Staff Bios

Emily Collins

Communications Manager
contact: or call (212) 396-5873

As the Communications Manager for Washington Square Park Conservancy, Emily gets to connect people from all around the world with the beauty of the Park, both digitally and in-person. Before joining the WSPC team, Emily was a part of the Brilliant Earth team in San Francisco and was the inaugural Marketing and Communications Fellow at GlobalGiving in D.C. After graduating with her degree in Sociology from Southern Connecticut State University in 2015, Emily knew she wanted to work for mission-driven nonprofit organizations. When she’s not “geeking” out over the latest digital media trends, you can often find Emily exploring Manhattan’s food scene, listening to her favorite podcasts (she is always open to suggestions!), or making funny faces at babies on public transportation.

George Vellonakis

Executive Director

GeorgeGeorge Vellonakis, Executive Director, is the Washington Square Park Administrator and an employee of NYC Parks and Recreation. As the Conservancy Director, George guides the organization’s efforts in support of the park, while in his Administrator role, he manages all park concerns, in partnership with the Parks operations team and the Parks Department.

George has worked as a landscape architect for NYC Parks since August 1986, serving in various roles and designing prominent public spaces around the city.  He is well-known for his design of Washington Square Park, which was completely restored and improved through his three-phase plan completed in June 2014. Throughout his career, he has maintained a standard of design excellence for public parks and spaces, winning many awards for his efforts.

As a long-time Villager who uses the park on a daily basis with his dachshund Troy, there’s no one who knows or loves the park more than George.

Sheryl Woodruff

Community Development Director
contact: or call (212) 588-5659

Sheryl Woodruff joined as Community Development Director in January of 2015 and works to build the Conservancy’s base of supporters and funders. Previously, Sheryl served with the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the Paley Center for Media, the Connecticut Historical Society, and the Nathan Hale Homestead. From 2008-2013 she served on the board of the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition. Currently, she serves on the board of Convergence Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing and promoting the art of improvisation. Sheryl holds a BA from Boston University and an MA in History from the University of Connecticut. When not working on behalf of Washington Square Park, Sheryl enjoys hiking, reading, and baking.