow of the Intergovernmental Science – Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and has an Mphil in Conservation Leadership from the University of Cambridge. She is also a Kinship Conservation Fellow and is currently undertaking a degree in Social Innovation at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, with a focus on novel resourcing models for conservation.

Marianne Carter

Director, Conservation Capacity & Leadership

Fauna & Flora International

Marianne leads a team working on capacity development issues across FFI’s global portfolio. Prior to this, she spent nine years managing CLP, based at BirdLife International. She started her career in the field, undertaking wildlife conflict research and leading community conservation education and awareness activities in Africa. She has an undergraduate degree in geography and an MSc in environmental management. With expertise in capacity building for conservation, facilitation and training – and a love for motivating, and building engagement, enthusiasm and commitment for conservation, Marianne’s work allows her to support a huge diversity of inspiring people in their work to protect biodiversity worldwide.

Kate Mastro

Representative for Executive Committee

Wildlife Conservation Society

Kate leads the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Learning and Leadership for Conservation team, which supports the development of inspired and committed young conservationists around the world through a series of graduate scholarships, small grants and training opportunities. As a Senior Program Manager, Kate manages the WCS Graduate Scholarship Program, which promotes the next generation of conservation leaders by providing international graduate education opportunities to exceptional candidates from around the globe. Kate has been with WCS since 2005, and has had the opportunity to work across a number of departments within the Global Conservation Program. During this time, she has realized that capacity development and knowledge sharing are two key ways to tackle conservation issues, and she is extremely pleased to be working in a role where she can enable this. Kate has over fifteen years of experience in nonprofit organization management, relationship building and international relations. Kate has a BA in Public and Community Services Studies and Humanities, with a minor in Spanish and an MSc in Global Affairs.