Kris Hoellen is senior vice president and chief conservation officer for the National Aquarium. Over the course of her environmental career, she has “sat in all seats”—having worked for environmental regulators, regulated organizations, a research institution (the National Academy of Sciences), a major environmental contractor, an NGO, and an environmental television show before joining the Aquarium. These diverse experiences have given her a unique perspective and an enhanced ability to form collaborative partnerships necessary for solving complex environmental challenges.
As senior vice president and CCO, Kris is responsible for leading and directing the National Aquarium’s conservation initiatives and programs, including the organization’s field, education and advocacy initiatives, as well as the Seafood Smart program. Her goal is to ensure the Aquarium's conservation initiatives are relevant, meaningful, durable and impactful. In order to achieve this goal, she intends for the Aquarium to integrate environmental stewardship, social justice, and sustainable economic development considerations into its programs and projects forming partnerships to achieve comprehensive solutions. Beyond Baltimore, the Chesapeake Bay and the Mid-Atlantic, Kris is focused on building the organization's conservation team and establishing key alliances with both the public and private sectors in order for the Aquarium to scale its conservation programs nationally and even globally as it seeks to effectuate change and protect special aquatic places.
Before joining the Aquarium, Kris served as senior vice president of sustainable programs for The Conservation Fund in Arlington, Virginia, a national non-profit organization chartered under the dual mission of protecting our nation’s land and water resources and promoting sustainable economic development. While there, she directed the sustainable programs business unit, which was dedicated to solving conservation and economic challenges, led the mitigation solutions program and served on the executive committee directly advising the CEO.
Her previous professional experience also includes leading and directing sustainable and environmental programs for organizations such as the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials and the URS Corporation (now AECOM).
She currently serves on several environment-focused boards, councils and committees for a variety of organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the Maryland State Highway Administration, and the Wildlife Habitat Council.
Kris holds a Master of Science degree in environmental science and policy from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Emory University in Atlanta.