NACD Announces New Senior Staff Positions

CONTACT: Sara Kangas, NACD Director of Communications
(202) 547-6223; sara-kangas[at]


October 4, 2021


WASHINGTON – Today, National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Peters announced the installment of Jen Nelligan as the organization’s Chief Program Officer (CPO) and Karla Maldonado as its Chief Operations Officer (COO).

These newly created positions reflect a realigned organization chart, effective October 1 with NACD’s 2022 Fiscal Year, to bolster support for NACD’s substantial portfolio of programs and membership services.

Jen Nelligan is the founder and president of Alithea Advisors, where she supports the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) across multiple mission areas and agencies. She served as an advisor to the USDA Farm Production and Conservation Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Business Services, who was responsible for over 1,500 employees and $3 billion in infrastructure investments, including IT, contracts, grants and agreements, the vehicle fleet and USDA’s network of field office locations.

Prior to her work with USDA, Nelligan served as a human capital consultant with PDRI, where she led PDRI’s Organizational Effectiveness Team, specializing in organizational design and development solutions for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). She also previously served in the federal government as a contracting officer with the Naval Sea Systems Command, where she managed a $1.4 billion portfolio for the development, production and lifecycle maintenance of naval command and control systems.

Nelligan holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland and bachelor’s degrees in economics, international and global studies, and anthropology from Brandeis University. She was also an Envirothon Team Captain at Lowell High School in Massachusetts. As CPO, Nelligan will oversee NACD’s projects, partnerships, communications and government affairs.

“I am thrilled to welcome Jen to NACD as our new Chief Program Officer,” Peters said. “Her experience in systems and programs management across multiple areas of the federal government will provide key insights into continued delivery of conservation assistance through NACD, our partners and our member conservation districts.”

Karla Maldonado joined NACD in 2017 as the organization’s senior staff accountant and has steadily grown into other roles throughout the past several years, managing the finances of NACD and the National Conservation Foundation (NCF), including auditing, budget management, and supporting NACD and NCF’s substantial grant portfolios.

Maldonado started her conservation career journey at the National Wildlife Refuge Association, where she served as the finance and administration manager for several years, working alongside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to advance conservation through various grant agreements. Prior to joining the National Wildlife Refuge Association, Maldonado began her career as a business manager at a local charter school in Washington, D.C.

Maldonado holds a master’s degree in business administration from Trinity Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in finance with a minor in international business from the Pennsylvania State University. As COO, Maldonado will manage NACD’s human resources, membership, finance and stewardship and education programs, and is working to bring additional membership benefits that are slated to be implemented in the 2022 fiscal year.

“Karla brings to her new role as Chief Operating Officer strong management, compliance and organizational experience within NACD,” Peters said. “Her work to ensure sound operational management is instrumental as we continue to grow opportunities to serve our conservation district membership.”

“NACD is poised for even greater success in the future because of the depth of knowledge, capacity and abilities of our entire staff team,” Peters said. “As key members of our executive management team, Jen Nelligan and Karla Maldonado will help NACD continue to fulfill our strategic mission to promote responsible management and conservation of natural resources on all lands by representing locally-led conservation districts and their associations through grassroots advocacy, education and partnerships.”

Learn more about NACD’s team at


About the National Association of Conservation Districts:

The National Association of Conservation Districts is the nonprofit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state and territory associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit:

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