Panel Explores Hurdles, Opportunities For Women in Environmental Leadership

Note: Yale School of the Environment (YSE) was formerly known as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). News articles and events posted prior to July 1, 2020 refer to the School's name at that time.

women environmental leadership event Margaret H. Marshall, left, Debra Moskovits, Joyce Berry, and Jackie Roberts.
In a new course launched this semester at F&ES, students are learning about leadership by studying the most iconic figures in the history of the environmental movement and the strategies of today’s most accomplished leaders. But they are also being asked to reflect on the values driving them to become the environmental leaders of tomorrow — and how they might get there.
Where did their personal values and ethics come from? How can they cultivate these values? What societal needs might they help serve? And how can each individual leverage his or her own strengths to lead others?
But there is another question organizers of the course, including F&ES Dean Peter Crane, wanted to confront: What are the unique challenges and opportunities facing women who aspire to leadership roles? 
On Thursday, Sept. 25, the class — “Environmental Leadership and Biography: Values, Decision Making and Impact in Environmental Management” — will host a panel discussion, “Women in Environmental Leadership,” which will feature four women who have reached the highest levels of their fields.
As women aspiring to make positive social impacts, it is crucial that we have role models to whom we can look to in our work. Each of our panelists sets such an example.
— Frances Sawyer ’12 B.A. ’15 M.F.
Participants include Debra Moskovits, Vice President of Science and Education at the Field Museum in Chicago; Joyce Berry, Emeritus Dean at the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University; and Jackie Roberts ’89 M.E.M. ’89 M.B.A., the Chief Sustainability Officer at The Carlyle Group and former Executive for the Environmental Defense Fund.
The discussion will be moderated by Margaret H. Marshall ’76 LAW, a former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Senior Fellow of the Yale Corporation. Marshall, who was the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts court, wrote more than 300 opinions, including the 2003 decision that legalized gay marriage in the state.
The discussion, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Burke Auditorium, is open to the public.
“As women aspiring to make positive social impacts, it is crucial that we have role models to whom we can look to in our work. Each of our panelists sets such an example,” said Frances Sawyer ’12 B.A. ’15 M.F., one of the course organizers. “Each of our speakers has broken new ground for women in their profession and is the first woman to tackle their leadership position within their organization. Their tenacity and accomplishment provides a needed and welcome model.”
Yale Environmental Women, a student interest group that explores the roles women play in the environmental movement, will host a post-event discussion for students at 7:30 p.m. in the Knobloch Environment Center.
“Our fundamental aim at F&ES is to train the next generation of environmental leaders, but we have to realize that women are still underrepresented at the highest levels in many professional fields,” said Dean Crane. “We wanted to explore this issue as part of this course. And we couldn’t have found a better group of professionals to address this critical issue through the lens of their own personal experiences and extraordinary achievements.” 
The “Environmental Leadership” course was designed in tandem with another new course — “Structuring Success: Skills and People Required to Convert Social Ideas into Positive Community Reality,” taught by Dean Crane and Christopher Glenn Sawyer — which teaches students how to take their vision and values and achieve lasting social change.
– Kevin Dennehy    203 436-4842