John Frawley, President and CEO
John Frawley was appointed President and CEO of The Bay Institute in August 2009. John also continues his 16-years leadership role at Aquarium of Bay, where he played a major role in its transition from a struggling commercial business to a fully accredited, successful marine nature center. Frawley sits on the Advisory Committee of San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority which assists and advises the Governing Board in carrying out strategies that will help rebuild San Francisco Bay’s critical tidal wetlands. He is an Executive Board member of the California Association of Zoos and Aquariums whose professional staff offers California a rich resource of expertise and experience in conservation, as well as environmental and animal management. He is also a Board member of the American Institute of Ethics where supporting a culture of openness, trust and integrity amongst employees, volunteers, partners, venders, and throughout society are held with the highest standards of ethical conduct. He holds a B.S. degree from Minnesota State University in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services with an emphasis in Wildlife and Resources Management/Biology.
Some of Frawley’s past leadership roles include:
- Former Board member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the governing body for more than 220 zoos and aquariums nationwide.
- Former president of the Fisherman’s Wharf Merchants Association
Carrie Chen, Director of Education and Conservation
Carrie Chen, the Aquarium’s Director of Education & Conservation, has 14+ years of experience with marine science education organizations around the country. Carrie provides leadership for the Aquarium’s visitor/interpretive programs, K-12 school and teacher programs, fee-based youth programs, volunteers, high school interns and sustainable seafood initiatives – along with supporting fundraising efforts, staff training, professional development, evaluation and other related projects. Carrie is also very active within the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), serving as the Vice Chair for the Conservation Education Committee since 2009 and leading the Association’s professional development course for Conservation Education Effective Program Design since 2011. Prior to joining the Aquarium, Carrie spent many years “island hopping” and developing her skills and passion in marine science education at organizations in the Florida Keys, Catalina Island and Hawaii. Since arriving to the Bay Area in 1999 and prior to joining the Aquarium team in 2004, Carrie held leadership positions at the Marine Science Institute and Lawrence Hall of Science, both of which involved developing and leading public education programs on marine science and San Francisco Bay.
Chris Connors, Operations Director
Chris Connors, the Aquarium’s Director of Operations, has 20+ years of environmental based hospitality management and business development experience. He is a LEED Accredited and Certified Green Building Professional with 5+ years of green building design/construction and sustainable operations experience. As Vice President for a national food service and merchandising contractor, he developed his company’s first set of green business standards including corporate purchasing, sustainable menus, waste diversion and green restaurant construction. Prior to joining Aquarium of the Bay, he worked as a consultant to help launch two green startups in the Bay Area. Chris sits on the Fisherman’s Wharf Board of Governors.
Bobbi Evans, Chief Financial Officer
Bobbi Evans has 25 years experience in accounting and finance, with a proven track record across a variety of environments, including nonprofit, for profit, partnerships and joint-ventures. Bobbi was previously CFO at Aquarium of the Bay, where she leveraged her expertise in major financial software, excellent troubleshooting capabilities and people skills to direct all aspects of the finance department, including cash control, HR financial reporting, banking relationships, budgeting and all accounting procedures.
Jennie Leichtling, Development Director
Jennie Leichtling has spent the last seven years fundraising for aquariums and zoos on the West Coast. She has a certificate in Fundraising Management from the University of Washington and is currently pursuing her M.A. in Museums Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to joining Aquarium of the Bay, she was the Annual Fund and Foundation Manager at Seattle Aquarium where she successfully raised over $1 million dollars annually and had previously managed the successful 35,000 household membership program at Woodland Park Zoo. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Christopher Low, Senior Director of Life Support Systems and Facilities
Christopher Low has worked for the Aquarium of the Bay for 15 years. During his tenure, he has been responsible for project management of new exhibits, upgrades to life support and building systems, safety protocols and training, and filling in as Director of Operations and Husbandry during gaps in leadership in these departments. Prior to working at the aquarium, Low was an active member of the United States Coast Guard stationed in Seattle and Monterey as a crew member on a Coast Guard Cutter and as a coxswain of a motor surf lifeboat. After his service in the USCG, Low worked on tug boats for 5 years in the capacity of engineer and operator in the San Francisco Bay. Low also is an artist working with found objects to create assemblages and shadow boxes.
Christina J. Slager, Director of Animal Care and Aquatic Exhibits
Christina Slager has more than 25 years of experience working with aquatic animals. Specializing in penguins, sharks and marine birds, some of her career highlights include: fieldwork in Patagonia and Antarctica; designing penguin exhibits and penguin breeding programs; capturing and transporting large sand tiger sharks from Delaware to New Orleans; coordinating the evacuation of penguins and sea otters from the Aquarium of the Americas after Hurricane Katrina; participating in Monterey Bay Aquarium’s successful juvenile white shark capture program; implementing a live Laysan Albatross program at Monterey Bay Aquarium; and directing a sevengill shark tracking program at Aquarium of the Bay. During her career, Slager has worked at Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences (CA), the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (LA), Monterey Bay Aquarium (CA), Mystic Aquarium (CT) and Aquarium of the Bay (CA). She is the author of numerous published articles and several books.
Cathy Tolentino, Sales Director
Cathy Tolentino has over 25 years of hospitality & tourism sales, marketing and business development experience. She is extremely dedicated to the city of San Francisco, having worked for Blue & Gold Fleet, Bay Quackers, San Francisco Duck Tours, Red & White Fleet, and the Walt Disney Family Museum. Cathy’s experience generated over $11.5 million of revenue in one year.
In her various positions, Cathy has been responsible for all aspects of sales, marketing, strategic planning, business development, and customer service. Her experience includes not only the domestic and international tour and travel markets, but also the corporate and SMERF markets.