Theresa Pierno
Executive Vice President
National Parks Conservation Association

Theresa Pierno, executive vice president of the nearly 100-year-old National Parks Conservation Association, will discuss in her keynote address the skills nonprofit communicators will need to compete to get their messages heard, with communications lessons from the recent government shutdown.

Theresa Pierno has provided strategic direction for the National Parks Conservation Association’s national programs and policy initiatives, as well as communications, membership outreach, and government affairs activities, since 2009. From May to November 2013, she served as acting president of the organization.

Previously, as senior vice president for regional operations, Theresa strengthened NPCA’s regional and field capacity to effectively engage and partner with park advocates, local governments, and organizations nationwide. She also led the organization’s Restoring Healthy Parks campaign--inspiring congressional action to improve national park air quality and wildlife protections, and to address the effects of global warming on national parks.

Theresa joined NPCA in October 2004 having served as a vice president for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and Maryland executive director since 1999. In her role at CBF she managed a staff of 60 with a budget of $5 million and was responsible for implementing policies and advocating for Bay protection and restoration strategies throughout the 64,000 square-mile watershed. Some of her accomplishments include negotiating a permit that significantly reduced the pollution from a large industrial polluter; playing a key role in passing legislation that prohibits dumping of dredged material in the Bay’s open waters; and representing CBF in the media and on several Governor-appointed task forces.

Prior to her start at CBF, Theresa was part of the executive staff at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. As director of Education, Bay Policy, Growth and Resource Conservation, she was responsible for the implementation of the Smart Growth initiatives for the Department. Theresa played a critical role in the passage of Maryland’s Smart Growth and Rural Legacy Initiative and led the Department’s outreach effort for the Rural Legacy Program.

Before joining the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Theresa served as an elected official on the Harford County Council. While on the Council, she was the lead sponsor for several land-use and environmental legislative initiatives. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Baltimore and is a fellow with the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University having graduated from the Senior Executive State and Local Government Program.