Staff

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Deedra Westby
Administrative Assistant
Deedra Westby joined the WCS team in February, 2017 as Administrative Assistant. She is a graduate of the University of London (UOL) with a Bachelor of Business in Marketing. Deedra more than 10 years experience in the secretarial field with a background in reception, and administrative duties. She is the friendly voice that will most likely greet you when you call the WCS office.
Deseree Cain-Arzu, MSc.
Communications Coordinator
Since joining the team at WCS in March 2016, Deseree has been working tirelessly to achieve one of the organizations strategic goals of raising its public profile, not just in Belize, but also regionally and internationally. Important achievements, activities, marine and terrestrial research work have been highlighted via social media, and traditional media outlets, locally, regionally and internationally. Deseree has also written several newspaper articles on WCS’s work, which have been published in The Reporter, Guardian, and San Pedro Sun both print and online; and online in Ambergris Today and Breaking Belize News. Her most recent research article on conch was published online via Earth Journalism Network; and blog on the Fisheries Resurces Bill on medium.com. She has participated in numerous outreach and educational events to showcase the work of WCS; as well as hosted a number of events in which WCS has participated, including Earth Hour, Commemoration of Belize being Removed from WHS Danger List; and the Green Globe Panel Discussion. In her capacity as WCS’s Communications Coordinator, Deseree has also been instrumental in supporting the launch of Seasons 2 and 3 of the 2-time Award-Winning Punta Fuego Radio Drama, which is the communications component to WCS’s Replenishment Zones Initiative. She also previously served as the communications focal point for the Fish Right Eat Right Initiative, and secretary for the Belize World Heritage Advisory Committed, commissioned in January 2018. Before joining the dynamic team at WCS Belize Global Program, Deseree Arzu spent close to two decades working in the media as News Director, Radio Personality, Remote Broadcast Manager, and Journalist at the now defunct Broadcasting Corporation of Belize, and more recently, Krem Radio, where she spent a total of 12 years. She later moved on to the Public Utilities Commission where her role focused on consumer affairs and public relations. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Belize; and a Master of Science in Communications and Media Technologies from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Deseree’s main desire is for Belizeans to see conservation, not as a job for NGO’s and/or government, but, as a collective initiative that involves and requires each and every one’s interest and participation.
Gianelie Cuellar, BSc.
Finance Manager
Gianelie Cuellar-Mai received her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Belize in 2006. Since then she has served in both private sector and in international organization for the productive sector development of Belize. She has been onboard WCS's Belize Program since 2014 as the Finance Manager and has brought her experience and positive can do attitude to the Belize field office. Her role has allowed her to work with various donors and budgets allowing her to expand her 14 years of technical experience along with introducing new ideas to the Finance department. She fervently believes in proper procedures and fairness to all her colleagues. As time has elapsed Gianelie has grown within the organization as has her responsibilities. Gianelie appreciates the importance in the work that WCS has accomplished and is proud to be a part of the change.
Jon Ramnarace
Technical Assistant - Enforcement Technology
Jon Ramnarace started working with WCS in September 2016 as the Technical Assistant for Enforcement Technology. Since then, he has been working tirelessly in the national roll-out and training of protected area managers and rangers in the use of the SMART software for more efficient patrols. He has also introduced and trained protected area staff in the use of aerial and underwater drones for monitoring and surveillance. Jon has also been instrumental in the introduction of these technologies to neighboring Central American and Caribbean countries of Honduras, Bahamas and Jamaica, sharing his knowledge and expertise. Currently, he working on the roll-out of a vessel monitoring system with emergency SOS to safeguard fishers while at sea; and he looks forward to future conservation projects.
Julio R. Maaz, A.S.
Sustainable Fisheries Coordinator
Julio Maaz is the Community Fisheries Coordinator. He works closely with local fishers to promote responsible fisheries management concepts and is a very active member of the technical team supervising the managed access program. Prior to joining WCS, Julio worked for six years with the Belize Fisheries Department, where he supervised the enforcement branch, which extended to prosecutionof fisheries offences. He is leading WCS's innovative program on the use of technology to improve national enforcement at sea. Julio has an associates's degree in biology and chemistry.
