Kathleen’s journey with TNC in Washington encompassed successes and growth opportunities. Not every initiative yielded the desired outcome, but each challenge provided a chance for progress and learning. Kathleen was proud to be involved in Washington Initiative 1631.  

“It was a pivotal time for The Nature Conservancy,” Kathleen said. “When we initiated our efforts with 1631, we were in the early stages of learning how to advocate for climate change policies and legislation. I spoke on behalf of the measure with organizations like Boeing and drummed up voter registration on the University of Washington campus.”  
She continued, “The degree of collaboration that TNC had with other organizations to get 1631 passed was on a scale that we had never engaged in before; we were all feet on the street for it, and it was incredibly inspiring to see people come together.” 

Although 1631 didn’t pass, Kathleen could see their efforts paved the path to success. It laid the groundwork for the subsequent Climate Commitment Act (CCA), which the legislature successfully passed in 2021. CCA holds polluters financially accountable while maintaining a pollution cap. The generated revenue and federal investments support climate resilience funds for Indigenous communities, investment in clean energy, and the preservation of natural areas.  

“Within two or three years, every policy measure we had hoped for was achieved,” Kathleen recalled. “Though we may not have achieved success with Initiative 1631, the lessons learned from the experience propelled us to exceed our goals through combined legislative efforts in Washington State.”  

Outside her work with TNC in Washington, Kathleen also participated in many other environmentally minded organizations. She is a board member of the Clean Energy Transition Institute, a Seattle-based non-profit that provides independent, nonpartisan research and analysis dedicated to accelerating an equitable clean energy transition in the Northwest. 

Kathleen is also the vice president and co-chair of the board of directors at E8 Angels and a manager of the Decarbon8 fund, an impact investment organization that focuses on climate technology and sustainability start-ups. Her investments have ranged from zinc anode batteries—which could reduce environmental harm and increase energy capacity—to companies that transform worn-down multi-family units into affordable, green housing.  

One of E8’sinvestments, Tidal Vision, derives a biopolymer called chitosan from upcycled food waste such as crab shells, saving them from smothering the ocean floor or emitting greenhouse gasses in landfills. The compound is then transformed into a completely biocompatible and biodegradable solution that can be used as a pollutant-removing water treatment or a non-toxic alternative to traditional flame retardants, fertilizers, and pesticides.  

“That’s what I love about impact investing,” Kathleen said. “There’s no one solution to climate change, and with my work, I have a wide range of projects that I can support, each with a different approach to tackling the problems affecting our environment.” 





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