Phil first discovered the Boston Harbor Islands when he served as part of a volunteer crew planting beach grass on Spectacle Island in the spring of 2007, and he has been hooked ever since, joining the Boston Harbor Island Alliance as President in June of 2013. Immediately prior to joining BHIA he served for six years as Undersecretary for the Environment for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the culmination of a twenty year career in state environmental agencies in Massachusetts and California. Phil holds a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley, a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Tufts University, and an International Baccalaureate degree from the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales. When not out on the Harbor Islands, or convincing others that they should be out on the Islands, Phil can most often be found on the rugby field, where he is an active referee for the USA Rugby Union.
A lifelong outdoor enthusiast lucky enough to have a career helping people discover, enjoy and protect the outdoors, Mike joined the BHIA staff in September of 2013 as Vice President for Development and External Affairs. Mike first connected with BHIA in 2008 while working at the National Geographic Society developing a detailed recreation map for the Boston Harbor Islands National Park. Shortly after the project concluded, Mike joined the BHIA board of directors and served on BHIA's marketing and development committees. Mike's career in the outdoor industry began in the late 90s working at REI in his hometown of San Carlos, CA while pursuing a degree in geography and business administration from San Francisco State University. He would later combine his passion for maps and outdoors helping launch a successful software venture, Wildflower Productions, which pioneered outdoor recreation consumer mapping software. Wildflower was successfully acquired by the National Geographic Society in July of 2000. At NGS Mike held a variety of roles including digital product manager, operations manager, director of marketing and most recently, vice president of sales and marketing. Mike has a long history of active volunteerism, having served on the board of directors for the Publishers Association of the West, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, and is currently on the Town of Hingham Historical Commission. A waterman by heart, Mike can be found boating, fishing, paddle boarding, and exploring our local national park with his wife and daughter from their home in Hingham.
Jane Peterson Ellis joined BHIA as Director of Finance and Administration after 20 years managing law firms, primarily with Anderson & Kreiger in Cambridge. Prior to this, she was the first director of the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and the executive director of the Commonwealth’s Outdoor Advertising Board. She also has experience in public, community and media relations and was a broadcast news reporter. Jane graduated with an MS in Applied Management from Lesley University and a BA summa cum laude from Georgian Court University. She and her family live in Mansfield.
After 10 years in Washington DC, Rebecca Smerling returned to her home state, joining BHIA as Director of Community Programs in early 2010. In this capacity, she creates plans and implements over 120 public programs on the islands under the umbrella themes of arts and culture, recreation, science and nature, history and self discovery. She also manages the community outreach program, providing free access for individuals from around Massachusetts to the islands.
Prior to this, Rebecca worked at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage where she helped produce the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. While working as a part of both the creative and production teams, she helped develop the programming and logistical elements of such world renowned programs as the Silk Road: Connecting Cultures, Creating Trust, Been in the Storm So Long: New Orleans Evening Concert Series, Giving Voice: The Power of Words in African American Culture, and Forest Service, Culture, and Community. Additionally, Rebecca worked with the director to manage relationships with the Center’s financial and collaborative partners including domestic and foreign NGO's, foreign and state governments and the National Park Service. Rebecca also worked as a part of the team which produced the opening of the World War II Memorial, the grand opening of the National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian's partnership with the Presidential Inaugural Committee for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama..
Rebecca graduated from Brandeis University with BA in anthropology and art history.