Mary Ellen Olcese
St. Michaels, Maryland
Mary Ellen Olcese joined River Network in December 2007. Located in the field office in St. Michaels, Maryland, she serves as the primary staff for River Network in the Mid-Atlantic region, with special emphasis on the Chesapeake Bay, and coordinates and provides services to organizations in that region. She conducts workshops and training sessions on organizational development issues such as fundraising, Board development and Strategic Planning, and integrates with other River Network staff training on other watershed protection topics.
Mary Ellen brings to the position 25+ years of experience working with nonprofit organizations, as an Education Director, Development Director and Executive Director. Before joining River Network she worked for nine years as an independent consultant for community and conservation groups on issues of fundraising and institutional effectiveness. Mary Ellen believes that river and watershed groups work too hard to leave their programmatic priorities vulnerable to the vagaries of lack of funding and poor leadership. Thus she works with river and watershed groups to establish and use best management practices to become stable and sustainable organizations so they can realize their missions of clean (swimmable, drinkable, fishable) rivers and waterways in their communities. She received her BA and BS from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters from Boston University.
Mary Ellen is not all work and no play; in her free time she loves working outside in the gardens and on the farm, traveling with husband John and daughter Maura, working out in the gym, or “vegging” on the sofa with a good book or movie.