Our board members bring decades of experience in for-purpose business, community development, and social and environmental change. We are grateful for the commitment, creativity, and energy they bring to the Ecotrust family.
Spencer Beebe is a fourth generation Oregonian with a lifelong commitment to advancing social, economic, and environmental change. Spencer earned his M.F.S. (Forest Science) degree in 1974 from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a B.A. in Economics from Williams College in 1968. He served with the Peace Corps in Honduras from 1968-71 and, after serving 14 years with The Nature Conservancy, he was the founding President of Conservation International in 1987. In February 1991, Spencer returned to the Northwest and founded Ecotrust to focus on the rain forests of home. He is the author of Cache: Creating Natural Economies.
Cory grew up in the isolated mountains of Northeastern Oregon as the fourth generation in a cattle ranching family. She attended college at Stanford University, where she came to understand that many aspects of cattle production were associated with environmental degradation and poor human health. She returned to the family ranch in 2003, seeking to raise cattle, not only in a healthier way but also as one of the best tools for fighting climate change and growing healthy food.
Inspired by the potential and the urgency of this opportunity, she started Carman Ranch Provisions, a company focused on finding market outlets for the cattle, pigs, and other crops raised to build soil health and pull carbon from the atmosphere. With the home ranch as a supplier, the Carman Ranch brand comprises a group of ranchers in the Pacific Northwest who raise a year-round supply of grassfed cattle. Her customers, investors, and producers share her core values of building a new type of food system that can sequester carbon, improve nutrient density in food, and support rural communities.
Although she travels across the country to find beef customers, Cory and her three kids love the mountains and small-town life in Wallowa County, which they call home.
Bobbie Conner serves as the Director of the Tamástslikt (Tah-mahst-slickt) Cultural Institute and works to perpetuate the knowledge and histories of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla people. Bobbie, who grew up on the Umatilla Reservation near Pendleton, spent her early career in Seattle working for the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation. After earning a Master’s of Management from Willamette University, and working for 13 years for the Small Business Administration, she returned to her Oregon home in 1997. She has been working to depict an accurate history of the tribes of the Columbia River Basin and contribute to the tribal economy ever since. In 2007, Bobbie received the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award.
Bobbie has served on an array of boards, including as vice chair of the National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Board of Directors and as co-chair of its Circle of Tribal Advisors as well as the board of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial in Oregon. She also served on the boards of the Wallowa Homeland Project and the Oregon Cultural Trust. In addition to being named chair of the Board of Trustees at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in 2012, she currently serves on the board of the American Alliance of Museums.
Gun Denhart, a native of Sweden, founded the Hanna Andersson children’s clothing company in 1983 in the garage of her Portland home. Through her leadership, the company became known for its quality cotton clothing, family-friendly employee policies, and innovative contributions to the community through nonprofit and school partnerships. She pioneered, and was nationally recognized for, many family-friendly workplace policies, including childcare reimbursements for employees and flexible working hours. Gun co-authored the book Growing Local Value, showing how to leverage every aspect of a business, and she remains keenly interested in sustainable improvements in our society, including place-based impact investing.
Gun is the co-chair of Ecotrust and currently serves on the board of Mercy Corps and the Stand for Children Oregon Advisory Board. She is a founding member and past chair of the Oregon Business Association and a past board member of Business for Social Responsibility, of which Hanna Andersson was a founding member. She lives in Portland and has three sons and five granddaughters.
Mark is a commercial real estate developer and Managing Principal at Gerding Edlen Development Company of Portland, which redeveloped the Brewery Blocks in northwest Portland. Gerding Edlen has become one of the national leaders in green building and LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) certified properties. Mark has a B.S. and MBA in Finance from the University of Oregon. He serves on various boards and committees, including Portland Development Commission’s Sustainable Development Commission, the Oregon Innovation Council, and Portland Center Stage board of directors.
San Francisco, CA
Bob is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. He founded and is current Chair of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a national economic development policy research and consulting group, which has a reputation for defining the cutting edge of economic development in America. Bob returned to the Board in December 2011 after several years away; he served as Chair of the Board from 2002 through 2005 and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Nominations Committee.
Ron is the former chairman of ShoreBank Corporation, which he co-founded with Mary Houghton, Milton Davis, and James Fletcher. ShoreBank Corporation is a $2 billion regulated commercial bank holding company that advises, invests, and implements economic development and conservation strategies in urban minority neighborhoods, rural communities, and developing countries. He now consults with Shorebank International. Ron also serves on the board of Ecotrust Canada.
Jean lives in Seattle where she is a civic activist and philanthropist, focused primarily on building a reflective and responsive democracy, promoting a sustainable and equitable food system and values-based investing.
After obtaining her J.D. from University of Washington School of Law and practicing as a trial lawyer in the 1980s, Jean stepped away from her legal career to raise three daughters and focus on community engagement. She has been a consultant to non-profit organizations, stepped in as Interim Executive Director, and served on a number of boards. Currently Jean is the Board Chair at both the Washington Progress Alliance and a new organization she helped launch, Studio Learning. She has been a longstanding member of Social Venture Partners and received their Sullivan/Heningsgaard Service Award in 2016. Jean was a founding member of the Seattle Impact Investment Group, and is a member of the Women Donors Network.
