John Frawley, President and CEO
For the past 20 years, John Frawley has focused on successfully operating environmental organizations in the Bay Area. Starting in 1996, he transitioned Aquarium of the Bay into a flourishing, fully-accredited marine nature center. Under his guidance, Aquarium of the Bay became part of The Bay Institute in 2009, a nonprofit organization that has led watershed-related research, education, and advocacy programs for over 30 years. He now serves as President and CEO of both organizations.
Recognizing that an informed public is crucial to ensuring the health of the Bay for generations to come, John specializes in strategically directing organizations that have a widespread public impact and in raising the funds to support and expand organizational efforts. In addition to directing Aquarium of the Bay and The Bay Institute, he also manages other Bay Area conservation organizations, including the Sea Lion Center on PIER 39 (an opportunity to educate six million visitors and residents annually), and the EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park in Hunters Point (a landmark education center dedicated to environmental justice and green building techniques). Additionally, John orchestrated a working affiliation with The Bay Model in Sausalito (a waterfront education center that features a working hydraulic model of the entire San Francisco Bay), and shaped the San Francisco Bay Gala into one of the largest nonprofit celebrations of the Bay, annually bringing together 500 of the region's environmental, civic, and philanthropic leaders.
John currently sits on the Advisory Committee of San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, an agency that champions strategies to revitalize the Bay's tidal wetlands. He is a board member of the American Institute of Ethics, past president of the Fisherman's Wharf Merchants Association, a board member of the California Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and past board member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums - the governing body for more than 225 zoos and aquariums nationwide that reach over 180 million visitors annually. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Minnesota State University in Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services, with an emphasis on Wildlife and Resource Management.
Carrie Chen, Director of Education and Conservation
Carrie Chen, Aquarium of the Bay's Director of Education & Conservation, has 16+ years of experience with marine science education organizations around the country. Carrie provides leadership for Aquarium of the Bay's visitor/interpretive programs, K-12 school and teacher programs, fee-based youth programs, volunteers, high school interns, and sustainable seafood initiatives – along with supporting fundraising efforts, staff training, professional development, evaluation, and other related projects. Carrie is also very active within the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), serving as the Chair for the Conservation Education Committee since 2011 and leading the Association’s professional development course for Conservation Education Effective Program Design since 2011. Prior to joining Aquarium of the Bay, Carrie spent many years “island hopping” and developing her skills and passion in marine science education at organizations in the Florida Keys, Catalina Island and Hawaii. Since arriving to the Bay Area in 1999 and prior to joining the Aquarium team in 2004, Carrie held leadership positions at the Marine Science Institute and Lawrence Hall of Science, both of which involved developing and leading public education programs on marine science and San Francisco Bay.
Chris Connors, Operations Director
Chris Connors, Aquarium of the Bay's Director of Operations, has 20+ years of environmental based hospitality management and business development experience. He is a LEED Accredited and Certified Green Building Professional with 5+ years of green building design/construction and sustainable operations experience. As Vice President for a national food service and merchandising contractor, he developed his company’s first set of green business standards, including corporate purchasing, sustainable menus, waste diversion and green restaurant construction. Prior to joining Aquarium of the Bay, he worked as a consultant to help launch two green startups in the Bay Area. Chris sits on the Fisherman’s Wharf Board of Governors.
Bobbi Evans, Chief Financial Officer
Bobbi Evans joined the organization in 2006 with over 30 years' experience in accounting and finance. Bobbi has a proven track record across a variety of environments, including nonprofit, for profit, partnerships and joint-ventures. She was a partner in a small corporation in the East Bay during the 1990's, where she also served as secretary and treasurer. Currently, Bobbi serves as CFO for Aquarium of the Bay and The Bay Insitute, where she leverages her expertise in major financial software, excellent troubleshooting capabilities and people skills to direct all aspects of the finance department, including cash control, HR financial reporting, banking relationships, budgeting, and all accounting procedures. Bobbi has been instrumental in business development for The Bay Institute and Aquarium of the Bay, along wiht leasing and banking negotiations.
