nature.org: Why are you a conservationist?
Mas: As a kid, two of my favorite places were the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the woods behind my family's house in Vermont. My parents were community organizers and put a high premium on careers that give back to society. It took me a little while to put all the pieces together, but once I started doing community-based conservation work, everything clicked.
nature.org: Who has inspired you as a conservationist?
Mas: Lots of people, but my grandfather is high on the list. I spent a lot of time following him in the woods and listening to stories of when he was young in Vermont. He was one of those steady friendly forces for land conservation until his late nineties.
nature.org: How does your work advance the Conservancy's mission?
Mas: My focus is on supporting conservation partnerships with organizations and government agencies. I've always felt that conservation success is based on the strength ofrelationships, and I hope that my work helps build the lasting trust and understanding we need to achieve our mission.
nature.org: What have you learned working at the Conservancy that surprised you?
Mas: One of the biggest surprises is how long it can take to achieve meaningful, lasting results. A colleague once told me that conservation is a marathon, not a sprint. The Conservancy does a greatjob of sticking with important projects and finding creative ways to overcome obstacles. I think that's a big part of our success.