About Us

Natalie Byrne

Natalie Byrne

Operations Director

608-208-1137 • natalie@conservationvoters.org


As Operations Director, Natalie is the glue of Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters. She oversees human resources, internal systems, bookkeeping, and financial management and planning. Natalie also designs and produces printed and digital membership communications and educational materials and manages the website. Natalie acts as a resource and problem solver for staff, and strives to improve operational systems to make fulfilling the organization’s mission just a little easier. She started as a Development intern in 2009 and joined the staff in 2010.

I’m a conservation voter because clean air and water and wild outdoor spaces should be considered basic rights available to all, no matter your economic or social status.

My Story

Growing up in Milwaukee, I spent as much time as I could outside – climbing trees, playing in the park down the block, or just running around the backyard, but it never felt like enough. I was lucky that I was able to spend summers up north at my grandparents’ house right on Bass Lake. It was in that sprawling backyard and on that lakefront that I became fascinated by the natural world, watching the trees change, observing the transformation of tadpoles into frogs, and noticing the water level in the slew vary from year to year as we canoed through it. I loved that moment when we would hop in my grandparents’ RV (my dad’s back wasn’t fond of sleeping on the ground) on our way to explore more of Wisconsin’s beautiful Northwoods.

As an adult, I developed a better appreciation for how lucky I was to spend so much time in those places…and how lucky we all are in Wisconsin that these wild places are there and (at least in theory) accessible to all. It was that understanding that drove me to enter the Life Sciences Communication program at the University of Wisconsin, where I paired my science background with valuable writing, speaking, design, and marketing skills.

I became increasingly concerned with the lack of protection and foresight our natural resources were receiving from elected officials and by the time I graduated, I knew I wanted to work for conservation. I found Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters and worked as a development intern for a year – not giving up hope that a position would open up – before starting as Development Associate in 2010. Over the years I’ve worked in development, communications, and administration. Now, as the Operations Director, I serve as the backbone to one of Wisconsin’s most effective conservation and political organizations.

Background

  • University of Wisconsin, Madison: BA, Life Sciences Communication; Certificate in Criminal Justice
  • Previous work experience includes: managing various court-ordered youth and community programs; graphic design, layout, and web building with several organizations; and, in the private sector, facilitating a store transition from a national chain to a locally owned business and management of staff
  • Continuing education includes:
    • Completion of the Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) program
    • Nonprofit financial planning
    • Professional training in the Adobe Design Suite
    • Several MOOC (online) courses, including sustainability of food systems
  • Board Member for Community Shares of Wisconsin
  • Member of Madison’s Young Nonprofit Professionals Network

Interests

  • Hiking, kayaking, exploring and going on adventures (both close to home and in far off lands), playing board games, rooting for Wisconsin sports, and letting my two cats take me for a walk

Favorite Place in Wisconsin

  • The Nicolet Forest and the lakes hidden within