Senior Staff


Melanie Barranco, Co-Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer

staff_mgittlesonAs chief financial officer, Melanie manages all aspects of financial and human resources operations for CNLM.

Melanie has more than 25 years of financial management experience working both in the public and private sectors including firms such as Perot Systems International and Arthur Andersen & Company.  She is a Certified Public Accountant and earned her degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles. Melanie joined CNLM in 2004.


Deborah L. Rogers, Ph.D., Co-Executive Director & Director of Conservation Science and Stewardship

Deborah Rogers provides leadership for CNLM’s programs and initiatives in conservation science, restoration, and stewardship. As CNLM directly and perpetually practices conservation on its preserves, Deborah provides guidance for incorporating scientific principles and information into stewardship practice, develops standards and quality control for stewardship planning and documentation, and provides leadership for CNLM’s conservation science and stewardship staff.

Deborah has a distinguished 30-year career in natural resources conservation, working in the private, (land management) government, academic, and non-profit sectors. Deborah’s research has focused on the genetic diversity of native plant species and better understanding how to conserve that diversity to support adaptation and species longevity. Her expertise on these topics, particularly genetic diversity of Pinus radiata and Sequoia sempervirens, has been valued internationally through research collaborations and invited seminars and keynote presentations. She founded and directed the Monterey Pine Forest Ecology Cooperative, a nonpolitical forum for transferring scientific information to management and regulation of coastal California forest ecosystems.

She is an associate editor of the Native Plants Journal and an associate within the Agricultural Experiment Station of the Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis. She has authored over 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications, book chapters, and research reports. An advocate for applying genetic principles and information to conservation and restoration plans and practices, she has provided workshops on this topic at Society for Conservation Biology conferences, Land Trust Alliance Rallies, and for agencies such as the National Park Service. She conducts an active outreach program for “PAR” methodology to support other conservation-directed entities in calculating perpetual stewardship costs of conservation lands.

Deborah holds a M.S. from the College of Forest Resources at the University of Washington, Seattle, a Ph.D. from the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley, and was awarded a Fullbright Scholarship during her Ph.D. studies. Deborah joined CNLM in 2006.

Isabella Gelmi, Director of Administration

staff_igelmi As director of administration, Isabella’s management responsibilities include administrative operations, information system document quality control, title investigation, escrow facilitation and closing, insurance/risk evaluation, contract quality control, headquarters facility operation, facilities leasing, corporate governance paralegal functions, and special projects.  In addition, she is an officer of the nonprofit corporation (Secretary).

Isabella has more than 20 years of experience in administration and commercial, industrial, and residential property management (California and Hawaii).  Raised in northern Italy, she was inspired by her family’s love of the outdoors and developed a profound respect and appreciation of nature. Isabella joined CNLM in 2002.

Sarah Mueller, General Counsel

As CNLM’s General Counsel, Sarah provides leadership for all legal matters, including CNLM’s role in acquiring fee properties and conservation easements, easement enforcement and defense, organizational foundation documents, and support and counsel to the Board of Directors.

Sarah served as Assistant Regional Counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX, for 18 years.  She counseled the agency on compliance and enforcement matters arising under a variety of federal statutes.  She has extensive experience working with stakeholders at all levels of government, as well as the private sector, landowners, non-profit organizations, and local communities.  Through her role as the Institutional Controls coordinator for Region IX, she focused on long-term stewardship issues for contaminated properties throughout the Pacific Southwest.  Prior to joining EPA, Sarah was in private practice in San Francisco as a commercial and environmental litigator.  She began her career in the environmental and conservation sector at the National Audubon Society in its government affairs office in Washington, DC.

Sarah earned her undergraduate degree at Harvard University and her law degree at the University of California, Berkeley.  Sarah joined CNLM in 2022.