Our Team

Joel Dunn, President & CEO

Joel Dunn is president and CEO of Chesapeake Conservancy, a nonprofit organization based in Annapolis, Maryland, dedicated to protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, one of the most vulnerable places in the nation to rising seas and climate change. With global calls to protect 30% of land by 2030 as a climate solution, Chesapeake Conservancy uses artificial intelligence and groundbreaking data to conserve landscapes vital to the Bay’s health and its cultural heritage. Read More…

Sarah Killian, Special Assistant to the President & CEO

As special assistant to the president & chief executive officer, Sarah Killian supports the president and chief executive officer of Chesapeake Conservancy in pushing forth our strategic plan goals, key partnerships and the work of the Conservancy. She also serves as liaison to the Board of Directors, facilitating board communication and meetings. Her past work includes serving the president of a living roof and living wall company; community organizing in Massachusetts, Colorado, and Virginia; and managing guest relations for a New York-based fine dining restaurant group. Read more…

EJ Amyot, Chief Operating Officer

EJ Amyot serves as the chief operating officer of the Chesapeake Conservancy and will focus on advancing the organization’s mission and operational planning.

Amyot brings over 18 years of nonprofit operations experience, having most recently served as vice president of operations at The Y in Central Maryland, one of the largest YMCA affiliates in the United States. Amyot developed and supported organizational strategy, policy, financial health, philanthropy and culture to advance the mission of the Y. He oversaw a $41 million operating budget that spread over 12 Y Family Centers across Central Maryland and built community-centric strategic partnerships and boards that focused on the organization’s core values of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Read More…

Mark Conway, Executive Vice President of External Affairs

As Executive Vice President of External Affairs, Mark Conway oversees the organization’s activities in the areas of government relations and community support. He works closely with the president and CEO and the board of directors to provide strategic direction and help the team accomplish the organization’s mission.

Previously, Conway was the executive director for Baltimore Tree Trust where he was responsible for expanding programs and securing $2.7 million from grants, corporations, individual funding and earned revenue. Read More…

Jody Hedeman Couser, Senior Vice President of Communications

A native of Annapolis, Jody Hedeman Couser oversees the Conservancy’s public and media relations. Previously, Couser was principal of River Bay Communications, LLC and press secretary for a Maryland gubernatorial candidate. She served on the cabinet for Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens as director of communications, as public information officer for the American Medical Association (AMA), director of communications and development for the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) and as production manager at The Kamber Group. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Roanoke College and a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University. She recently served as co-chair of the Maryland Commission for Climate Change Education, Communication and Outreach Work Group. Couser lives in Annapolis with her husband and two daughters, Labrador retriever and Caribbean potcake rescue dog. She enjoys traveling, boating on the Chesapeake Bay and has a knack for finding arrowheads.

Matthew Provost, Senior Vice President of Development and Business Strategy

As senior vice president of development and business strategy, Matthew Provost leads our fundraising efforts and outreach with a focus on strategic partnerships, foundations and corporate donors. Most recently, Provost served as vice president, strategic partnerships at the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service (NPS). In this role, he supported the Office of the President and worked closely with NPS leadership to explore innovative partnerships, strategies and business models to effect positive change across the national park system. Previously, Provost spent four years on the NPF corporate partnerships team working on a variety of sponsorship, licensing and cause-marketing ventures. Prior to joining NPF, he held numerous marketing, media and development positions at Fox Sports Media Group and the Los Angeles Dodgers. An avid traveler, he has visited more than 50 countries and dreams of visiting all 419 national park units in his lifetime. Provost lives in Annapolis with his two children.

Ellen Gardner, Chief Financial Officer

As chief financial officer, Ellen Gardner is responsible for the financial operations and reporting of Chesapeake Conservancy. She is a certified public accountant with over three decades of not-for-profit leadership experience in organizational strategy, financial forecasting, budgeting and grant accounting. Most recently, Gardner was the CFO at Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a global membership association. Previously, she held positions of COO and CFO for Community Connections Inc., a nonprofit organization providing comprehensive mental health care and residential services. Earlier in her career she worked at the University of Maryland Baltimore County as the associate director of the bookstore and adjunct accounting faculty. Gardner earned her bachelor’s degree in economics and management from Goucher College and earned her M.B.A. from Loyola College. Gardner met her husband Wes on a sailboat in Annapolis, and they have lived in the area for over 40 years. They raised their children to be responsible stewards of the Chesapeake as they enjoyed camping, sailing, kayaking, fishing and wakeboarding. Gardner and Wes have been active volunteers in the community including the USNA Midshipmen Family Sponsor program and the Montessori International Children’s House. Gardner currently serves as a board member for SECU and the co-captain of three USTA tennis teams.