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Mystic Aquarium Leadership

Leadership

KATIE CUBINA
Acting President and CEO, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR MISSION PROGRAMS

In her current role as Acting President and CEO and Senior Vice President for Mission Programs, Ms. Cubina leverages her more than 20 years of non-profit experience to oversee the institution, and specifically the mission-based initiatives at Mystic Aquarium, bringing together education, research, ocean policy, and exhibits under the banner of conservation. As the Project Director on a 2.5-mill grant from the Department of Justice, she oversees the development and implementation of the conservation-focused STEM Mentoring program with thousands of youth in over one-hundred high-needs communities around the nation.

She currently serves on the Aquarium Conservation Partnership executive and policy committees, has published in scholarly journals, including Current, the Journal of Marine Education, and has served on a number of expert panels in the field of conservation and youth mentoring.

Katie Cubina holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College and a M.Ed. in Science and Environmental Education from the University of Maine.

When not working, she spends her time enjoying nature with her husband, two teenage boys and their beloved dog.

KORAY GURZ
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER and chief operating officer

With over 17 years of financial leadership experience, Koray Gurz applies his knowledge of investments, banking, finance and taxation, along with other strategic initiatives, to the Aquarium’s financial management, organizational goals and execution of mission programs. Gurz began his career at a public accounting firm. Throughout his career, he has performed financial statement audits and reviews of companies in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). He was specialized in the non-profit industry before transferring his skills to the financial management of a non-profit educational organization overseeing all financials, departmental budgets, general accounting and legal agreements.

As the Aquarium’s CFO, Gurz directs, coordinates and evaluates various financial functions operated by his team of banking and finance professionals. He is responsible for the financial management of the organization which includes budget development, oversight of financial control, collaboration with lenders and other stakeholders all while participating in strategic and operational management processes of the organization.

Gurz holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Dokuz Eylul University in Turkey and an MBA from the University of Hartford. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a member of the American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA) and the Connecticut Society of CPA’s (CTCPA).

KEITH SORENSON
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF FACILITIES & CAPITAL PROJECTS

For 46 years, Keith Sorenson has been an invaluable member of Mystic Aquarium’s team. He was the first person hired by the maintenance department several months before Mystic Aquarium opened its doors on October 6, 1973. Sorenson’s first job was creating infrastructure for exhibits. From his initial project to his current responsibilities, Sorenson has been instrumental in the planning and construction of the Aquarium’s major exhibits like the Pacific Northwest, Arctic Coast, Ocean Conservation Center and most recently the Milne Ocean Science and Conservation Center. Currently, Sorenson oversees facility maintenance, HVAC, and Safety & Security.

ALLISON D. TUTTLE, DVM, DIPLOMATE ACZM
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF ZOOLOGICAL OPERATIONS
Allison Tuttle

Dr. Allison D. Tuttle is the Chief Zoological Officer at Mystic Aquarium where she serves on the Aquarium’s Leadership Team and oversees the Aquarium’s veterinary, animal husbandry, dive, environmental quality, and animal rescue operations. She contributes to numerous research and grant initiatives and has authored nearly 30 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals. Dr. Tuttle serves as a mentor for students and veterinary interns. Within the community, Dr. Tuttle has been recognized as a Woman of Innovation and with a 40 Under 40 award.

Dr. Tuttle served as a Fulbright Program Specialist in 2018, traveling to the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium in Taiwan to train staff and build capacity in animal care and veterinary medicine for the organization’s aquatic animal collection, with a focus on the Aquarium’s belugas. 

Within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Dr. Tuttle serves as co-chair of the Aquarium Affairs Committee and Honors and Awards Committee, is a member of the Animal Health Committee, and is an AZA accreditation inspector, having been recognized as a 2018 Inspector of the Year. Previously, Dr Tuttle served on AZA’s Ethics Board and completed the Executive Leadership Development Program.

Dr. Tuttle is currently serving as the Board Member for Education within the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine (IAAAM), and previously served as IAAAM’s Chair of the Student Liaison Committee. Dr. Tuttle is currently serving as the President Elect on the Executive Committee within the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV), and previously served on the AAZV Scientific Program Committee from 2014-2018, receiving an AAZV Presidential Award in 2018 for committee service. Dr. Tuttle is a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM) and received an ACZM Presidential Award in 2016 for her service to on the ACZM’s Credentialing Committee. Dr. Tuttle is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine.

Dr. Tuttle earned her BS in Biology and Psychology from Washington College and her DVM from North Carolina State University. She completed Mystic Aquarium’s Internship in Aquatic Animal Medicine and Research and completed a Residency in Zoological Medicine with a focus on Aquatic Health Management at North Carolina State University.

TINA COUCH
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF DEVELOPMENT

Tina Couch has a demonstrated history of successful fundraising work in primary and secondary education. She joins the Aquarium after spending 15 years working in independent schools as a development professional. Couch has held a variety of leadership roles, most recently as Director of Development at Rumsey Hall School in Connecticut. Prior to that, she spent a decade as the Director of Major Gifts at Collegiate School in New York City. In 2018, she completed a historic $250M building project that required a $90M capital fund raise. Couch is skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Major Gifts, Annual Giving, Philanthropy, Governance and Strategic Planning.

As the Senior Vice President of Development, Couch is responsible for raising revenue for operations and capital projects by designing and implementing a comprehensive plan for cultivating and realizing philanthropic support. She serves as a key member of the senior leadership team and is an active participant in the Aquarium’s strategic decisions.

Couch has a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in English Language and Literature from Trinity College-Hartford.

KELLY MATIS
VICE PRESIDENT EDUCATION & CONSERVATION

Kelly Matis serves as Vice President of Education & Conservation, a role she has held at Mystic Aquarium for over 12 years.  She received her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Rochester and her M.S. in Environmental Education from Southern CT State University.  In her role, Matis provides organizational leadership and strategic direction on education and conservation initiatives, has oversight of curriculum development, budget management, supervision of departmental staff and developing and fostering partnerships and relationships with the community, formal and informal education entities, environmental organizations, professional groups and funders. 

Matis is an advisor and past Chair of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Conservation Education Committee, the education advisor to the AZA Aquarium Affairs Committee, a member of the Steering Committee of the Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center Network through NOAA’s Department of Education and a Board Member of the local Stonington Education Fund.

C. RODNEY DANIELS
VICE PRESIDENT OF GUEST EXPERIENCE

C. Rodney Daniels is a customer service leader who partners with department leaders and staff to enhance the guest experience, drive revenue, and reduce costs. After spending nearly 25 years working in customer service and operations for multimillion dollar aquariums and zoos, Daniels knows that what truly drives the guest experience is how well you connect with the heart-beating people you’re trying to educate and entertain.

Daniels honed his skills as a leader in customer service, theater operations, event production, retail operations and security at Audubon Nature Institute, New Orleans, and Dallas Zoo. He successfully reopened a major attraction after Hurricane Katrina, created a business plan resulting in over $1 million in revenue and reduced hard costs by just under $1 million. Daniels has served on the board for the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern LA and was a committee member for Giant Screen Cinema Association.

As the Vice President of Guest Experience, Daniels will manage guest services, interpretation, membership sales and services, all retail, food and beverage partnerships and create and manage a concierge level VIP guest program.

Daniels holds a BA in communications and journalism from Southern University in Baton Rouge.

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