Partnership Voices

"Contemplando la Laguna Seca" - Reserva de Salinas y Aguada Blanca, Arequipa. Una vicuña solitaria en la Reserva de Salinas y aguada blanca cerca a la Laguna seca. © Julio Raúl Zegarra Enríquez/TNC Photo Contest 2019

Hugo Contreras

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ● Director of Water Security ● Latin American Region

Contreras is responsible for designing the water strategy in the Latin American region and leading its implementation in the different countries where TNC is present. Hugo Contreras has a degree in Economics from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). He holds a master’s degree in Environmental Economics and Natural Resources from the University College of London (UCL), and has degrees in Senior Management, in Strategic Management of Public Institutions, and in Environmental Economics from Institutions such as the Pan American Institute of High Business Management (IPADE), the World Bank, and Berkeley University.

Silvia Benitez

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ● Water Security Manager ● Latin American Region

Benitez worked for more than 18 years on the management of natural resources, biodiversity conservation, and watershed management. She joined The Nature Conservancy in 2001, and through her years of work has dedicated herself to ensuring a science-based approach, specializing in ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation. Silvia has a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from the San Francisco University of Quito, Ecuador, and a master’s degree in Environmental Management from Yale University. She is the co-author of several publications on ecosystem services and water funds.

Paulo Petry

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ● Water Security Senior Scientist ● Latin American Region

Petry is an experienced regional specialist with a proven record in the nonprofit management industry. He specializes in non-profit organizations, sustainable development, environmental issues, sustainability, and biodiversity. He is a strong support professional with a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a focus on Fisheries Sciences from Oregon State University. Petry specialized in environmental monitoring, watershed conservation, taxonomy and biogeography of neotropical freshwater fish. He is fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish and has a good command of German. He has participated in several international research projects and has collaborated with many academic and research institutions.

Jorge León Sarmiento

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ● Water Fund Specialist – Water Security Strategy ● Latin American Region

Jorge Leon is an ecologist who works for the Latin American Water Fund Alliance. His research areas of interest include improving scientific knowledge to perfect water security in metropolitan areas, expanding the monitoring network to identify the real impacts of natural infrastructure on enhancing water availability and quality, and mitigation of the effects of climate change. Contact:

Juan Sebastián Lozano

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ● Fresh Water Conservation Specialist ● Colombia

Lozano is an ecologist from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá with a master’s degree in Environmental Monitoring, Modeling and Management from King's College London. He was a researcher at the Javeriana University in modeling invasive plant species and the Red List of the Bird Species of Colombia for three years. He joined The Nature Conservancy in 2011 as a GIS specialist in ecosystem services, spending most of his time in the application of hydrological models to contribute to the establishment of Water Funds in several countries of South and Central America.

Melissa Boisson Portillo

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ● Communications Manager – Water Security Strategy ● Latin American Region

Boisson Portillo has over 19 years of professional experience working in the public and private sectors, nationally and internationally, including at Dow Chemical, Shell, the Embassy of Mexico in Washington D.C., the Mexican Embassy in Spain and the Agency for Agriculture, Livestock, and Fishing. Before joining TNC, she was a founding partner of the consulting firm CoBalance Sustainability S.C., which specialized in social responsibility and sustainability for business and civil society organizations. Boisson Portillo has participated as Independent Director of the ICA Business Council and other non-governmental organizations. She holds a BA in International Relations from the Universidad Iberoamericana and a Master of Science in Sustainable Development from ITESM. She is a member of Cohort XIV of the LEAD International program.

Alejandro Calvache

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ● Manager, Accelerator Project ● Latin American Region

Calvache is an Economist with a degree from the National University of Colombia in Bogotá and has a master's in Geography and Urban Development from the University of Paris III, Sorbonne, France. His primary research is on public-private partnerships for the management of water supply services. Calvache joined The Nature Conservancy in 2007 as Watershed Specialist and Water Fund Strategy Coordinator. Before that, he worked as a Senior Consultant in the Technology Park of Antioquia, Colombia, where he worked on the identification, design, and implementation of Clean Development Mechanism (MDL in Spanish) projects.

Samuel Barrêto

Water Security Conservation Manager ● TNC Brasil

Samuel Barrêto has 23 years of experience in the environmental field and joined The Nature Conservancy in Brazil in March 2014. He has a degree in biology from the State University of São Paulo, specializing in limnology (freshwater studies). He also holds a master’s degree in Sustainability from the Institute of Management Foundation (FIA), linked to the College of Economics and Business Administration (FEA) of the University of São Paulo (USP). Previously, he held the position of director for the Brazil Water Program and the Fresh Water for Life Project led by WWF. He also worked as Coordinator of the Pro-Tietê Center and Water Resources of the Fundação SOS Mata Atlântica and participated in the weekly public information radio program broadcast by Rádio Eldorado for two years. One of his main achievements was his active contribution to the development of the first National Water Resources Management Plan.

