Ceara Donnelley, Chair
Ceara graduated summa cum laude from Yale with a BA in History and received her JD from Yale Law School. She has worked at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, the Brennan Center for Justice, the Clinton Foundation and the World Policy Institute. Ceara currently serves as Vice Chair and Strategic Counsel for the Center for Humans and Nature (CHN)—a not-for-profit ideas organization founded by her late father, philosopher and ethicist Strachan Donnelley. Ceara sits on the board of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, which supports land conservation and artistic vitality in Chicago and the Lowcountry. Though a native and devoted New Yorker, Ceara recently moved to the Lowcountry with her husband and two young children.
Katharine Hastie, Vice Chair
Katharine was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama and graduated with a degree in Physics from University of the South at Sewanee and an M.S. in Environmental Systems Engineering from Clemson University. Katharine currently serves as a Managing Partner of the CLAENE Group, a small environmental consulting firm headquartered in Charleston with a focus on assisting clients with budgeting and financial reporting for environmental liabilities. She previously worked for the Environmental Protection Agency Region 4, followed by Booz Allen Hamilton supporting various federal clients around the country on environmental issues. She formerly served on the board of YesCarolina and assisted with fundraising for Lowcountry Local First’s new farmer incubation program. Katharine lives in Charleston with her husband, Winslow, and their two children.
Kent Griffin, Treasurer
Kent Griffin is the Managing Director of PHICAS Investors, which provides investment and strategy services. Kent previously served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of BioMed Realty, a San Diego-based real estate investment trust focused on life science real estate in the United States and the United Kingdom, which was acquired by Blackstone in 2016. Previously he worked as an investment banker for JP Morgan in New York and San Francisco and Raymond James in St. Petersburg. Kent began his career with Arthur Andersen as a C.P.A. A native Floridian, Kent received a B.S. from Wake Forest University and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Kent currently serves on the Board of Directors of TIER REIT (NYSE: TIER) a Dallas-based real estate investment trust focused on commercial office properties and on the Board of Advisors for Pilot Mountain Ventures an early stage venture firm. He also serves on the Charleston County School District’s Audit and Finance Committee and on various boards for the Wake Forest University School of Business, the Wood Center for Real Estate Studies at Chapel Hill and Charleston Waterkeeper. Kent lives in Mount Pleasant with his wife and two children.
John Thompson, Secretary
John Thompson spent twenty-five years as an investment banker in New York before retiring to write full time. He lives with his wife and daughter and divides his time between Charleston, S.C., and a mountain home in Hawley, Pa. Thompson is actively involved in his local community and serves on a number of non-profit boards. In those capacities, he has chaired the board of one of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals and served as interim headmaster of a private school. He currently serves as Chairman of the Charleston Education Network. He chairs the Investment Committee for the Medical University of South Carolina Foundation and serves on its Executive Committee, and he is on the National Advisory Board of Donors Choose, a charity selected by Amazon.com in 2005 as America’s Most Innovative Non-Profit.
Johnston C. Adams
John was born and raised in Memphis, TN and graduated with a degree in Government from the University of Virginia. He then attended naval officer candidate school in Newport RI, received his commission, and was a deep sea diving officer on a rescue salvage ship. The next 25+ years were spent in senior management in the corporate world in industries including manufacturing, food processing, food wholesale & retail, distribution and the automotive aftermarket. He retired as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Autozone, Inc. and has served on numerous public, private and not for profit boards. He is or was on the boards of WD-4O Co., Tractor Supply Co., Keebler Food Company and Exego (Australia) and continues to be a senior advisor to Unitas Capital (Hong Kong). John served on the board of managers at UVA and was a trustee for the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, Lemoyne Owen College and the Hutchison School. John and his wife, Scott, live in Pawley’s Island, SC and love all things outdoors. They have three children and three grandchildren.
