Staff

Faith Rivers James

Executive Director

Faith is a Mount Pleasant native who grew up in the historic Four Mile community East of the Cooper River. She has felt a connection to the landscape of the Lowcountry all her life, and witnessed firsthand the change that unbridled growth and development can have on our beloved environment. She has devoted her energy, expertise, and legal acumen to influence this conservation in pragmatic and entrepreneurial ways. Faith is a graduate of the Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, Dartmouth College, and Harvard Law School. Following schooling, she launched a legal career in Washington, D.C. Soon after, she returned to South Carolina and served as Executive Director of the South Carolina Bar Foundation. There, she was fortunate to be able to work in partnership with the Coastal Community Foundation to launch the Heirs’ Property Preservation Project. Later, her law teaching career led her to focus on property and environmental issues at Vermont Law School and Elon University School of Law, where she served as Associate Dean of experiential learning and leadership. Faith returned home to the Lowcountry in 2018 to serve as the Assistant Provost for Leadership and Chair of the Department of Leadership Studies at The Citadel, where she taught the next generation of our state’s leaders. Throughout her work and life, Faith has always prioritized the conservation of natural resources, protecting our rural landscapes, and preserving communities, and is grateful to have the opportunity to do so in the role of Executive Director of the Coastal Conservation League. Faith has served as Executive Director since August 2022.

Lily Abromeit

Director of Communications & Public Relations

Having spent her life as a born and bred Midwesterner, Lily grew up learning about and caring for the Plains. Now as a Charleston resident she is excited to play a role in protecting the Lowcountry’s habitat and varied ecosystems. Lily has focused her career on communicating about important issues, focusing on highlighting solutions. She finds it most rewarding to share stories of climate solutions with the general public, inspiring action. Prior to joining the Conservation League, Lily worked for Playa Lakes Joint Venture, focused on habitat conservation and water management in the Great Plains. She also spent time at an international women’s nonprofit, and has worked as a reporter.

Taylor Allred

Energy & Climate Program Director

Taylor Allred recently hit the ground running in his new role as Energy & Climate Program Director, starting on Earth Day 2024, and looks forward to serving as an advocate for state and local policies that help to advance a clean energy transition as quickly and equitably as possible.

Mike Barrett

Driver & Warehouse Associate

Emma Berry

Communities & Transportation Project Manager

Emma has considered the Lowcountry home since 2014, and plays an active role in ensuring that it is preserved for the next generation through her role as Communities and Transportation Project Manager, coming to the Coastal Conservation League in the summer of 2023. She builds relationships with stakeholders and communities, and works on projects to protect their character, history, and cultural identities, all vital elements to our coastal environment.

Brooke Blosser

Land, Water & Wildlife Project Manager

When Brooke came to the Lowcountry in 2018 for graduate school, she was introduced to the Coastal Conservation League through local efforts to renourish Crab Bank, and was quickly drawn to the organization's mission. Brooke joined as the Land, Water, and Wildlife Project Manager in fall of 2023, coordinating with partners and representatives locally and statewide on outreach and communications. In her role, she enjoys connecting with community members and residents to exchange knowledge in support of conservation issues.

Leslie Bogstad

CRM Administrator

Leslie became part of the Coastal Conservation League team in spring of 2023, and has been a Charleston local most of her life, growing up with a passion for outdoor activities and conserving resources for the next generation. In her role of CRM Administrator, Leslie maintains the Conservation League's contact and donor database, helping to deliver important communications to a range of interested audiences. She enjoys working across departments to achieve organization-wide goals.

MJ Campbell

GrowFood Carolina Sales & Marketing Account Manager

Born and raised right here in the Lowcountry, MJ comes to GrowFood Carolina in hopes to help bridge the gap between restaurants and growers. Having worked with GrowFood for a decade as a chef, she is no stranger to the mission of putting fresh and local produce on tables. Now as Sales and Marketing Account Manager, she will build relationships with chefs, guide them in purchasing, and grow new accounts. In her own words, MJ is ready to take the apron off and try a new approach to making a difference in the community through food. She looks forward to seeing the people and story behind produce while on farm visits, and connecting chefs with seasonal products to optimize their menus.

Amy Carter

Interim Development Director

Amy was born and raised in the Lowcountry and holds degrees in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston and a Masters in Environmental Management from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. She previously worked as Chief Advancement Officer for Lowcountry Land Trust and Director of Development and Marketing for Charleston Parks Conservancy. She also spent several years in Washington, D.C. at the National Ocean Service and in Santa Cruz, California managing conservation, philanthropy, and marketing programs for the Planning and Conservation League Foundation and Island Conservation. A native of Colleton County, South Carolina, Amy grew up exploring the fields, forests, marshes, and beaches of the South Carolina Lowcountry and developing a love for its wild landscapes, plants, and animals.