Gilberto Tiepolo

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ● Water Security Conservation Deputy Manager ● TNC Brasil

Tiepolo has more than 23 years of experience in evaluation, planning, implementation, monitoring, and management of environmental projects, 15 of which he has entirely dedicated to the implementation of natural infrastructure and market-based conservation strategies in The Nature Conservancy’s Brazil Conservation Program. Tiepolo leads a high-performance team to create and implement conservation models to increase governance, the financial model, and the science of Water Funds in Brazil. He is an exceptional communicator with great ability and talent to adapt to new situations and identify and develop new talent. Gilberto has a degree in Forest Sciences and a master’s degree in Environmental Conservation from the Federal University of Paraná.

Julián Cardona Vallejo

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ● Water Security Coordinator ● North of the Andes and Southern Central American Region

During most of his professional life, Vallejo has had the opportunity to work in the management of non-profit organizations and the implementation of innovative social and environmental projects. He is a Finance and International Relations professional with a degree from the Externado University of Colombia, with studies at Oxford University and the University of California at Davis in the administration of natural resources with emphasis on water, and of the School of Economy and Politics of London in public administration and public policies. Vallejo currently works as a water security coordinator for The Nature Conservancy, where he uses his academic training in natural resource management and experience in conservation finance.

Alberto Limo Segura

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ● Senior Fresh Water Specialist ● Peru

Segura currently works at The Nature Conservancy in the Water Strategy team in TNC Peru. He has over 18 years of experience in the public, private and civil society sectors. He has worked in the General Directorate of Climate Change and Desertification of the Ministry of the Environment, as Specialist and Coordinator in Soils and Water Management, when he obtained the approval of the National Strategy to Fight Desertification and Drought, and the agreement of the National Commission to Fight against Desertification and Drought in Peru. Alberto Limo is a lawyer from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru - PUCP. He has a post-graduate degree in Natural Resources from the University of Lima and various specializations. He is working on a thesis on socio-environmental conflicts in the field of water resources as part of his master’s degree in Environmental Development at the PUCP.

Aldo Cárdenas Panduro

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ● Project Manager and Water Funds Coordinator ● Peru

Cárdenas Panduro currently works at The Nature Conservancy as Project Manager and Water Funds Coordinator in Peru. Among his main achievements is having managed projects of climate-change adaptation and green infrastructure at International Cooperation. He has over 18 years of experience in the public, private, and NGO sectors. Aldo Cárdenas has a degree in Agricultural Engineer from the National Agrarian University "La Molina," with a master’s degree in International Water and Soil Management from the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands, and a specialization course in Adaptive and Integrated Watershed Management with emphasis on ecosystem services and climate change, in Chile.

Colin Herron

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ● Director, Fresh Water Program ● México and Northern Central American Region

Colin Herron heads TNC's water activities in three main areas: Water Funds, Sustainable Corporate Water Management, and supports projects that facilitate conservation on a larger scale. He has worked at TNC since August 2013. Previously, he was an advisor on water issues for the governments of Mexico, Turkey, and Japan, as well as for international organizations such as the World Water Council, the World Bank, the World Meteorological Organization, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In his previous position as Strategic Advisor in the National Water Commission of Mexico, Herron coordinated a Regional Dialogue on Water Policy and Climate-Change Adaptation, which among other advances, achieved the addition of water management in the Nairobi Work Program under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Hilda Hesselbach

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ● Chief Scientist, Fresh Water Program ● Mexico and Northern Central American Region

Hesselbach is a biologist specialized in Terrestrial Ecology. She has dedicated her career of more than 35 years to the conservation of nature, having worked in temperate forests, arid lands, tropical forests, pastures, and wetlands. Before joining The Nature Conservancy, she held various positions in the public, private, and civil society sectors such as the Ministry of Ecology of the State Government of Aguascalientes, CONANP, the Monitoring Network of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, CONABIO, CONACYT, CONAGUA, CONAFOR, SEMARNAT, the United Nations, the World Bank, among others. Hesselbach is currently Chief Scientist of the Water Security Program in Mexico and Northern Central American Region for TNC, where she mainly dedicates her work to outlining strategies for the design and establishment of Water Funds.