Joel Anderson Berly, III
Andy is a 1978 graduate of Clemson University with a B.S. in Zoology and obtained his law degree from The Wake Forest University School of Law 1981. From 1981-1984, he was an associate at the law firm of Hyman Morgan & Brown in Florence S.C and in 1984 he moved to the United States Department of Justice in Washington, DC where he was a trial attorney in the Civil Division, Torts Branch, Environmental and Occupational Disease Litigation Group. In 1986, he joined the law firm of Blatt and Fales in Charleston S.C. which became Ness Motley. He represented plaintiff-building owners in asbestos contamination cases. He also helped form, coordinate, and lead the firm’s new tobacco team who represented approximately 20 states that brought suit against the tobacco industry. Andy is now retired and currently serves on Roper St. Francis Hospital Foundation Board, and the Board for the Preservation Society of Charleston. He also served on the Clemson University Foundation Board, was Chairman of The Robert J. Rutland Institute for Ethics at Clemson University, and served on The Law School Board of Visitors Board at Wake Forest University.
Dan is a Chartered Financial Analyst, President of the Board the Atlanta Society of Financial Analysts, and President of the Board and President of Investment Advisory Association. Dan serves or has served on the Boards of Habitat for Humanity Atlanta, the High Museum of Art, the Low Country Institute, the Board of Visitors of the Georgia Conservancy, the Board of American Rivers, the Board of Park Pride, the Board of the Trust for Public Land, and the Board of the Nature Conservancy. He has also served on the Emory University Brain Health Center Executive Advisory Council and the Davidson College Investment Committee.
William “Bill” Brenizer
Bill was born in Charlotte, North Carolina and moved to Concord, Massachusetts at age ten. He returned south for college at UNC where he earned a BA degree in English, followed by an MBA in Finance at UPenn’s Wharton School. Bill spent the next forty years in New York, working as an investment banker, primarily at Dillon Read and its successor firms. Coincident with retirement, Bill and his wife, Margi, moved to Charleston early in 2018. They have three sons in North Carolina and California. Bill’s interest in the Conservation League was sparked by his 20-year tenure on the Board of the Nantucket Land Council, an environmental organization whose mission and activities are remarkably similar to those of the Conservation League.
Cynthia “Cynnie” Kellogg
Cynnie is a lifelong resident of Short Hills, NJ, and has been a member of the Short Hills Garden Club for 30 years. She served for 20 years on the board of the NJ Conservation Foundation and has been deeply involved in conserving farm and forest land in New Jersey. Cynnie and her husband Peter are longtime supporters of the Coastal Conservation League and have a long history of supporting land conservation efforts. Cynnie and Peter are winter residents of Yeaman’s Hall.
W. Jefferson “Jeff” Leath
Jeff Leath is the Sr. Partner of Leath, Bouch, and Seekings, LLP, in Charleston, SC. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and the National Law Center of the George Washington University in Washington, DC. He was previously an attorney with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, and has been a partner in two other Charleston law firms, prior to beginning his own firm in 1998. Jeff has been performing Pro Bono legal work for the Coastal Conservation League for the past several years. He was involved together with the Southern Environmental Defense Center in the ultimately successful workout of the challenge to the South Carolina Ports Authority’s North Charleston permit, and is currently involved with the Center in a challenge to the Awendaw annexation of tracts abutting the Francis Marion National Forest. He has been involved in the restoration of more than six historic downtown properties and has made frequent appearances before regulatory bodies. Jeff is a longtime downtown Charleston resident with his wife Patti and their twin boys. He also has four daughters, three of whom live in Charleston.
Pierre began working in media/communications in 1987 as a photographer and editor of television news at KOAA (NBC) in Colorado Springs, Co. In 1989 he moved to Washington, D.C. and joined the National Geographic Society as a film editor in the television division. He next went to work for The Washington Post, where he wrote on the business desk and served as a copyeditor for the editorial page. In 1994 he returned home to Charleston to join the family business at Evening Post Publishing Co. He spent five years as an editorial writer for The Post and Courier under Barbara Williams before moving into business operations and heading the company’s subsidiary newspaper division. In 2004, upon the death of his father, Peter Manigault, Pierre was named Chairman of the Board of Evening Post Publishing. He is actively involved in the management of White Oak Forestry Co., a subsidiary of Evening Post that owns 17,000 acres of timberland in Charleston and Georgetown Counties. He is also a founder and co-owner of Garden & Gun magazine. Pierre is on the executive committee of the InterAmerican Press Association, is a founding trustee and current chairman of the American College of the Building Arts and is a founder of the S.C. Maritime Foundation, which built the schooner, Spirit of South Carolina.
