Deb Markowitz will begin her role as the new State Director for TNC in Massachusetts in March 2020.
A New Era: Deb Markowitz will begin her role as the new State Director for TNC in Massachusetts in March 2020. © Deb Markowitz


The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts Announces New State Director

Deb Markowitz, former Secretary of State of Vermont, to lead the Massachusetts Chapter.

Boston, MA

  • James Miller
    Associate Director of Communications
    The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Massachusetts announced today that Deb Markowitz will join as State Director in March 2020. As the former Vermont Secretary of State and Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, and as the founder of the Women’s Leadership Initiative, Ms. Markowitz has dedicated her life to protecting the environment, advocating for ambitious global action on climate change, and advancing audacious climate solutions that leverage the triple bottom line of social, environmental and economic value.

“I’m thrilled to be joining The Nature Conservancy as State Director in Massachusetts,” said Ms. Markowitz. “I continue to be impressed by the unique and important role TNC plays in the conservation and environmental community as a global, nonpartisan organization. It is peerless in its rich scientific foundation and leadership in guiding environmental and conservation strategies and policy priorities. I am excited to lead the talented team in Massachusetts.”

“Deb is a strong, strategic and dynamic leader who has a proven track record of not only decades of civil service devoted to environmental protection, but also an incredible legacy as a transformational leader,” said Terry Sullivan, New England Division Director of The Nature Conservancy. “She is uniquely positioned to shepherd TNC in Massachusetts as we look to the future and the challenges we face ahead.”

“We have an urgent need for dynamic and bold leadership when it comes to tackling climate change,” said Jim Richardson, Board Chairman of The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts. “Deb’s expertise and vision for the future will be pivotal in making real inroads when it comes to climate action in New England.”

Most recently, Ms. Markowitz served as the Vice President of campaigns and initiatives at Ceres—a non-profit sustainability advocacy organization based in Boston that works with many of the world's leading businesses—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.

I continue to be impressed by the unique and important role TNC plays in the conservation and environmental community as a global, nonpartisan organization.

Incoming State Director, The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts

Ms. Markowitz has spent most of her career in public service. She was elected Vermont’s Secretary of State six times, serving from 1999-2011. In 2010, Ms. Markowitz ran for Governor of Vermont, narrowly losing in the primary election. In 2011, Ms. Markowitz was appointed Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), where she served until 2017. At ANR, Ms. Markowitz 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. 

Ms. Markowitz has been a Vermont Trustee of The Nature Conservancy and 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. Ms. Markowitz 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. 

Ms. Markowitz 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. Ms. Markowitz succeeds longtime State Director Mr. Wayne Klockner, who is retiring after leading the organization for more than 20 years.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 75 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 38 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.