Melinda Pruett-Jones, Executive Director, American Ornithological Society

Melinda Pruett-Jones is the Executive Director of the American Ornithological Society, where she recently led two of the oldest and most influential professional societies devoted to the scientific research and conservation of birds through a successful merger.  Melinda has over thirty-five years of experience working in mission-based organizations committed to conservation action, formal and informal science education, and research excellence.  She is recognized for her achievements in leading organizations through periods of substantial growth and change, engaging and diversifying key constituent groups and audiences, and catalyzing professional partnerships and collaboration at multiple scales.  Prior to joining the society, Melinda served as the Executive Director of Chicago Wilderness and was the founding chair of the Metropolitan Greenspaces Alliance, a national network of regional conservation coalitions leading the national dialogue on urban conservation and offering effective models for other metro regions.  Prior to joining Chicago Wilderness, she served as Director of Major Gifts for The Field Museum of Natural History, as VP for Applied Research for the Chicago Zoological Society/ Brookfield Zoo, and Academic Coordinator for the University of California’s Natural Reserve System at the UC San Diego campus.  She serves on a number of regional and national committees and boards.  Melinda is an ornithologist by training, but her current research interests focus on the life cycles and collectivity of networks and member-based organizations.