Demis Foster, Executive Director
A life-long conservationist, Demis has over 25 years experience working on environmental campaigns and programs in the West. Demis grew up on a six generation family ranch in southern Idaho where she spent her childhood exploring the high desert on horseback. It was here that she developed a lifelong love for nature and a deep appreciation for the land and water that sustained all the families in her rural farming community.
While earning a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from Boise State University, she worked for the Wolf Recovery Foundation—the first organization in Idaho dedicated to the restoration of wolves in the Rockies. An avid hiker Demis moved to the Pacific Northwest where she worked on conservation issues while exploring and leading trips into the backcountry of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. Demis was awarded the National Leadership Award for outstanding leadership in protecting public lands for her work as the Director of the Ancient Forest Roadshow—a year-long outreach tour with two teams traveling across the nation with a 1,000-lb. crosscut section from an old-growth Douglas Fir tree.
Demis moved to New Mexico in 2010 to work on public lands and wildlife issues including the Mexican gray wolf recovery effort, the Pecos Wilderness expansion and the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument designation. She took the helm of Conservation Voters New Mexico as the Executive Director in 2013.
Roberto Aponte, Deputy Director of Operations
Roberto is our Operations Director, responsible for developing the strategy for and overseeing CVNM’s operational, administrative, human resources and financial systems.
He is a visionary manager and leader with more than 25 years in event production and organizational leadership, in both corporate and nonprofit settings. In addition to his expertise in business administration, Roberto has strong skills as a trainer, facilitator and coach. He has a Master of Arts in Business from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and an undergraduate degree in Communications from Emerson College in Boston. His unique master’s degree was focused on bringing environmental sustainability and social responsibility to the practice of business.
Roberto’s career success began when he recognized the importance of being able to integrate the fullness of who a person is into the work that one does. When he applied this principle to his own work life, he experienced less work-related stress, became a more effective and productive worker and lived a more fulfilling life. He then extended this approach toward life-work balance to the teams and projects he managed with increasingly positive results. Roberto’s vision is that all human beings develop a healthy relationship to their work, leading to a sense of community in their workplaces and thus making it easier to do work that supports balance with our natural environment and greater collaboration amongst all social groups.
Molly Sanders, Deputy Director of Programs
Previously, Molly was the Global Warming Program Associate for Environment New Mexico, where she worked to mobilize public and grasstops support for clean and renewable energy in New Mexico. During her time there, she also worked with local groups on urban sprawl issues, and directed a canvassing operation during the 2008 Presidential Election.
Prior to coming to New Mexico in 2008, Molly received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in geography with a concentration in environmental systems and sustainability. During her undergraduate studies, she also collaborated with several professors, organizations and the City of Minneapolis conducting research on the public’s attitudes and perceptions of environmental action to help shape the city’s growing sustainability program. In her spare time, Molly enjoys camping, hiking and skiing.
Ben Shelton, Political & Legislative Director
Ben joined CVNM as Legislative and Political Director in October 2015. A lifelong environmentalist, Ben brings lobbying, legal, policy development and electoral campaign experience to the CVNM team.
Prior to joining CVNM, Ben served as legislative counsel for the Judiciary Committee of the District of Columbia Council, and field director for a mayoral campaign. He also helped advance policy for the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Ben earned his Bachelor of Arts in Ecological Studies from Seattle University, and after seeing environmental degradation while working as a river guide in Washington state, he dedicated himself to working on legal and policy solutions. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor from Lewis & Clark Law School, specializing in environmental law. He feels at home in the Southwest and enjoys hiking, biking, and whitewater.
Allison Fabara, Development Director
Allison came on board as CVNM’s Development Director in June 2010. Prior to joining CVNM, she worked in non-profit fundraising for eight years in Washington D.C. Most recently, she served as a senior member of the development department at NARAL Pro-Choice America, planning major donor fundraising events across the country.
After traveling to the Land of Enchantment several times for work and vacation, Allison fell in love with its natural beauty and unique culture. She is passionate about protecting the place she now calls home. Allison earned her Bachelor of Arts at Villanova University in liberal arts with a concentration in social sciences. She grew up in the Philadelphia area and enjoys running, yoga and traveling.
Aviva Crichton, Development Associate
Aviva joined the CVNM staff in April 2015. Long before going behind the scenes, she began signing petitions and making calls to her representatives and supporting grassroots efforts related to environmental, social and economic justice. She is particularly passionate about protecting our natural resources, and connecting with beautiful, wild places.
She came to Santa Fe in 2010 to earn her Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts at St. John’s College. Having grown up in the high desert and mountains of southwest Idaho, Aviva quickly felt at home in New Mexico. She has worked with several local nonprofits in development and event coordination, and is thrilled with the opportunity to bring these skills to the issues she cares about most.
In her free time, Aviva enjoys travel, hiking, camping and community building. She has been actively involved with Atalaya Search and Rescue since 2010. The team specializes in technical rescue skills, including avalanche and high angle scenarios. Aviva enjoys monitoring the rescue scene from the cliff’s edge, and currently serves as vice president.
Liliana Castillo, Communications Director
Liliana’s career has centered on giving opportunity for the voiceless to have a voice, creating accountability and a world centered on truth. She has done so through journalism and working for non-profit organizations that help others. Liliana earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of North Texas in photojournalism with a minor in social sciences.
Born in Montana, Liliana was raised with respect and love for nature, specifically the mountains. She is on a continuous quest to capture and preserve the natural beauty of the world in photographs and words. She is elated to be able to help protect the environment through her work at CVNM.
Talia Boyd, CVNM Education Fund Western New Mexico Program Director
Born and raised on the Diné Nation, Talia grew up with a respect for the natural world through traditional Diné teachings. The dewatering of aquifers through the extraction of non-renewable energies and the alarming legacy of abandoned uranium mines throughout her homeland drove Talia to take action to protect her communities in New Mexico and Arizona.
For over the past 10 years, Talia has spent most of her time grassroots organizing and volunteering in rural and Indigenous communities on environmental and social justice issues. Some of her work has included protecting sacred sites, Indigenous voting rights and grassroots fundraising with the Native American Voters Alliance and community radio with KNIZ 90.1 FM in Gallup, New Mexico.
Talia is attending the University of New Mexico with a focus in communications and sociology and she continues to be a member of the Western Mining Action Network, Wellstone Action, the Black Mesa Water Coalition and co-founder/organizer of the South West Indigenous Listening Forum. Talia enjoys photography and live music in her free time.
Helen Robertson, CVNM Business Administration Manager
Helen joined the CVNM staff as Business Administration Manager in March 2018. Prior to joining CVNM, she worked for a variety of environmental nonprofit organizations, most recently for the League of Conservation Voters, CVNM’s national partner.
Helen brings a deep commitment to environmental protection and social justice, as well as professional and academic experience in systems management to the CVNM team. Helen earned her Masters in Urban Planning with an emphasis on environmental planning from the University of Washington, along with certificates in Nonprofit Management and Project Management.
In her free time, Helen enjoys sketching, hiking, reading and exploring Santa Fe by bicycle.