Kenneth Gale, A.S.
Operations Manager, Glover's Reef Research Station
Kenneth graduated from the Belize College of Agriculture in 1997 with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science. He worked for a number of Government and Non-Governmental organizations in various capacities. He was employed by the Belize Fisheries Department as reserve manager for the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve, and the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve. Kenneth also served as the Turneffe Islands Spawning Aggregation Marine Reserve project manager for the World Wildlife Fund, as park director at Blue Hole and Halfmoon Caye Monument for the Belize Audubon Society, and most recently as station manager for the University of Belize's Calabash Caye Field Station.
Myles Phillips
Technical Coordinator, Marine
Myles Phillips joined the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Belize Program as a Technical Coordinator for Marine Research in 2018. He completed an MSc in Natural Resources Management (Coastal and Marine Resources) at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. Since 2009, Myles has held technical posts in Barbados, The Bahamas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada in various capacities related to marine research, marine resource monitoring and protected area management. His role with WCS comprises leadership of marine monitoring programs, database management, conducting marine training sessions and workshops for stakeholders, development of outreach materials, and service as a delegate on several national committees. Myles stands at the helm of several of WCS's monitoring programs, and coordinates them through the data collection, archival, interpretation and reporting phases to inform management activity and planning by the Belize Fisheries Department. He has also been responsible for the aggregation of these annual datasets into congruent time-series of data, which have been used for the production of highly impactful peer reviewed articles on Belize’s most economically important fisheries. In his previous role with The Nature Conservancy’s Eastern Caribbean Program, Myles trained stakeholders across that region in marine monitoring according to the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) Protocol, and spearheaded reef surveys and habitat mapping exercises in multiple countries in collaboration with the Healthy Reefs Initiative. He also worked with the Senior Program Manager to implement a series of stratified stakeholder meetings in six countries to collect baseline information for regional marine spatial planning efforts by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Nicole Auil Gomez, MSc.
Director, Belize Country Program
Ms. Auil Gomez joined WCS in 2016 and brings a wealth of experience from both NGO and government sectors. She has served as Executive Director of Belize's Southern Environmental Association (SEA), worked in technical positions at the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Wildlife Trust Belize, and undertaken manatee research in conjunction with Sea to Shore. She holds a Master's in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Texas A&M University, with a research focus on coastal zone management and expertise in the endangered Antillean manatee. She also has ample experience in management, fundraising, politics, and policy, and is a Whitley award winner.
Ralna Kay Lewis, MSc.
Assistant Director, Belize Country Program
Ralna is the Assistant Country Director for the WCS Belize Country Program. Ralna completed her MSc in Natural Resource and Environmental Mangement specialising in Coastal and Marine Management at the University of the West Indies. She is integrally involved in the national expansion of replenishment zones program which looks at strictly protecting at least 10% of Belize’s territorial sea. Ralna also leads WCS’s communications and outreach work that aims to increase knowledge and promote positive attitudes and behaviours regarding marine and fisheries conservation strategies. Ralna has worked extensively with community based organizations throughout the country of Belize in an effort to strengthen their institutional capacities in the areas of organizational, financial and project management in an effort to improve the management of Belize's protected areas.
Roberta Pennell MSc
Terrestrial Coordinator
Roberta Kamille Pennell holds the post of Terrestrial Coordinator. She is responsible for the implementation of the organisation's terrestrial components of Belize's conservation strategy, with the main focus of combating wildlife trafficking- ensuring thriving wildlife, wild places and healthy and productive ecosystems. Prior to this, she was the CITES Coordinator responsible for building communication, administrative structures and capacity to effectively deliver on Belize’s commitments as a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Before joining WCS, she worked at a local organisation in Southern Belize, which implemented people-focused conservation and evidence informed conservation in and around terrestrial protected areas, in development and leadership positions. She is experienced in grant writing, fundraising, management and leadership in conservation. She also has experience in social science research in conservation and rights based conservation, gained through the implementation of her Master's thesis which focused on the O'Sum Commune in Cambodia.

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