A native of Kansas, Rachel grew up not far from The Land Institute. Her childhood was deeply rooted in the ecology of the prairie, an understanding ingrained through the hands-on restoration of her family’s tallgrass preserve near Salina. Rachel went on to complete her BA at New York University’s Gallatin School where she studied the connections and relationships between humans and the biotic and abiotic ecosphere through performance studies, ethnography, evolutionary biology and the great books of philosophy upon which our dualistic culture and ideologies were built. She later completed a Master of Business Administration at the Bloch School of Management at University of Missouri, Kansas City. Her career spans nearly 20 years, and encompasses a diversity of professional experiences in hospitality, community engagement and resilient city planning, energy finance and investor relations, communications, health care consulting, strategy, and operations. After 15 years living in urban areas, Rachel returned to the prairie to reconnect her young family with her home place. The move home to Salina brought her to The Land Institute. In over five years at The Land, Rachel also served as Chief Operating Officer under both Wes Jackson and Fred Iutzi and then as Chief Strategy Officer. Rachel became Acting President of The Land Institute on July 1, 2020 and was chosen by the board as President on April 1, 2021. She resides in Austin, TX with her husband and two young boys.
What’s most inspiring about your specific position at The Land Institute?
The people. The staff here is laser-focused on the vision of the organization. I’m inspired every day by their commitment and tenacity.
What would people never guess that you do as part of your role at The Land Institute?
I recently wrangled a group of cattle into a pasture. I have since added “cowgirl” to my resume.
What else are you passionate about (outside of work)?
Raising two boys and reading (mostly non-fiction) when they let me.
If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
Writing a book is on my bucket list, but I haven’t yet decided on its content.
What’s your motto / favorite quote?
Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” Because patience is not one of my virtues, I need all the help and guidance I can get from nature.
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