By a vote of 87 to 11, the U.S. Senate approved Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) chief executive Sally Jewell on Wednesday as the next Secretary of the Interior.
Obama’s nomination of Sally to this Cabinet post made national news and sent waves of enthusiasm through the conservation and recreation community.
President Obama tapped Sally Jewell from the business world as an executive with a thoughtful approach that visualizes economic success in balance with preserving the natural world. She was a founding member and served for 22 years on the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust Board of Directors, and as President from 2001-2004.
Sally will relocate to Washington, D.C., to lead the 67,000-employee Department of the Interior, which manages 500 million acres of land, or about one-fifth of the United States. The National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bureau of Indian Affairs are all part of the Department of the Interior. The Department conserves natural lands and cultural heritage, and generates more than $18 billion in annual revenue from energy, mineral, grazing, timber, and recreation.
Greenway Trust President Bill Chapman explains that Sally is known locally as a respected leader and passionate advocate for conservation, recreation, and outdoor education. “This is a person rich in natural leadership talent and the judgment to use it with wisdom and skill,” says Chapman. “Beyond that, as everyone knows who comes to our annual Greenway dinners, Sally Jewell is a joy!”
Greenway Trust founder Jim Ellis praises Sally’s business and conservation credentials. “Sally tackles issues of environmental protection and climate stability in the Mountains to Sound Greenway, and issues of global poverty in the Initiative for Global Development. These complex problems will impact the future of life on the planet,” says Ellis. “And in REI, Sally saw a special bridge between profitable enterprise and public good.
“She understands that we live on a finite planet, but she also understands that the economy needs resources to grow and prosper,” Ellis says. “I’m impressed she’s been able to march through this mix.”
Sally’s business career has progressed from beginning as an engineer, to a succession of leadership roles in banking, to President and CEO of outdoor gear cooperative REI for the last 7 years. Her civic achievements include serving as President of the University of Washington Board of Regents, as Chair of the Initiative for Global Development, and as a board member of organizations such as the National Parks Conservation Association and YWCA.
The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust presented Sally with a Greenway Hall of Fame award in November 2012, recognizing her leadership and an extraordinary capacity to share her love of the outdoors with people of all ages, thereby encouraging future stewards of the Greenway and helping make the success story of the Greenway a lasting legacy of conservation.