NWF EcoLeaders Top 50 Inspirations on Authenticity and Resilience

To the students across the country who are donning their graduation caps, receiving their diplomas, and entering the workforce (or embarking on a variety of other rewarding paths!), we encourage you to be fearless in spreading your wings and soaring toward new horizons while also remembering to nurture yourself along the way.

EcoLeaders Top 50 Inspirations MayThroughout 2016, the EcoLeaders Career Center, hosted by the National Wildlife Federation and partners, is celebrating the motivating stories and career accomplishments of young professionals making their names (and a difference) in the sustainability movement. We’re calling this group of change-makers and rising stars “The EcoLeaders List” and are announcing a new group of inspirational leaders each month this year. We’re honored to present the next group of four inspiring young EcoProfessionals as part of our “NWF EcoLeaders Top 50 Inspirations of 2016” series.

Featured EcoProfessionals for May

Our fourth group of four EcoProfessionals were recently interviewed for the National EcoLeader Career Center. These featured four below each described the importance of branching out and trying new things while also staying true to one’s strengths and passions.

Photo by Ian Johnson

Photo by Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson: Ian is the Sustainability Director at Colorado College. As an NWF Fellow in 2009, Ian developed a theoretical rotational management plan for 425 acres in a nearby state park that provided a holistically integrated model for native prairie restoration in conjunction with optimized management of rare, threatened, and endangered (RTE) grassland species for the sake of profit-driven, carbon-negative climate initiatives in the upper Midwest. Read Ian’s full interview here.

“Step outside of your comfort zone and engage with new people in areas that are outside of your core competencies. [But to avoid burnout], we all need to relax and take a little time and enjoy ourselves in our endeavors as we strive to make the world a better place. – Ian Johnson

Photo by Bri Jones

Photo by Bri Jones

Bri Jones: Bri is the Executive Director at Equality State Policy Center, an advocacy and civic engagement coalition organization in Wyoming. She is also a board member here at the National Wildlife Federation and traces her involvement with NWF back to our Wyoming affiliate, the Wyoming Wildlife Federation. Read Bri’s full interview here.

“The reason I got involved specifically with the affiliates at the National Wildlife Federation is that I was working in politics immediately out of college and felt like I wasn’t able to express the full range of my interests and hadn’t been engaged in the conservation conversations as I wanted to be, and so I reached out to the affiliate and said, ‘I want to be involved, what can I do?’” – Bri Jones

Photo by Daniel Weisshaar

Photo by Daniel Weisshaar

Daniel Weisshaar: Daniel is a Produce Manager and Buyer at Glen’s Garden Market in Washington, DC where he purchases, merchandises and sells produce grown in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. He also educates the public about eating seasonally and locally and puts together seasonal CSAs and recipes. In 2009, he was a global warming policy intern with NWF. Read Daniel’s full interview here.

“Seeing all of that hard work dissolve because of the political realities at the time, it definitely got me thinking about how else I could have an impact… [My mentor] creates an environment where we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and make them right.” – Daniel Weisshar

Kaylon (pictured second from left) with clean-up volunteers. Photo by Kaylon Paterson

Kaylon (pictured second from left) with clean-up volunteers. Photo by Kaylon Paterson

Kaylon Paterson: Kaylon is a Certified EcoLeader and an alumnus at Morehouse College. The project for which Kaylon received certification sought to unify the student sustainability organizations at three campuses (Clark Atlanta, Spelman and Morehouse) and a coordinated clean-up event. Read Kaylon’s full interview here.

“I realized that I was pulling myself away from who I was – which was the person who cares about the environment, who stops to really absorb nature and really appreciate it. Then in my sophomore year here, I started working with my school to encourage people to care and to be active, voice their opinions, clean up, etc.” – Kaylon Paterson

Read full interviews in the NWF EcoLeaders Career Center.

EcoLeaders is the nation’s first project-based leadership development program for sustainability, leading to certification for college students and young professionals. EcoLeaders provides a career edge that helps the planet while helping thousands of emerging leaders do well by doing good for their communities.

If you think that you, or someone you know, would be a great addition to this list as it grows throughout the year and beyond, please send us a brief email with contact information and a quick bio at ecoleaders@nwf.org.

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