- As the Conservancy's Delaware Director of Philanthropy, Sebastien Laye continues in a career of raising funds for a good cause.
Nature.org: What are your job duties as the chapter's Director of Philanthropy?
Sebastien Laye: I’m tasked with concentrating on growing the Delaware Chapter’s fundraising capacity to support The Nature Conservancy’s work on our nature preserves, larger ecological systems and global priorities.
Nature.org: Have you always had an interest in conservation?
Sebastien Laye: Yes. I grew up next door to the Tyler Arboretum and Ridley Creek State Park in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. These places served as my back yard, where I played, rode my bike, discovered a love of trail running and went fishing. It’s where my connection with nature began.
I was also lucky to have parents who worked in the travel industry. This resulted in many summers spent exploring the Caribbean where I learned to sail and snorkel. I continue to visit and notice many changes to natural areas, including many of the coral reefs I visited in my youth.
Nature.org: How did your career path lead to working with The Nature Conservancy?
Sebastien Laye: One of the things I love about being a professional fundraiser is having the ability to promote and raise money for issues I care about. I am a socially-conscious individual and so I’ve enjoyed learning about and raising money for public education and global immunization programs. I also have a passion for the outdoors and so this job brings everything together for me from a personal and professional standpoint.
Nature.org: What projects have your focus?
Sebastien Laye: Raising money for the Chapter’s work has most of my focus. The Chapter celebrates its 25-year anniversary next year and so a lot of my work will revolve around that milestone.
I am also visiting all of the places the Delaware chapter works to protect, getting to know the Chapter’s Trustees, and meeting donors who make our work possible and share our passion for natural places and systems.
Bio: Sebastien Laye grew up in Media, Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He joins The Nature Conservancy’s staff after building a fundraising program at Mastery Charter Schools in Philadelphia, a 15-school network serving over 9,600 students and specializing in turnarounds of struggling district-operated schools. Prior to Mastery, he worked for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, trail running and sailing.