Red brick building for Eastern Market next to building with mural.
Eastern Market Mural The buildings in Detroit's Eastern Market District are painted with artwork reflecting the creative and vibrant culture of the community. © Fauna Creative


Gretchen R. Valade Joins The Nature Conservancy’s Michigan Board of Trustees

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) recently welcomed Gretchen Valade, director of sustainability at Carhartt, to its Michigan Board of Trustees.

“I am thrilled to welcome Gretchen to our board,” said Helen Taylor, TNC’s state director for Michigan. “She brings a wealth of experience, relationships and expertise to TNC.”

Representing the fifth generation of Carhartt, Inc., Valade has immersed herself in all aspects of the family business starting from a young age. From consumer insights to product conception and from garment creation to product delivery, Valade possesses knowledge and insight into all aspects of the retail manufacturing process.

TNC is a renowned organization, focused on making changes on a global scale. I am looking forward to working with them.

Director of sustainability, Carhartt

After graduating with a business marketing degree from DePaul University in 2012, Valade gained exposure to the supply chain and global sourcing sides of retail while working at Li & Fung’s Hong Kong offices and visiting manufacturing facilities in China and India. Returning to Carhartt, Inc. in 2013, Valade moved to New York City to hone her visual merchandising and product presentation skills at the Carhartt sales showroom. After returning to Detroit, where she currently resides, Valade has rounded out her skillset to include competitive brand analysis, consumer insights, product development and merchandising, digital and retail merchandising.

Valade’s most recent project was leading the development and 2020 launch of the Carhartt Workshop, a community space offering a free tool lending library, free community meetings spaces as well as a brand history and storytelling experience, located on the floor above Carhartt’s flagship store in Detroit. In addition to launching The Carhartt Workshop, she also led the build out of the Industrial Sewing And Innovation Center’s (ISAIC) factory on the floor above. Valade sits on ISAIC’s Board of Directors.

During the Holiday season of 2020, Valade launched Eugenie, a boutique located in Midtown, Detroit. Eugenie offers brands and designers that produce their products in a sustainable fashion, focusing on apparel, accessories and fine jewelry.

Outside of her love for apparel, Valade is an advocate for the arts in Detroit. She currently resides on the boards of the Detroit Institute of Art’s Founders Junior Council and Signal Return, a community letterpress print shop located in Detroit’s Eastern Market.

“TNC is a renowned organization, focused on making changes on a global scale. I am looking forward to working with them,” she said. 

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 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 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.