Our Board

When people are informed and engaged, healthy societies and their environments thrive.

Bob Mobley


In February, 2004, Bob Mobley put together a panel of concerned and interested clients to discuss the feasibility and need for an organization focused on bringing leadership values and behaviors into the cultural fabric of our public school educational community. It was determined that there is a real need for such an organization. The panel urged the focus initially be on education in Idaho. Because of its size and the demographics of the K – 12 public school population in Idaho, it was felt that this would be an ideal starting point for a leadership program focusing on administrators, teachers, students, parents and their communities. As an outcome, The Sun Valley Leadership Institute was born as a non-profit 501 c 3 corporation. Its mission and goal is helping all individuals involved in secondary education, and their organizations, become a more desirable and effective place for students to learn. It seeks to achieve this outcome by focusing on developing individuals who are effective and inspiring leaders in all fields across all disciplines.

Bob Mobley is a widely experienced, highly effective consultant to senior executives and leaders of corporations and institutions throughout the world. He started his predecessor company, Mobley Associates, in 1978, with the aim of helping individuals become more effective in their roles, with particular emphasis on refining and achieving the mission of the organization by embracing ethical leadership values. Over the course of thirty years, Bob has worked with many of the world’s top corporate and institutional leaders.

A graduate of Yale University, where he majored in history, Bob did graduate work at Columbia University earning an MA in Education. In 1969, Bob attended Oxford University on an English Speaking Union Fellowship.

David S. Smith

Founder and President

David grew up in New York and Washington DC and graduated from Williams College with a degree in Political Science. He spent 7 years in Africa, with experience in 43 countries, working first with the Ford Foundation, and later as a bush pilot, and also as a photojournalist covering some of the continent’s messier conflicts. He returned to the United States and worked in the film industry. Since the early 1990s, David has devoted himself full time to work as a conservationist, and also serves as Chairman of the Board of the St. Catherines Island Foundation.

In 2004, David and his wife Jordan founded CAVU and moved to Costa Rica as a hub for operations throughout Latin America. While Jordan managed a growing staff and all financial matters and important strategic decisions, David produced and directed 14 community outreach films in 10 countries in 3 languages – a number of which are still in use in schools and broadcasting systems in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize, among others.

David also conducted hundreds of low-level aerial overflights, with both NGOs and multiple government agencies in Latin America, mapping the Meso-American Barrier Reef System, and documenting damaged watersheds and deforestation as far south as the Peruvian Amazon. David is a commercial/single/multi-engine/land/sea/glider/instrument rated pilot with over 4500 hours experience on three continents.

With the birth of two daughters and our return to a base in Santa Fe, New Mexico, CAVU is currently focused on critical issues here at home.

When not working, David enjoys time with his family and friends – hiking, camping, fishing…and skiing above all else.


Jordan Smith

Founder and Executive Director

Jordan grew up in San Antonio, Texas. She graduated from the American University of Paris with a degree in International Economics. She then moved to Istanbul, Turkey, where she was employed by the brokerage firm FinansInvest, and conducted quantitative market analysis of the Istanbul Stock Exchange.

Following the collapse of the Turkish Lira in 2001, Jordan returned to the States and was working for Wells Fargo in New Mexico when she met her future husband. Jordan and David founded CAVU in 2004 and moved to Costa Rica as a hub for operations throughout Latin America. With the exception of a much-needed sabbatical after the birth of her second daughter, Jordan has served as CAVU’s Executive Director since its inception. She has managed a growing staff and all financial matters, as well as important creative and strategic decisions.

With our return to the United States and a home in Santa Fe, Jordan now serves as an active board member of Communities in Schools of Santa Fe. She directs funding from the Jordan and David Smith Fund at the Santa Fe Community Foundation, focusing on education, the environment and economic development. She also serves as a director of the St Catherines Island Foundation.

When she’s not busy with the various endeavors of work life Jordan enjoys skiing, yoga, cooking and camping. She loves languages, cultures, human relations and problem-solving.


Sebastian Troëng


Dr. Sebastian Troëng is the Executive Vice President at Conservation International. The Division covers 10 countries in Latin America and its team of 120 staff delivers conservation outcomes so people can thrive. Dr. Troëng holds a Masters degree in marine environmental protection from the University of Wales and a Doctoral degree in animal zoology from Lund University, Sweden. He has worked on ocean health and development issues for over 20 years, including in Costa Rica, Panama, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Fiji, Australia, Greece, UK and USA. Sebastian has published extensively on conservation and the economic benefits of ecosystems. In 2010, Sebastian was named a “40-under-40 International Development Leader” in Washington DC. He enjoys being over and under water to observe submarine vistas, diverse and abundant ocean life, and engage with the human communities who depend on healthy ecosystems.

David Godfrey


David Godfrey is Executive Director of the nonprofit Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC). Formerly known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, the STC is the world’s oldest sea turtle research and conservation group. Founded in 1959 by Dr. Archie Carr—the world’s leading authority on sea turtles—the Florida-based STC continues a 50-year-long effort to study and protect sea turtles in the U.S. and around the world.
Godfrey has been involved professionally in environmental conservation for over 20 years. Since 1993 he has been focused on sea turtle and coastal habitat issues. David has authored numerous articles and papers on environmental matters, with an emphasis on coastal protection and sea turtles. He has participated in numerous sea turtle research projects, and he has written and/or narrated numerous documentaries and videos pertaining to sea turtle and coastal conservation issues.
During his tenure with STC, Godfrey led the effort to establish Florida’s sea turtle specialty license plate, which is now the main funding source for sea turtle protection in Florida. Godfrey is Chairman of the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program, which awards annual financial support for sea turtle research and education projects benefiting Florida sea turtles. He also is a member of the World Conservation Union’s Marine Turtle Specialist Group.
In his spare time, David enjoys surfing, fishing, cycling and occasionally the frustrating game of golf.