He is a member of the College of Charleston’s School of Business Board of Governors, a trustee of the Middleton Place Foundation and a trustee of Magnolia Cemetery. He has previously served on the boards of the Historic Charleston Foundation, the Lowcountry Open Land Trust, the Gibbes Museum, the Preservation Society of Charleston, the Historic Rice Fields Association, the Palmetto Conservation Foundation, the International Crane Foundation and the National Steeplechase Foundation. He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas (1984) and Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va. (1980). He lives downtown and has two daughters: India and Gigi.
Jeremiah “Jerry” Milbank III
Jeremiah Milbank III joined Silvercrest Asset Management as a Managing Director as a result of Milbank Winthrop & Co.’s merger into Silvercrest. He founded Milbank Winthrop & Co. in 1980, and has worked for over 30 years in investment businesses, including Fahnestock Investment Advisory Group and the former family office of Milbank & Co. He also served at the White House and in the State Department. Mr. Milbank received an M.B.A. from Stanford, a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School and a B.A. from Trinity College. He is President and a director of Cypress Woods Corporation, a timber and farming company, and President and a director of the JM Foundation and the Milbank Foundation for Rehabilitation. He serves on the boards of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, The Herbert Hoover Foundation, and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts.
Margot Rose graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in English. After attending culinary school in Paris and working for several years in marketing for the food service industry, she switched gears to study horticulture at Temple University before moving to Charleston in 1995. She served on the Board of The Ethel Walker School in Simsbury Connecticut for twelve years, five as its president, and was very active in fundraising across the country. In South Carolina, she has served on the board of Historic Charleston Foundation, the School of the Building Arts and the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association, where she continues to serve on the Cruise Ship Task Force and as the organization’s Secretary. Margot is also a charter member of the Charleston Horticulture Society and served on the South Carolina State Museum Board commission as an appointee by Governor Jim Hodges. She currently serves on the Board of the Northeast Harbor Golf Club in Northeast Harbor, Maine. Margot and her husband, Boykin, split their time between Charleston and Maine, where they enjoy hiking in Acadia National Park, boating and whale watching. Margot is also an avid golfer, gardener, cook and photographer.
A native of Charleston, David received a BA in Economics from the University of Virginia in 1972 and in 1975 received a law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. David retired as Executive Vice President of the Ball Corporation in September 2011, at which time he and his wife, Ann, relocated to Spring Island, SC from Denver, CO. David spent 36 years with Ball Corporation—a supplier of packaging to food, beverage, and household products, customers of aerospace and other technology services primarily to the US government. Over the years David has served on a variety of non-profit boards, including hospital boards in Indiana and Colorado in addition to Community Foundations, United Way, Junior Achievement, and more. David currently serves on the Board of Xcel Energy, a supplier of electric power and natural gas services in eight Western and Midwestern states. David also serves on the board of managers of the South Carolina Historical Society. David and his wife Ann have two children and six grandchildren.
Steve was born in Montpelier, Vermont. As a son of an Army officer, he moved frequently. He graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1971 and a JD from Columbia University’s law school in 1974. His background includes working for the Council on Environment of New York City, Powell Goldstein Frazer and Murphy, and Hansell Post Brandon and Dorsey in Atlanta. He left to start the Atlanta office of a Chicago firm, Wildman Harrold Allen and Dixon, now Holland and Knight. In 1993, after almost 20 years of law practice, Steve left to become partner in a high profile real estate company from 1993-2005. His interest in real estate continues in Charleston and Western North Carolina with his company, Raven Cliff Company, LLC. Steve has served on the boards of the Midtown Business Association in Atlanta, Charleston Moves and the Sullivan’s Island Park Foundation. Steve served as Board Chair of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate. Steve lives in Charleston with his wife Suzan. He is an enthusiastic fly fisherman in both fresh and salt water, and a regular bike rider.