John Francis began his career as a behavioral ecologist and after earning his PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz spent five years as a postdoctoral fellow and research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. In six years with National Geographic Television, Francis covered everything from chimps and tigers to whales and sharks. For much of this time, he also served on the Society's Committee for Research and Exploration, offering expertise on marine mammals and serving as a conduit to National Geographic media. Today Francis directs the Society’s worldwide grant programs through the Committee for Research and Exploration, Conservation Trust, and the Expeditions Council. Given his background, Dr. Francis is uniquely positioned to ensure that the knowledge gleaned from the Society’s research and expeditions grants is shared with the public through the vast reach of the Geographic. Dr. Francis was appointed to the National Park System Advisory Board in 2004 and serves as Chairman of the Advisory Board’s science committee.