The Wilderness Society announced today that it has chosen western conservation leader Jamie Williams, who comes to Wilderness from The Nature Conservancy, as its new president. At The Nature Conservancy Williams served as Director of Landscape Conservation for North America, where he led that organization’s effort to protect large landscapes, primarily in the western United States.
“In our search for a new president, Jamie Williams was far and away the best candidate, with a track record of outstanding achievement and a well-earned reputation for succeeding in every endeavor,” said Wilderness Society Governing Council Chair Doug Walker. “Jamie is a high-impact leader who has a deep understanding of our issues and who knows how to get exceptional results.”
Williams brings a wealth of experience to The Wilderness Society. At the Nature Conservancy, Williams helped develop the large landscape focus within the Obama administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, and spearheaded critical efforts to secure conservation funding in Congress, among many other accomplishments.
"Jamie has been a great colleague and a great conservation leader at The Nature Conservancy,” said Mark Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “We will miss him but of course look forward to working closely with him in his new role at The Wilderness Society as we tackle important conservation opportunities together."
Williams has held numerous leadership positions over his 20 years at The Nature Conservancy, including Northern Rockies Initiative Director and Montana State Director. He also has been recognized for his outstanding work with awards from the Land Trust Alliance and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among many others.
“I am thrilled to be chosen to head this organization, which has been the leader in public lands conservation for more than 75 years,” said Williams.
“I am a strong believer in a collaborative, community-based approach to conservation, and that’s one of the many areas where The Wilderness Society has been a true innovator. This is a tremendous opportunity to protect the majestic wild places that help define us as a nation.”
In addition to his work at The Nature Conservancy, Williams is a founder of The Montana Association of Land Trusts, a founder of the Heart of the Rockies Initiative, and has served on the Board of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts and as Co-Chair of the Yampa River System Legacy Project.
"Jamie has been a huge help to our community's effort to conserve the Blackfoot Valley because he took the time to listen and work with us on a common vision for landscape conservation,” said Jim Stone of Blackfoot Challenge in Montana. “I have full confidence that he will lead The Wilderness Society with the same kind of collaborative spirit to help local communities like ours sustain special places through strong partnerships."
Williams received a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from Yale University and a Masters of Environmental Studies from The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He was also a wilderness instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School.
“Jamie Williams has an extraordinary combination of inspiring leadership and a relentless focus on protecting our nation’s wild places,” said Bill Meadows, who announced that he would be stepping down as president of The Wilderness Society in October 2011. “I am so pleased that Jamie will be at the helm as The Wilderness Society continues its outstanding work to protect our nation’s public lands.”