Emily Cedzo

Director of Conservation Programs & Policy

Emily joined the Coastal Conservation League in 2016. She's a North Carolina native with a Master of Environmental Management and certificate in Community-Based Environmental Management from Duke University's Nicholas School. Emily began her career with the Conservation League by starting as a project manager and eventually directing the Land, Water & Wildlife program for a number of years. In her current role, she enjoys working with all of the conservation programs and field offices that make up her team. While this position means she wears a lot of hats now, her favorite area of work remains beachfront management and working to protect South Carolina's coastline.

Riley Egger

Land, Water & Wildlife Program Director

A native Texan, Riley came to the Conservation League in 2020 and has a focus on water quality and wildlife issues. She previously worked at the Southern Environmental Law Center where she focused on regional clean water campaigns. Before relocating to the Lowcountry, she earned a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Animal Behavior at the University of Texas at Austin. Outside of work you can find her falling down on rollerblades, brewing kombucha, or at the beach.

Renee Elek

Executive Assistant & Board Liaison

Renee was born and raised in Southern California and recently moved to South Carolina with her husband and two young sons. Renee’s background evolved with the ever-changing economy as she went from obtaining her Associate’s Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design, and working in architectural firms, to working in law firms, to a quality control manufacturing company, to a local municipality.  Renee and her husband wanted to move closer to family and have a slower-paced lifestyle, and they love South Carolina. Renee wanted to join the Coastal Conservation League because she loves South Carolina and appreciates the League’s mission. Renee is proud to tell her family where she is employed and looks forward to a long future here with the League. In their free time, Renee and her family enjoy spending quality time together, the outdoors, and exploring. Renee especially enjoys cooking, reading and loves animals.

Trapper Fowler

North Coast Project Manager

Trapper is a Horry County native. He holds a B.S. in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University as well as an M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Clemson University. Working as a field biologist instilled a great appreciation for the less charismatic species such as reptiles, amphibians, and carnivorous plants, as well as the management tools used to maintain their habitat like prescribed fire. Trapper hopes to use his field-based knowledge to make positive change in the North Coast. He loves spending time with his family including his dogs, collecting vinyl records, grilling out, paddling, and camping.

Elizabeth Gibson

Human Resources Director

Elizabeth comes to the league with a tenured career in human resources in the restaurant and healthcare fields. She has lived in many places (including other countries) but has always loved the beach and is excited to call Charleston her home. She holds 2 bachelor’s degrees from Duquesne University in International Business and Spanish and earned her Master’s in Business Administration from Kansas State University. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family doing any outdoor activity from camping, mountain biking, and hiking to just hanging out at the beach.

Paul Haire

Warehouse Operations Manager

Paul is originally from upstate South Carolina but has called Charleston home since 2001. His deep passion for connecting people and food led him to work in the food and beverage industry and grocery retail for over 20 years before joining the team at GrowFood Carolina. In his spare time, Paul enjoys listening to and playing music, exploring new recipes and restaurants, and spending time with his family.

Rachel Hawes

Coastal Stewardship & Engagement Manager

Rachel is a Charleston native with her B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from the University of Georgia and her M.S. in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston. After spending some time overseas, Rachel came home and put to work her passion for conserving South Carolina’s marine resources. Prior to joining the Conservation League, Rachel worked for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources as well as for The Nature Conservancy in South Carolina. When away from work, Rachel enjoys traveling, surfing, fishing, camping, and hiking.

Alexander Keesler

GrowFood Carolina Sales & Marketing Assistant

Alex joined the GrowFood Carolina team in 2023 as the Sales and Marketing Assistant after graduating college with goals to work in conservation. He quickly resonated with GrowFood's ambition to sustain communities by bringing in local produce and donating to food banks and school programs.

Austin Lucas

GrowFood Carolina Program Coordinator

Austin is originally from Hagerstown, Maryland. He attended Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts in Charlotte, North Carolina. After a decade in the Outer Banks and working with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms in Hawaii, he moved to Charleston to further his culinary aspirations.

Matt Mays

Driver & Warehouse Associate

Grant McClure

South Coast Project Manager

Grant McClure is from Charleston, South Carolina. He holds an undergraduate degree from Wofford College in English & Environmental Studies. He received his Master's Degree in Wildlife & Fisheries Resources from Clemson in May 2022. Grant currently resides in Beaufort, SC where he enjoys fly fishing and spending time outside with his family.

