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…

Mark Conway, Executive Vice President of Programs

As executive vice president of programs, Mark oversees the organization’s programs, partnership with the National Park Service, and the work of the Conservation Innovation Center. 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 the programs at the Baltimore Tree Trust along with 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 oversees Chesapeake Conservancy’s public and media relations. Previously, Jody 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 of Arts in Political Science from Roanoke College and a Master in Political Management from The George Washington University. Jody lives in Annapolis with her husband and two daughters. 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, Matt leads our fundraising efforts and outreach with a focus on strategic partnerships, foundations and corporate donors. Most recently, Matt 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, Matt 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.

Reed Perry, Director of Government Relations

Reed Perry serves as Chesapeake Conservancy’s director of government relations, helping the organization to garner support for its conservation initiatives on the federal, state and local level. Reed began his career on Capitol Hill as an intern for the U.S. House of Representatives and then as a staff member with former U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski. After serving as a fellow for Chesapeake Conservancy in 2017, Reed studied environmental economics and policy at the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment where he completed his Master of Environmental Management. Reed’s longtime love for the Chesapeake began as a kid swimming, paddling and sailing on the Severn River.

Ellen Gardner, Chief Financial Officer

As chief financial officer, Ellen 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, Ellen was the CFO at Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a global membership association. Previously, she held positions of COO and CFO for Community Connections Inc., a non-profit 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. Ellen earned her bachelor’s degree in economics and management from Goucher College and earned her MBA from Loyola College.

Ellen 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. Ellen and Wes have been active volunteers in the community including the USNA Midshipmen Family Sponsor program and the Montessori International Children’s House. Ellen currently serves as a board member for SECU and the co-captain of three USTA tennis teams.