Leadership

Turner Foundation Staff & Program Management

Ted Turner

Chairman

Throughout his career, Ted Turner has received recognition for his entrepreneurial acumen, sharp business skills, leadership qualities, and his unprecedented philanthropy.

Whether in billboard advertisement, cable television, sports team ownership, sailing, environmental initiatives or philanthropy, Turner’s vision, determination, generosity and
forthrightness have consistently given the world reason to take notice.

Turner is chairman of the United Nations Foundation, which promotes a more peaceful,
prosperous and just world; co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a charitable organization
working to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; chairman
of the Turner Foundation, which supports efforts for improving air and water quality, developing
a sustainable energy future to protect the earth’s climate, safeguarding environmental health,
maintaining wildlife habitat protection, and developing practices and policies to curb population
growth rates; and co-founder of Ted's Montana Grill restaurant chain, which operates 44
locations nationwide.

Turner also serves as chairman of Turner Enterprises, Inc., which manages his business interests,
land holdings, and investments. Turner is the second largest individual landholder in North
America, with 2 million acres in 12 states and Argentina. His ranches are home to more than
55,000 bison and host a variety of environmental projects, including reforestation, renewable
energy, water resource management, and reintroduction of native species. Out of concern for
the health of his land and its species, Turner established the Turner Endangered Species Fund
in 1997 to conserve biodiversity by emphasizing restoration efforts of endangered or imperiled
species on Turner ranches and in partnership with state and federal natural resources agencies.

Laura Turner Seydel

Director

Laura Turner Seydel is a national environmental advocate and eco-living expert dedicated to creating a healthy and sustainable future for our children. Laura is chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation, which promotes environmental education and gardens in schools. She co-founded Mothers and Others for Clean Air and the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. She is passionate about keeping toxic chemicals out of consumer products, which can be especially harmful to pregnant women and children, and works diligently to educate the public about the effects of these toxins.  Laura is the recipient of numerous humanitarian and environmental awards, including the League of Conservation Voters Environmental Hero Award, the SCLC Drum Major for Justice Award, the Healthy Child Healthy World's 2010 Mom on a Mission for Service Award, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta's Legacy Award, the Andrew Young Foundation "Pass on Blessings" Award, and is a Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Legacy of Leadership Honoree.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Oglethorpe University, and is a contributing eco-editor and environmental speaker.

 

Robert Edward Turner IV (Teddy)

Director

Teddy Turner currently teaches high school economics at the Charleston Collegiate School in Charleston, South Carolina. Before that, Teddy served in numerous business capacities including promotions manager at Turner Home Entertainment, as well as project manager at Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc. After spending two years at CNN's Moscow bureau as a cameraman and editor, Teddy went on to develop and produce various programs involved in TBS's Soviet Union relations, including the Goodwill Games, the international athletic competition event created by Ted Turner to ease tensions during the Cold War through friendly sports competition between nations. Between June 1989 and June 1993, Teddy was president and skipper of Challenge America, Ltd., a campaign for the Whitbread "Around the World" sailboat race. Turner earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, in 1985.

 

Rhett Lee Turner

Director

A highly gifted filmmaker and photographer, Rhett Turner is president of Red Sky Productions, a state of the art international film production company focusing on documentary films for global television audiences and private corporations. He is well versed in every aspect of film production, and has served as a camera operator, photographer, producer and editor on several projects. Rhett launched Red Sky Productions in 1999 with the release of Pollinators in Peril, a well-received environmental documentary hosted by Peter Fonda. He has continued collaboration with the National Wildlife Federation on similar projects, including El Lobo: The Song of the Wolf. A graduate of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, Rhett's work has taken him to places such as Antarctica, Rwanda, North and South Korea, Galapagos, Greenland and Italy. He was in Amman, Jordan during the Gulf War, as well as on the ground in Russia during the fall of the USSR. Rhett's outlook on conservation was highly influenced by his father as he grew up with strict tenets of environmental stewardship, and has pursued these themes through his career. Rhett graduated from the Citadel with a degree in Business Administration. He has worked as an account executive for CNN in the Tokyo office.

