The Nature Conservancy in Ohio Welcomes Fred Wills, New Director of Equity in Conservation

A still creek bordered by autumnal trees.
Big Darby Creek Ohio offers spectacular views of fall foliage throughout autumn. © Harold E. Malde

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Candid portrait of Fred Wills.
Fred Wills As the new Director of Equity in Conservation, Fred Wills will lead TNC’s work in Ohio by understanding the dynamic needs of communities where TNC’s work takes place. © Katie Rittichier Dalman

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is proud to welcome Fred Wills as the Ohio chapter’s director of equity in conservation, a new position for the chapter that marks an important milestone in their commitment to fostering sustainable change within communities. Wills comes to TNC with a passion for elevating community voices and connecting people with nature, a skillset that will help TNC collaborate closely with communities to understand their needs and help deliver on the organization’s mission of conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends.

Most recently, Wills served as Principal Director of Inclusiastic Consulting. In this role, he partnered with leaders and organizations to build the capacity and capability to advance inclusion and equity, enhance organizational culture and improve the inclusive leadership mindset and performance. His philosophy stems from proven success as the top Diversity Executive at Mayo Clinic and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he built a strong track record promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.

“TNC's mission aligns perfectly with my purpose and expertise for equity, inclusion and justice. I'm eager to ensure conservation benefits all, crafting a just, inclusive and community-driven vision. Bringing an equity lens will expand our impact, benefiting people and communities. The honor of furthering TNC's work through an equity perspective is one I eagerly embrace.”

Wills was selected after an extensive search and will lead TNC’s work in Ohio by understanding the dynamic needs of communities where TNC’s work takes place and helping co-create solutions at the intersection of conservation and human well-being. TNC is confident that Wills' unique perspective and experience will drive transformative change in the way the organization approaches conservation.

“Thriving communities depend on healthy lands and waters, but organizations like TNC have for a long time too narrowly defined our conservation successes only in acres protected and managed,” said Bill Stanley, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Ohio. “By putting more intentional focus on serving human communities, I am confident that we will accelerate our conservation work to achieve even more tangible and longer lasting results. It is the right thing for people, and our conservation mission, to better support the communities where we work— especially those most negatively impacted by climate injustice. Building paths forward together will lead to a healthier world for all and I’m thrilled to have Fred’s expertise in helping us redefine what success in this space looks like.” 

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 more than 70 countries and territories, 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.