Merrill McGregor

Director of Government Relations

Merrill joined the League in 2009 after working in fields of International Healthcare Policy Investment and Executive Recruiting. She is a graduate of the College of Charleston, where she focused her studies on International Business, Spanish and Portuguese.

Amy Meola

Annual Giving Manager

Amy is a Jersey Shore native with a B.A. in Print and Video Communications and minor in Art from Arcadia University. After gaining experience in journalism and social media/website management, she relocated to Charleston to join AmeriCorps and fell in love with the Lowcountry. She came to the Conservation League in 2021 and enjoys traveling, eating local food, and spending time in nature with her soon-to-be husband and her dog, Poppy.

Mike Mistler

Controller

Mike has worked with Carolina Youth Development Center and the South Carolina Aquarium where he held senior financial positions.  Mike has an MBA from the UNC Charlotte, an MA from the University of North Carolina, and a BS from University of Missouri. 

Benton Montgomery

Director of GrowFood Carolina

Hailing from Newberry, SC, Benton is a proud USC graduate, veteran of the music industry, WWOOFer in Costa Rica, and the hardest working man in local produce. Benton is committed to supporting local growers and providing high quality products to our customers.

Emmi Palenbaum

Communications Manager

Growing up in upstate South Carolina, Emmi found inspiration early on from nature and has used that to drive her career. After receiving dual bachelor's degrees in English and Strategic Communications from High Point University, Emmi moved to Charleston in 2020 to pursue her M.S. in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at the College of Charleston. With a focus on coastal resilience, science communication, and policy, Emmi entered a career of storytelling and engagement that led her to the Coastal Conservation League in 2023.

Shawn Parks

Driver & Warehouse Associate

Jamie Roschal

Office Administrator

Jamie lived many different places growing up in a military family but has spent the majority of her life in the Lowcountry. She held various administrative and logistical management roles before joining the Conservation League team in 2018. Outside work, Jamie loves spending time with her 3-year-old daughter. She also enjoys painting, attending local festivals, and spontaneous adventures.

Becky Ryon

North Coast Office Director

Becky grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida and was fortunate to be surrounded by natural beauty. Unfortunately, like South Carolina, the diverse wildlife and habitats were constantly threatened by unrestrained development. Her childhood in Florida, young adulthood in North Carolina, and previous environmental advocacy work in Richmond with the Virginia League of Conservation Voters have instilled a limitless appreciation for the wild wonders of the Southeast and a desire to preserve them for future generations. Becky is working to build a more resilient South Carolina and to protect our natural resources.

Rebekah Spaid

Farm Outreach Coordinator

Rebekah is a recent transplant from the mountains of West Virginia to the lowcountry of Charleston. In her role as Farm Outreach Coordinator, she brings a wealth of agricultural expertise and a passion for fostering sustainable practices in farming communities. Her roots in agriculture were sown on her grandfather’s farm, cultivating a lifelong commitment to the industry.

Deirdre Tanner

GrowFood Carolina Supply Chain Manager

Deirdre is originally from Lexington, South Carolina and has lived in the Charleston area since the mid-1990s. She grew up working with local farmers through her family’s grocery business in Pelion and is happy to be able to continue to support local farmers and businesses through GrowFood Carolina. 

Becca Watson

Farm Outreach Manager

Becca holds a B.A. in Political Science from Clemson University. After graduation, she returned to her family's farm, Watsonia Farms, to manage its food safety program before accepting a position at GrowFood Carolina. Outside of work, she likes to try new restaurants in town, play tennis and go to the beach.

Jessie White

South Coast Office Director

Jessie joined us in March 2020 after seven years with the South Carolina Environmental Law Project. She grew up in Charlottesville, VA and attended the University of Virginia, where she obtained bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Thought and Practice and Psychology before pursuing her J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She enjoys cooking, traveling, kayaking, spending time with her dog, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Anna Ware

GrowFood Carolina Sales & Marketing Director

Anna is a Charleston native who joined GrowFood Carolina in 2021, and recently took on the role of Sales and Marketing Director. As a foodie who wanted to make a positive impact through her career, Anna found the perfect fit at GrowFood in 2021! She works with chefs and restaurants, top accounts in Charleston and Savannah, and with foodhub partners. One of her favorite parts of working at GrowFood is seeing the complete life cycle of food - from warehouse delivery to the restaurant plate!


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[email protected] · 843.723.8035

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