Ronda Rutledge. Photo courtesy of Ronda Rutledge
Dear friends and community,
I am honored and thrilled to introduce Ecotrust’s new Executive Director: Ronda Rutledge.
Ronda brings to Ecotrust over 25 years of experience leading nonprofits in California and Texas, first at an organization in the Bay Area serving Native American children and families, and then in Texas at an organization doing community-led work at the intersection of food insecurity, food justice, and food sustainability. Board and staff are enthusiastic about Ronda, who was chosen from a strong field of excellent candidates. I believe she is well matched to the challenges and opportunities we face together and am excited to welcome her to the team.
Ronda will be the first Native American to lead Ecotrust. She’s a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, and her family goes back five generations to their original homeland in the Cherokee territory of the eastern U.S. Following removal to Oklahoma, her family relocated to Texas where she was born, and she grew up in west Texas. After graduating with a Master of Science degree in Psychology from Angelo State University, she provided marriage and family counseling. She later moved to California to lead the American Indian Child Resource Center, a nonprofit serving families of more than 200 tribes through Indian education programs, foster care, and teen pregnancy prevention.
Ronda later joined Sustainable Food Center (SFC) in Austin, TX, where she expanded her experience and impact to help transform the local food system into one that nourished the health of the community and land through a just, equitable, and regenerative food system. It was while serving as Executive Director of SFC when Ronda first learned about Ecotrust: “I was participating in a conference in Oregon partly sponsored by Ecotrust. I was so impressed by their origin, focus on environmentalism, and partners, and I continued to admire them from afar over the years. I’m still amazed that I now get to help them fulfill their incredible mission,” said Ronda.
Ronda’s strengths in counseling; leadership coaching and development; visioning and strategic planning; work in diversity, equity, and inclusion; and policy advocacy made her a strong choice for Executive Director at Ecotrust. She was unanimously selected by the board through an extensive process, guided by Axis Talent Partners and with input from a hiring committee and interview groups made up of staff at all levels of the organization. Those who spoke with her during the hiring process consistently lifted up Ronda’s strong track record of people- and equity-centered leadership; her knowledge of anti-racist practice and work; and her commitment to increasing 3E outcomes for people, planet, and profit in the communities we partner with in our bioregion.
I hope you will join me in welcoming and supporting Ronda as she steps into this new role with Ecotrust.
Ecotrust Board Chair
PORTLAND, ORE. – May 30, 2023 – The Ecotrust Board of Trustees announced today it has selected Ronda Rutledge as its next Executive Director.
ECOTRUST UPDATE | For more than a year, Ecotrust staff, board, and consulting partners have worked together in new ways, exploring leadership models and articulating a vision for Ecotrust’s next executive leader.