Jean and her husband are Northwest natives who share a passion for this region, but also enjoy traveling the world and staying active through hiking, cycling, and skiing adventures.
Susie Lee is an artist, entrepreneur, a convener of community, and a new mother. Her projects focus on technology and art that support and amplify human endeavors. She is currently the co-founder of SoopahGenius, an AI-powered storytelling start up, and the creative director of Thingyverse, a baby-centered organization that performs and presents big theater for small humans.
A graduate of Yale, Columbia, Teachers College, and University of Washington, Susie holds degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, education, and fine arts. Her background as scientist, educator, and artist feed into a rhizomatic and restless intellectual curiosity that is grounded in a strong sense of vocation to impact the world positively and concretely. Previously, she cared for patients at a long-term care facility during a residency that resulted in the award-winning Still Lives portraits. She explored the world of fracking to shine light to the small-town, blue-collar stories of oil workers who wondered out loud why anyone would care about their stories. And she created a dating app to push against the shopping for humans and instead, foster genuine conversation and connections.
Starting the second half of her life with a child, Susie explores and merges the complex, joyfully inconsistent, non-reductive, passionate, playful and intelligent roles of artist, mother, and feminist.
Elise is a founding staff member and former Managing Director of ImpactAssets, a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments that deliver financial, social, and environmental returns. She is co-founder of Seattle Impact Investors Group, now Seattle Toniic, and has served on numerous boards including Washington Progress Alliance, Conservation NW and the Executive Committee of the 100% Network, a global group of investors dedicated to moving all of their assets into impact investments.
She began her business career raising angora goats and rabbits to create custom home furnishings from their wool and has worked for both foundations and nonprofits as consultant, executive staff, and board member, holding positions in development, strategic planning, and senior management.
Elise holds a MS in Management from Antioch University and a BA from Yale University. When not actively engaged in making the world a better place, Elise rows a single shell, cooks, gardens, hikes, skis, and loves to travel.
Antone has served for more than twenty years with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) in various roles, from chief planner to chair of the board of trustees. He has also served on the boards of the Northwest Area Foundation, the Crow Shadow Institute, and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI), including as president of the ATNI board.
David is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. An author of award-winning popular-science books, he has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs, including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered. When not writing or doing geology, he plays in the band Big Dirt. He lives in Seattle, with his wife Anne Biklé and their black lab guide-dog dropout Loki. Connect with him at dig2grow.com or follow him on Twitter.
William is founder, president, and CEO of the World Justice Project, which works to lead a global, multidisciplinary effort to strengthen the Rule of Law for the development of communities of opportunity and equity. He is a former managing general partner of the San Francisco Giants baseball team ownership group. Prior to holding this position, he was President of the American Bar Association in 2007–08. He was the principal legal counsel for Microsoft for almost 25 years and also chairman of the Gates law firm in Seattle, now part of K&L Gates. Along with his four children, William founded the Neukom Family Foundation, which supports not-for-profit organizations principally in the fields of health, human services, education, justice, and the environment.
Nell is an ardent supporter of sustainable agriculture, and her commitment to organic foods led her to establish Newman’s Own Organics: the Second Generation in partnership with Peter Meehan. Nell earned a B.S. in Human Ecology at the College of the Atlantic. She worked for the Environmental Defense Fund before becoming executive director of the Ventana Wilderness Sanctuary in central California. She also served as development director for the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group. Nell serves on the boards of the Wholesome Wave Foundation and Allergy Kids.
San Francisco, CA
Kat is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Beneficial State Bank, an innovative, triple-bottom line, community development financial institution. Started in 2007, Beneficial State came from a shared vision to start a bank that finances community-based businesses, builds the long-term prosperity of responsible consumers, and supports companies that have a commitment to the environment. Beneficial State has a one of a kind ownership structure — its profits can only be distributed to the Beneficial State Foundation to support communities and the environment. Kat is also a founding director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation dedicated to a return to sustainable food production through ranching, tours, research, and school lunch and garden programs. She graduated from Harvard College in 1980 with a B.A. She earned a joint JD/MBA degree from Stanford Law and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, graduating in 1986. Kat serves as Vice Chair of the Capital Committee on Ecotrust’s board.
Robert has been president and chief executive officer of Cascade Corporation since 1996. He served as president and chief operating officer of Cascade Corporation from 1993 to 1996 and vice president of Marketing since 1990. He joined Cascade Corporation in 1972 and held various marketing and manufacturing positions. He has been a director of Cascade Corporation since 1982 and ESCO Corporation, since 1986. Robert is involved in many community organizations, including Catlin Gabel School Foundation Board, Portland Alano Club Board, Arlington Club, and Multnomah Athletic Club.
Dan is co-founder of the internationally known advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy, which has over 500 employees with offices in Portland, New York, Amsterdam, and Tokyo; its client list includes Nike, AOL, Coca-Cola, and ESPN. Dan has been a long-time supporter of numerous civic and charitable organizations, including Camp Caldera, a summer arts program for underserved inner city youth. In May 2005, Dan received the Portland’s First Citizen Award, an annual recognition of civic leadership.