Reed Beauregard Turner (Beau)

Director

Beau Turner is involved in numerous charitable organizations related to environmental conservation and preservation around the world. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Turner Endangered Species Fund and is the Director of Natural Resources and Biodiversity for Turner Enterprises, Inc., the land-holding group for the Turner Family. Among Beau’s challenges is the directive to balance a strong concern and ethic for environmental protection with several for-profit ventures, including the largest bison operation in the world. Beau’s greatest passion is getting young people outdoors and excited about nature and the environment. To help achieve this goal, he founded the Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center (BTYCC) near his home in Florida in 2008. The BTYCC is a place where children are encouraged to be active outdoors. They learn about conservation, interact with nature, acquire fishing, archery, hunting and camping skills and study alternative energy sources (the center is powered primarily by solar panels). Currently, Beau is working on growing the youth center concept and developing the BTYCC into a model for similar centers nationwide. Turner graduated from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina and also did graduate work at the University of Montana.

 

Sara Jean Turner Garlington (Jennie)

Director

Since Jennie Garlington was exposed to environmental issues at a young age, she launched a lifetime commitment to stewardship and sustainability. An accomplished television producer, Jennie parlayed her passion for the environment into her career. From 1994 to 2001 when she served as an associate producer at CNN Environment Unit's EARTH MATTERS. She produced stories on such timely issues as the proposed mine on the Okefenokee; the fate of the Ossabaw Island; the future of Cumberland Island; the migration of Right whales in Florida, and the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park. Environmental stewardship is central to Jennie's community involvement as well. Currently she is the executive producer and host of Eco Sense for Living, a television show she created to showcase cutting-edge environmental issues like 'nature-deficit disorder' and a wide range of subjects from energy efficient lifestyles to green jobs.

 

John Rutherford Seydel III

Trustee Elect

John Rutherford Seydel III is a sophomore studying political science and business at the University of Denver in Colorado.  He intends to follow a path similar to his father into the field of law with a special interest in environmental law.  John R.’s has a passion for politics and currently acts as an intern for the governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper.  John R. also participates in baseball at DU and recently joined Kappa Sigma to which his father and grandfather also belong.  In 2010 he graduated with an International Baccalaureate from Upper Canada College in Toronto Canada.

Florence Vasser Seydel

Trustee Elect

Florence Vasser Seydel is a senior at The Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia.  She is a member of the National Honor Society and a repeated recipient of the Lovett Scholars Award.  Her extracurricular activities at Lovett have included Varsity Cheerleading, Junior Varsity and Varsity Soccer, Vestry and the highly selective Peer Assistance and Leadership (PAL) program.  Additionally, she has served on Lovett’s environmentally conscious Green Team organization as Head of the Energy Sector, member of the Publicity Team and most recently acts as the Head of the Earth Week and E-Waste Committee.   The summer before her senior year, Vasser attended Brown University’s Pre-College Summer Program to study Etymology and then continued with her studies in Cadiz, Spain with the El Mundo Lengua Program.

Judy Adler

Senior Program Officer

Judy Adler is a Senior Program Officer for the Creating Solutions for Sustainable Living and Healthy Planet, Healthy Communities programs. She has been with the Turner Foundation since 2006. In this role, Judy recommends investments to the president and board to catalyze sustainable management of water and energy resources.

Judy has 19 years of environmental experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining the Turner Foundation, Judy worked for the State of Georgia’s Sustainability Division where she managed a team of engineers that helped businesses and institutions reduce their environmental footprint. She also worked as a project manager and project engineer with Metcalf & Eddy, Inc. (now AECOM) where she provided environmental services for industrial, municipal and federal clients.

Judy received a Bachelor of Engineering from Vanderbilt University summa cum laude and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Judy is the current Chair of the Board of Directors for the Institute of Georgia Environmental Leadership. She is a licensed professional engineer, LEED Green Associate, and a Certified Energy Manager.

Candy Champion

Grants Administrator/Office Manager

Candy Champion has been the Grants Administrator at the Turner Foundation, Inc. for over the past ten years. Her role at the foundation is to ensure the highest integrity of the data in her GIFTS database, and to help manage the grantmaking cycle from start to finish. From receiving grant applications, all the way to mailing reward checks, she is involved in almost every step of the giving process. Prior to joining the Turner Foundation, Candy worked at Hewlett Packard for over ten years.

