Our Governance

The Wilder Institute’s Executive Team and Board of Directors are a diverse group of passionate individuals that bring experience from a range of fields including science, law, policy, business, industry, education, and more. 

Our Executive Team

Dr. Clement Lanthier, President & Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Clément Lanthier joined the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo in 2003 as Director of Live Collections. In 2007, he was appointed as the President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Lanthier is responsible for leading a high-performing management team and shaping the institution’s vision, mission, master plan and culture.

Clément leverages a distinctive blend of knowledge, experience, values and skills to lead wildlife conservation organizations with strong emphasis on animal welfare, science and customer experience.

He currently serves as President of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), and previously served as past President of the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, past Board member of SPECIES360 and as past President of the Canadian Committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. He is proud to be an Honorary Chief of the Wechiau Community Hippopotamus Sanctuary in North West Ghana.


Rick Bennett, Chief Operating Officer

Rick Bennett joined the Wilder Institute in early 2022 as the Chief Operating Officer. He is responsible for the leadership and strategic direction for the day-to-day operations of multiple departments including Guest Services, Brand & Engagement, Conservation Education, Conservation Science and Animal Care, Health & Welfare.

Rick has over two decades of global experience leading operational excellence and growth in Fortune 500 companies spanning hospitality, accommodations, and destination tourism locations. An in-depth experience structuring and leading organizations with a high degree of customer touch point, Rick is recognized as a values-based decision-maker. His collaborative and inspiring style is award winning being recognized as a “Best Workplace for Aboriginal Employees”

Prior to becoming the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, he was a senior executive for a global hospitality organization, led teams of 1,400 and developed managed service relationships across 18 different countries.

Rick’s education includes Executive and Recreation Management from Queen’s University and Humber College. He also serves as a Board Director for not-for-profit organizations.


Theresa Roessel, Chief Financial Officer

Theresa Roessel joined Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo in June 2019 as Chief Financial Officer. Theresa is a finance executive with over 25 years of experience leading large global teams through strategic, collaborative leadership and proactive approaches to complex business issues. She oversees multiple departments including Accounting, IT, Treasury, Planning, Risk management, Procurement and Human Resources. She is a proven leader and brings a great level of expertise to the leadership team.

Theresa serves on the Board of the Canadian Red Cross and on the Calgary Police Commission, as well as previously serving as Chair of the Finance Committee for Hockey Calgary and Chair of the Finance, Governance and HR Committee for YouthLink Calgary.


Steven Ross, Chief Development Officer

Steven Ross joined the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo in March 2020 as the Chief Development Officer. As a member of the executive leadership, he is responsible for leading development, fundraising and external relations. When the Calgary Zoo Foundation rebranded as the ‘Wilder Institute’ in 2021, Steven played a critical role in overseeing its brand development and continues to provide strategic and tactical leadership to enhance and build on Wilder Institute’s fund development portfolio and community engagement initiatives.

Steven is a CFRE certified environmental professional with more than 15-years of experience working in fund development and cause-marketing specializing in the development of strategic partnerships for leading non-profit organizations. He brings a great level of expertise in strategic planning, fund development, marketing & engagement, sustainability, project management, and leadership.

Steven has a lifelong passion for the environment and has given his time, talent and voice to help mobilize communities to create change and develop sustainable solutions. He holds an undergraduate degree in Nonprofit Studies from Mount Royal University, and a Masters of Environment & Management from Royal Roads University.


Our Board of Directors

Barbara Conkie

Board Chair

Jennifer Koury


Bill Fisher

Secretary and Governance and Legal Committee Chair

Karyn Brooks

Treasurer and Finance and Risk Committee Chair

Owen Tobert

Human Resources Committee Chair

Hunter Wight

Fund Development Committee Chair

Barb Carra

Jason Clifton

Denise Hamilton

Thomas Lui

Rachel Moore

Sheila O’Brien

Susannah Pierce

Karen Prentice

Perry Spitznagel

Arlene Strom