Executive Personal Assistant to the President

Lisa has considerable experience in business management, hospitality services and as a personal assistant to high-level officials. She also has a deep connection to the natural world, and especially gorillas.

“I grew up in the Santa Cruz Redwoods and can’t remember a time when I didn't love animals. I brought home every wounded or abandoned animal I found in the woods: snakes, newts, mice, and birds, to rehabilitate and release. I’ve spent a lot of time backpacking in the Sierras and hiking in Yosemite. All of my jobs as a teen were geared around animals. I was a pet groomer and was working at a pet store when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit. Even there, I rescued all the animals that survived and took them home until I could find quality homes for all of them (even the scorpions).”

Before entering the business world, Lisa worked for Greenpeace and was a docent at a marine laboratory, where she participated in the rehabilitation of dolphins and sea lions.

Lisa became very interested in gorillas when she read Gorillas in the Mist and Woman in the Mist.  Dian Fossey became a hero to her. “From there, I found the Gorilla Foundation (and Koko) which I followed for years, and eventually became a volunteer.”

In 2014, Lisa joined the Gorilla Foundation staff, as Executive Personal Assistant to its president, Dr. Penny Patterson. “One of my goals is to make it possible for Penny to spend more quality time with Koko, so that we all can continue to benefit from one of the most powerfully uplifting relationships the world has ever known.

Contact Us



The Gorilla Foundation /
1733 Woodside Rd., Suite 330
Redwood City, CA, 94061
1-800-ME-GO-APE (634-6273)

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Our mission is to learn about gorillas by communicating with them, and apply our knowledge to advance great ape conservation, education, care and empathy.

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