Silvia Huston, Director of Marketing and Communications
Silvia brings more than 12 years of marketing experience in the sports and sporting goods industries both on the agency and brand side. She started her career working with a sports marketing agency as account manager for TV and Sponsor Partners (Ford, adidas etc.) for the UEFA Champions League, a Pan-European soccer competition which crowns the European Champion and is the largest and most successful annually occurring sports property in the world. She then switched to the brand side and in her last position prior to moving to California, was head of Communication, PR and Sponsorship for a premium performance ski and outdoor clothing company in Switzerland. Her involvement has had a focus on setting global communication strategies, brand building, PR, sponsorship management and acquisition, event marketing, account management and social media. She holds a Bachelor of Honors degree in International Management from the University of Applied Sciences in Olten, Switzerland.
Christopher Low, Senior Director of Life Support Systems and Facilities
Christopher Low has worked for Aquarium of the Bay for 15 years. During his tenure, he has been responsible for project management of new exhibits, upgrades to life support and building systems, safety protocols and training, and filling in as Director of Operations and Husbandry during gaps in leadership in these departments. Prior to working at Aquarium of the Bay, Low was an active member of the United States Coast Guard stationed in Seattle and Monterey as a crew member on a Coast Guard Cutter and as a coxswain of a motor surf lifeboat. After his service in the USCG, Low worked on tug boats for 5 years in the capacity of engineer and operator in the San Francisco Bay. Low also is an artist working with found objects to create assemblages and shadow boxes.
Christina J. Slager, Director of Animal Care and Aquatic Exhibits
Christina Slager has more than 25 years of experience working with aquatic animals. Specializing in penguins, sharks and marine birds, some of her career highlights include: fieldwork in Patagonia and Antarctica; designing penguin exhibits and penguin breeding programs; capturing and transporting large sand tiger sharks from Delaware to New Orleans; coordinating the evacuation of penguins and sea otters from the Aquarium of the Americas after Hurricane Katrina; participating in Monterey Bay Aquarium’s successful juvenile white shark capture program; implementing a live Laysan Albatross program at Monterey Bay Aquarium; and directing a sevengill shark tracking program at Aquarium of the Bay. During her career, Slager has worked at Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences (CA), the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (LA), Monterey Bay Aquarium (CA), Mystic Aquarium (CT) and Aquarium of the Bay (CA). She is the author of numerous published articles and several books.
Cathy Tolentino, Sales Director
Cathy Tolentino a native of San Francisco is very proud to showcase the place she calls home to visitors from around the world. Cathy began her tourism career with Crowley Maritime’s Red & White Fleet in the 1980’s. Since then Cathy has served in tourism marketing positions with PIER 39’s Blue & Gold Fleet, Bay Quackers San Francisco Duck Tours and the Walt Disney Family Museum. Cathy’s sales skills have allowed her to generate over $11.5 million dollars in a single year. Her areas of responsibility have included: sales, marketing, strategic planning and business development. Cathy has been a leader in the tour & travel industry opening new markets and created rapid growth in new and emerging markets. Cathy joined Aquarium of the Bay in 2010.
Shelley Wood, Director of Development and Membership
Shelley Wood is originally from the United Kingdom; she earned her Master of Science in International Business in London before moving to San Francisco, where she led Aquarium of the Bay’s Marketing team between 2002 and 2005. She joined the Exploratorium’s Marketing Department in 2005 and became a key player in the Exploratorium’s Development Department as Membership Director in 2006. She led a team that increased membership households from 10,000 to 35,000 and successfully oversaw community and charter acquisition campaigns resulting in $1.9 million in gifts. Shelley was part of the Exploratorium’s leadership group, which coordinated the logistics during its relocation from the Palace of Fine Arts to its current location at Pier 15/17 on The Embarcadero. Her membership efforts resulted in $3.2 million in gifts to membership, general operating, and capital campaign in Fiscal Year 2013. She is thrilled to be back at Aquarium of the Bay.