Kerry took the reins at Wisconsin Conservation Voters in 2004 and rapidly moved the organization from a two-person startup to the political force it is today. From day one, Kerry led Wisconsin Conservation Voters to adopt a locally-based citizen engagement model, believing firmly that citizens must lead and be engaged in their democracy in order to protect the environment. As Executive Director, Kerry’s focus is developing top-notch staff, building an effective Board of Directors, working directly with our supporters, and helping the entire team stay focused on the mission and vision of Wisconsin Conservation Voters.
I grew up on a farm in Waukesha County, in a big family that was always deeply involved in the community. From 4-H to Special Olympics to church and school activities, we were the first family to volunteer. I’ve never lost that sense of community involvement, taking on many of my own projects in high school, college, and adulthood – writing a column for my town newspaper, tutoring children, raising money for food shelters, chaperoning my daughter’s field trips, and much more.
Living on a farm, I was no stranger to hard work. Like all farm kids, if you could walk, you were expected to help out – baling hay, weeding the garden, mucking out stalls, and, of course, the animals had to be fed and milked every day. I had paying jobs by the time I was 11, mowing neighbors’ lawns and babysitting.
Love of the outdoors was also ingrained in me from day one. My family’s best memories are from “Camp Corbin” – now known as Page Creek Marsh State Natural Area. It was one of the few places in Wisconsin where Sandhill Cranes nested before they made their big comeback. Our camping trips were marked by the Sandhills – waking up in the tent to their distinctive call, bushwhacking through the marsh to get closer to their nesting area, and even seeing them walk into our campsite, bold as can be.
As an adult, these three values – community, hard work, and conservation – are central to what I do for a living, how I raise my daughter, Emma, and how I live my daily life. Wisconsin Conservation Voters has given me a profession that I love and that allows me to work every day to create a world that is healthy and thriving for all of us, and to teach others the skills to do the same.
- University of Wisconsin-Madison: Bachelor of Arts in African American studies
- More than 20 years of experience leading Wisconsin conservation organizations
- Five years of experience teaching outdoor education
- Serves in an official capacity mentoring new nonprofit directors in the many aspects of leadership, from strategic planning to staff management and board development
- Serves on the Board of Directors of the national League of Conservation Voters
- Serves on the Board of Directors of Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
- Served on Wisconsin Women Forward for Environmental Education
- Member of Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center’s Legacy Campaign Committee
- Has completed many continuing education programs, including Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education program “Governance as Leadership”
- More than two decades of experience serving on and chairing nonprofit Boards of Directors
I enjoy gardening, reading, traveling, and introducing my daughter to amazing places in this country and beyond.
I’m a conservation voter because I believe it is unconscionable that every person in Wisconsin doesn’t have safe drinking water and clean air, and because I am constantly amazed at our natural world, whether it is as small as an emerging monarch or as big as Lake Superior.
Favorite place in Wisconsin: Page Creek Marsh near Montello