Massachusetts State Director
Deb Markowitz is a mission-driven, results-oriented leader who builds strong teams, drives collaboration, empowers staff and encourages innovation to advance climate solutions, environmental protection, and economic and social justice. She has more than 25 years’ experience leading large complex public agencies and small nonprofits where she achieved organizational success through strategic visioning, workforce development, sustainable funding, crisis management and continuous process improvement.
Deb has spent most of her career in public service. She was elected Vermont’s Secretary of State six times, serving from 1999 to 2011. After running for Governor of Vermont in 2010 and narrowly losing in the primary election, Deb was appointed Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) in 2011, where she served until 2017. At ANR, Deb shaped the state’s environmental agenda, focusing on climate change, forest health and integrity, and water quality. She served on the boards of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the Transportation Climate Initiative, and represented Vermont on the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, and at the United Nation’s Conference of the Parties on Climate Change in Paris and Marrakech.
Before joining The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts in March 2020, Deb served as the vice president of programs at Ceres, overseeing the organization’s Climate and Energy, Water, Food and Forest, and Capital Market System programs. These programs engage investors and companies to tackle the world’s most serious sustainability challenges, and work to scale the transition to a sustainable economy. Before that, she taught environmental policy and leadership at the University of Vermont and was the Director of Policy Outreach at the Gund Institute of Environment.
Prior to being named Massachusetts State Director, Deb served as a Trustee for TNC in Vermont for two years. She also serves on the Boards of Advisors for the Georgetown Climate Center and Antioch’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience and is a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Environmental Justice Advisory Board. She founded Vermont Parks Forever, the foundation for the state’s parks, as well as the Women’s Leadership Initiative, an organization dedicated to getting more women into public office. Deb has been recognized nationally with a Lifetime Achievement Award from EPA, Region 1; an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellowship; and the Kennedy School of Governments’ Cahn Fellowship in Public Leadership.
Deb graduated from the University of Vermont and Georgetown University Law Center, magna cum laude, and received a Certificate in Public Leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.