Senior Director of Government Affairs and Conservation Policy
Andrea Densham works with public- and private-sector partners to achieve conservation successes at local, regional and national levels.
M.A., political science, University of Chicago
B.A., University of Massachusetts
“Seahorses have sparked my curiosity since I was a small child watching Jacques Cousteau. They highlight the importance of maintaining healthy habitats, reducing pollution and establishing protections for these beautiful, majestic creatures.”
Andrea Densham joined Shedd Aquarium in 2017 to lead the newly launched Conservation Policy and Advocacy team. Created to enhance Shedd’s position as a policy expert, Densham’s team develops and implements the institution’s policy goals. A government affairs thought leader and advisor, she brings more than 20 years of experience in not-for-profit management, strategic planning, research, and public policy and advocacy.
She identifies agency assets; cultivates alliances among chief executives, government officials and community leaders; and mobilizes scientific experts to create impactful initiatives at the local, regional and national levels. Working with diverse public and private sector partners, she is passionate about creating sustainable solutions in evolving environments.
Prior to Shedd, Densham served as vice president of government affairs and public health at Prevent Blindness America and as executive director of the Childcare Network of Evanston. Over her career, Densham established numerous expert panels, leadership councils and national coalitions that brought together community stakeholders, public officials, federal and state leadership, and private sector executives to achieve lasting impact. A lifelong advocate and activist, Densham is also former director of HIV Services for the City of Chicago, where she and her team educated elected officials and civic leaders on critical issues, advanced groundbreaking federal policy and secured critical resources.
A Michigan native, Densham traces her love of aquatic life to her childhood surrounded by the Great Lakes and young adulthood spent working on the New England Aquarium’s whale watch boats. She is dedicated to empowering individuals to advance Shedd’s tremendous legacy of sparking compassion, curiosity and conservation of the aquatic world.
Densham is on the faculty at Saint Xavier University; she has previously taught at Roosevelt and DePaul Universities. She has written widely on social movements, political participation, health policy and women’s, lesbian and LGBTQ issues. She holds a BA from the University of Massachusetts and an MA in political science from the University of Chicago.