Saying Goodbye to Conservation & Advocacy Director Katherine Hollis

After more than six years directing The Mountaineers conservation and advocacy efforts, Katherine Hollis will be leaving The Mountaineers in January. With appreciation, join us in saying goodbye and thank you to Katherine, and learn about our future plans for the department.
Tom Vogl Tom Vogl
Mountaineers CEO
December 21, 2019

For more than six years, Katherine Hollis has been leading our conservation and advocacy efforts. She's transformed the way we engage in national policy issues, served as an influential and highly-respected voice on important regional work, and has engaged our Mountaineers community in many critical conservation efforts. In January, she'll be leaving The Mountaineers, and we're so grateful for the incredible impact Katherine has made while she was here. 

Katherine has been a champion for the outdoor experience since day one, connecting our members and programs to protecting these landscapes we hold dear. She unified our voices to speak for the trails where we wander, the mountains we climb, and the waters we paddle. Thanks to her dedication, The Mountaineers are a highly-regarded and leading voice for protecting the outdoor experience in the Pacific Northwest, and beyond. 

As The Mountaineers CEO, I've had the pleasure of working with Katherine for nearly four years, and I continue to be in awe of the relationships she's built and the way she champions public lands for all of us. Under Katherine's leadership, The Mountaineers became the first non-founding member of Outdoor Alliance, further amplifying the voices of Mountaineers members on a national scale. She oversaw the development of our Protecting Public Lands 101 Course to educate not just Mountaineers members, but all outdoor recreationists on the basics of our national public lands systems and conservation legislation. And she's engaged our community dozens of times on important public lands issues. In 2019, with over 5,000 of your  voices, The Mountaineers joined other partners to help protect the Methow Valley from industrial-scale mining, designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway a National Heritage Area, and permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. All of these actions represent years of work, and we will be reaping the benefits of Katherine's efforts for many years to come.

I also admire Katherine's commitment to engaging all voices in this effort, from our members and volunteers to others who have traditionally been welcomed in the outdoors. She's intentional about inviting participants from all backgrounds to assure that our work centers the all perspectives.

In January, after more than six years with The Mountaineers, Katherine will be taking over a new helm as Executive Director of a new Pacific Northwest nonprofit. Please join  me in thanking Katherine for her many contributions, and congratulating her on her next step! Read more about her new challenge and how we'll be filling her big shoes below, or take a trip in the time machine to view Katherine's 10 Essential Questions from 2015.

A note from Katherine:

"Establishing and growing The Mountaineers modern conservation work has been an absolute honor. I believe in the importance of connecting people to place, and The Mountaineers ‘special sauce’ is building the connection between recreation and conserving the wild places that feed our souls and adventures. I can’t say enough about everyone I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with in my time here. The relationships and our work have provided experience for me to now incorporate connecting people to place, advocacy, partnerships, and nonprofit management in my new position.

"I will be taking on the role of executive director of Eastrail Partners, a new nonprofit that will collaborate with the communities, governments, and the private sector to complete a 42-mile trail corridor connecting Renton to Woodinville and the four light rail stations going in on the Eastside. As the Puget Sound continues to grow in significant numbers, Eastrail Partners will address sustainability and live-ability in this corner of our region. The organization will incorporate equity and inclusion, economic development, and advocacy to grow community and sustainable through this greenway trail on the Eastside of Lake Washington. I am excited to be taking on work that continues my professional focus of connecting people to place.

"In my work space, I have a small flag – it’s the blue peter - a sailing signal that means a ship is going outward bound. “A ship in harbor is safe – but that’s not what ships are built for.” They are built to go outward bound, and I’m excited for this next adventure."

Next Steps: Hiring Process & Interim Support

The Mountaineers strategic plan, Vision 2022, set a bold goal of deepening The Mountaineers capabilities and impact as a fierce advocate for wild places. In recent years, we’ve doubled down on that focus: enhancing our role at the nexus of conservation and recreation - both by educating and engaging our community of outdoor enthusiasts and through strong partnerships with other conservation and recreation organizations. Now we'll be looking for a new Conservation & Advocacy Director to carry that work forward.

Our next Conservation and Advocacy Director will be a visionary and strategic leader who will shape the direction and success of The Mountaineers conservation efforts. This person will lead our conservation and advocacy programming, driving partnerships, advocacy campaigns and communications, and fundraising that result in long-term outcomes to protect public lands and human-powered experiences on these landscapes.

We have listed the Conservation & Advocacy Director position and will begin reviewing applications in January. We intend to have a new director in place this spring, recognizing that recruiting may take longer as we strive to make our hiring practices more equitable, with a diverse candidate pool. We have also made the decision to put the hiring process for the Advocacy & Engagement Manager a new role that will provide focused support to build on our core value of conservation advocacy and further our conservation mission to protect the outdoor experience on hold to allow the new Director to be involved in the hiring decision. We do expect to relist the Advocacy Manager position in the next three to four months. 

Please help us spread the word about the open Conservation & Advocacy Director position. As an organization that values equity and inclusion, we highly encourage people of color, women, LGBTQ individuals, and veterans to apply.