Taryn Sherman

Program Officer

Taryn Murphy joined the Turner Foundation as a program officer in 2010 bringing with her ten years of environmental grantmaking experience. Taryn manages a portfolio that spans three of the foundation’s program areas including Creating Solutions for Sustainable Living, Healthy Planet, Healthy Communities, and Growing the Movement and includes work in reproductive health and family planning, environmental health, and environmental education. Taryn also manages the Turner Community Youth Development Initiative providing development and leadership opportunities for youth in priority communities. Prior to joining the Turner Foundation, Taryn was the Sr. Program Director at Captain Planet Foundation overseeing all aspects of the foundation’s program development and grantmaking. Taryn has a liberal arts degree from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

Ray Goodreau

Account & Human Resources Officer

Ray Goodreau joined the Turner Foundation as the Accounting and Human Resources Officer in 2010. Prior to joining TFI, he spent five years in the tax department of PricewaterhouseCoopers and two years as a manager in the SunTrust Bank corporate tax department. Ray earned both a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with a focus in Accounting and a Master of Accountancy degree from the University of Georgia. He is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the state of Georgia.

Lisa Weinstein

Program Officer

Lisa Weinstein is the Program Officer for the Safeguarding Habitat program. Prior to joining the Turner Foundation, Lisa worked for Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources as an Assistant Chief of Nongame Conservation. She also worked extensively in the environmental education field in both government and the non-profit sectors, as adjunct science faculty at a number of colleges and universities, and is a former president of the Georgia Environmental Education Alliance. Lisa has a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from Michigan State University and a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kristine Lohr Witherspoon

Director of Board Relations & Executive Assistant to the President

Kristine Witherspoon joined the Turner Foundation in 2002 and works dually as the Executive Assistant to the President and Director of Board Relations providing integral and comprehensive support to the Foundation's leadership. She works in a variety of roles as a writer, researcher, and planner for board and educational retreat opportunities including special events, and provides oversight on website and communications. For 6 years prior to joining the Turner Foundation, Kristine worked for the Turner Environment Division as a Writer/Producer for a documentary series called People Count which put a human face on social, environmental and population issues and aired on TBS/CNN. Kristine has a BA in Communication and a minor in Journalism from the University of Buffalo cum laude.

Michael Finley

President/Treasurer

Mike Finley joined the Foundation in 2001 as President and oversees approximately $10 million in grants annually. He helps implement strategic planning and partnership initiatives to broaden the impact and mission of the Foundation, such as conserving both private and public lands, establishing marine protected areas, and restoring endangered species. He also facilitates partnerships with trade associations like the National Restaurant Association and American Hotel and Lodging Association to establish sustainability practices.

Before joining the Turner Foundation Mr. Finley was Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park for almost 7 years whose legacy includes the reintroduction of wolves. He was also Superintendent of Yosemite National Park, Everglades National Park and Assateague Island National Seashore. His 32-year career managing natural and cultural resources with the National Park Service included experience in diverse geographical regions of the United States ranging from Alaska to Texas. He directly managed hunting and fishing activities on National Park Service lands and waters in Alaska, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, California, Montana, and Wyoming. In addition, he was a commissioned law enforcement ranger and investigator for 10 years.

Mr. Finley is a graduate of Southern Oregon University with a BS in Biology. He has received numerous awards including a National Park Service Superior Performance Award, Department of Interior Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service Awards, Conservationist of the Year from the Florida Audubon Society, a public service award for environmental protection from the Sierra Club, Distinguished Public Service Awards from American Rivers, Defenders of Wildlife, and Wyoming Wildlife Federation.

Rutherford Seydel

Secretary

Rutherford is a Partner at the law firm of Davis, Pickren, Seydel and Sneed. Seydel is co-founder and chairman of the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Inc.; chairman of the board of the School of Ecology at the University of Georgia; chairman of The Conservation Fund; and board member of GeorgiaConservation Voters, Vasser Woolley Foundation and Allconnect, Inc. He is an officer and board member of Paul B. and Mildred Seydel Foundation; an officer of United Nations Foundation, the Turner Foundation,  Turner Endangered Species Foundation, the Better World Fund, Inc., Ted's Montana Grill and Captain Planet Foundation. Seydel is a member of the board of directors for the Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory University School of Law as well as a member of the advisory board of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.