Oct 8, 2014

USA: Important news about NRDC's next leader

From: "NRDC - Frances Beinecke" <biogemsdefenders@savebiogems.org>
Date: Oct 8, 2014 9:44 AM
Subject: Important news about NRDC's next leader

Dear Liz,
I'm writing to share some important and exciting news about the future of NRDC.
Come January, I will pass the torch of leadership to Rhea Suh, the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget at the U.S. Department of the Interior. She will become just the third president in NRDC's 44-year history.
Since I announced my intention to retire at the end of this year, a select committee of NRDC Trustees and staff has been conducting a tireless search for the person best qualified to lead this great organization at an absolutely pivotal moment in the fight for our climate, our natural heritage and our environmental future.
Rhea Suh was their unanimous and spectacular choice. She is a ferocious fighter for the environment, with an extraordinary track record that spans teaching in the New York City public schools, working in the U.S. Senate, spearheading the creation of the Great Bear Rainforest and managing President Obama's Department of Interior -- with its $12 billion budget and 70,000 employees who staff our nation's parks, wildlife refuges and other treasured public lands.
Rhea Suh
Rhea Suh, with husband Michael and daughter Yeumi.
Through it all, Rhea has shown the kind of leadership, vision and tenacity that makes change happen -- all driven by a passion for the natural world that goes back to her childhood. The daughter of Korean immigrants, Rhea was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, where early on she cultivated an interest in the environment and conservation -- fishing for trout with her father in Lake Granby and camping out under the starry skies in Rocky Mountain National Park.
That love of nature, instilled by her family, has now come full circle. As the mother of a young child, Rhea takes our most daunting challenge -- climate change -- very personally. As she said last week, "I refuse to leave my daughter a world beyond fixing -- and I know it's not too late."
Mark those words -- because they reveal the kind of true grit and never-say-die determination that has set NRDC apart as America's fiercest environmental advocate. I saw it writ large in John Adams -- NRDC's first leader -- when I joined this organization as an intern in 1973. And I've seen it on a daily basis since then in hundreds of NRDC attorneys, scientists and other professionals, who absolutely refuse to back down -- no matter how discouraging the odds, no matter how big the adversary.
That legendary resolve -- powered by your generous and indispensable support -- has produced an astounding record of success. Corporate polluters like Mitsubishi, Texaco and Shell learned the hard way about NRDC's never-say-die ethic; they badly misjudged our willingness to fight them for years --sometimes for decades -- and they paid the price.
Rest assured, Rhea Suh is one tough lady. She is more than ready to take the helm of this environmental powerhouse, which now spans seven offices, a staff of nearly 500 and a dedicated army of 1.4 million Members and activists like you.
But let's face it, toughness alone will not get the job done. If we are going to win the fights that matter most, if we're going to prevail over climate-deniers and fossil-fuel behemoths -- not to mention the insidious forces of apathy and despair -- then we'll need to enlist millions and millions more Americans in our cause. They must come to believe that it's their cause, they must come to believe it's in their own interest.
And that's where Rhea shines most brightly. She has been a pioneer of the urgent mission to broaden our movement, to ensure that environmentalism is as diverse as America and youthful enough to win the tough battles ahead. By naming Rhea as our next president, NRDC is sending a powerful message that the environmental fight for hearts and minds will be fully engaged in every corner of this nation. Prepare yourself.
One year ago I made the bittersweet decision to step down as the President of NRDC. I did it because I knew that the very best institutions change leadership when they are at full strength -- not past it. And at pivotal moments in history, smart institutions seize the opportunity to foster generational change that infuses everyone -- staff, Board and Members -- with new passion, new energy and new ideas.
Rhea Suh will bring all that and more to NRDC. And so -- no surprise -- I'm feeling pretty darned good about my decision to retire. And while my own plans for the future are not yet certain, you can be sure that I'll still be a part of the NRDC family -- standing shoulder to shoulder with you in our common cause, as we escalate our campaigns to crack down on global warming pollution, rein in dangerous fracking, stop the Keystone XL and the Pebble Mine, ban drilling in the Arctic Ocean and dozens more.
But come January, it will be Rhea who must rally the troops to wage these and other decisive battles. I know you will respond as you always have -- with devoted activism and steadfast support. In my nine years as President of NRDC, there was no activity I valued more than meeting with NRDC Members. Invariably, I walked away from those animated conversations -- and there were thousands of them -- feeling newly inspired by your own heartfelt commitment to saving the natural world.
Please never forget the absolutely vital role you play in our work; and never ever doubt our collective power. Every victory NRDC has ever won was made possible by your support. That is why, though enormous challenges may lie ahead, I am absolutely certain that an NRDC guided by Rhea Suh and energized by your Membership is going to do amazing things.
Frances Beinecke
Natural Resources Defense Council
The mission of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.
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