Jeff Phipps


Jeff Phipps, a Florida native, received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University. Since then he has been involved in many conservation and development projects both within the state of Florida and beyond. From 2011 to 2014 Jeff held a seat on the Board of the Tallahassee Housing Authority, he is also on the Board of the Old Westbury Gardens since 2008 and the Sea Turtle Conservancy since 1991. Jeff is a father of two and resides with his family in Tallahassee Florida. He often lends a hand to his wife Mary Phipps who over the last ten years has built a flourishing farm that includes eight acres of USDA certified organic vegetables, a honey operation, an ever-growing herd of beef cattle and a thriving Community Supported Agriculture program. Jeff’s commitment to the environment comes from a long line of family involvement who believes in environmental sustainability, he is the grandson of Sea Turtle Conservancy co-founder John H. Phipps. Currently Jeff is the owner of Growth Operations.

Garrett VeneKlasen


Garrett was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico and spent his childhood hunting, fishing, camping, and exploring with his father throughout the mountains, grasslands, deserts, and wetlands of New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona. Before becoming the Executive Director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, he was the SW Director of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project as well as Trout Unlimited’s New Mexico Public Lands Coordinator. Garrett also founded the New Mexico Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Garrett is a prolific outdoor writer and photographer and at one time hosted his own outdoor television show on ESPN (“Fly Fishing America”). His writing and photography have been published in Field & Stream, Men’s Journal, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Fly Fisherman, High Country News, The Angling Report, and Orvis News.

A former fishing and big-game hunting outfitter and guide in both New Mexico, Colorado, and abroad, he also owned and operated an outdoor travel agency for 22 years (InterAngler, LLC) that sent clients hunting and fishing around the world (specializing in trips throughout Central and South America). Following a year abroad in Spain through Syracuse University, Garrett received a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico with a major in Latin American Studies and a minor in Spanish & Portuguese languages. He is fluent in both languages. Contact him at garrett@nullnmwildlife.org.

Charles Wilson, PhD


Charlie Wilson is a portfolio manager for Thornburg Investment Management in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He joined the firm in 2012 as ­associate portfolio ­manager and was promoted to portfolio manager in 2014.He currently co-manages the Thornburg Developing World Fund. Prior to joining Thornburg, Charlie served as co-portfolio manager for Marsico Capital Management in Denver, Colorado. He was responsible for portfolio investments across multiple strategies and geographies, with specialization in materials, energy, technology, and payments sectors.

Charlie earned a BS in geology from the University of Arizona in Tucson and a PhD in geophysics from the University of Colorado in Boulder. After graduate school, Charlie moved to Stanford University where he was the George A Thompson post-doctoral fellow in the department of Geophysics. Charlie finished his academic research career as a Research Associate in the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City.

Charlie lives in Santa Fe with his wife, May, and children, Camille and Carter.

Roger Fragua


Roger is recognized nationally as one of the major proponents of Indian energy development and is one of the foremost experts on Native American energy in the country. Roger Fragua has dedicated his professional career to the advancement and development of American Indian communities. The basis for Roger’s commitment to Indian Country is steeped in his long-tenured background as the Tribal Administrator for his own Tribe. Prior to forming Cota, Roger served as the Deputy Director of The Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT), a Denver-based national organization where he administered the day-to-day business operations of a 57 member Inter-Tribal non-profit entity that helped to change the national landscape and legislation guaranteeing Tribes a role in the U.S. energy economy.

Besides working to establish a multi-Tribal energy networking alliance with several regional Inter-Tribal organizations to move the cause of Tribal energy forward, he built strong alliances with various state and federal agencies, external partners and private sector companies. Roger also worked with theWestern Governors’ Association and the National Tribal Environmental Council on State and Tribal relations as it relates to environmental issues. In addition, Roger worked for several years as an executive at Enron, in charge of the implementation of Indian energy projects throughout the country. He established Tribal contacts with the leadership from 90% of Indian Country for potential project development, to include: gas pipelines, power plant generation, renewable energy developments, telecommunications, and manufacturing and other economic development projects.

Roger specializes in creating innovative business concepts and promoting partnerships between Tribes and industry. He has created, developed and implemented cutting edge commercial business structures and a corporate program promoting partnerships between Indian Tribes and Corporate America with a focus on capitalizing on Tribal regulatory and tax advantages. Throughout his career, Roger has maintained strict loyalty to Tribes, and any negotiation or deal structuring that Roger has been engaged in is always with the ultimate purpose of securing the maximum advantage for Tribal interests. Roger is married to Clarice from San Felipe Pueblo and has three sons and one daughter.

Meredith Dixon


Meredith is the principle of Blue Advantage Partners, a fundraising consulting firm and Advanced Legislative Leadership Services (ALLS) LLC a local, private consulting group that provides strategic and comprehensive consulting services to Democratic candidates and Democrat-aligned donors and organizations in the state of New Mexico.  Before establishing Blue Advantage Partners, Meredith served as Senator Tom Udall’s Finance Director from 2008 to 2015.  In 2014, she oversaw a budget of almost $10 million, including both the Udall and coordinated campaign efforts.  Prior to working for Senator Udall, she worked for Governor Bill Richardson’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns, the Democratic Party of New Mexico, Kerry-Edwards, and Citizens for Global Solutions Pittsburgh.

She is also a founding member of Engaging New Mexico, Invest to Elect Women New Mexico, and Albuquerque Involved.  Meredith attended Chatham College, a small women’s college for her B.A. and then received an M.A. in International Political Economy from the University of Pittsburgh. She and her husband live in Albuquerque with their two daughters, ages 8 and 7.