COMPASS Welcomes a New Executive Director!
We are absolutely delighted to welcome Dr. Amanda Stanley to the COMPASS team. On May 15, 2017, she will assume the helm as our new Executive Director (ED) replacing Brooke Smith, who served for nearly 15 years. Our official announcement of the news is available here.
We've known Amanda since she became our Program Officer for Conservation Science at Wilburforce Foundation in 2011. Her first grant to COMPASS was a planning grant to explore the potential for COMPASS to grow beyond its ocean roots. After a year of exploration into how we might meet the needs of a broader scientific community, we expanded our scope to support scientists working on a myriad of issues at the intersection of environment and society, including but not limited to oceans. That expansion continues, and Amanda will help further diversify our portfolio and reach.
Amanda comes to us with deep roots in terrestrial science and conservation, earning a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Washington. With a focus on restoration ecology throughout the Pacific Northwest, her scientific savvy spans wildlife to plants across a range of ecosystems. She is a connector, a silo-buster, a big-picture thinker, and a fiercely strategic person driven to make a difference. She joins our team steeped in our approach, mission, and work and is poised to build on that foundation—developing new approaches and elevating our impact across the ocean, land, and freshwater.
At Wilburforce, Amanda actively partnered with COMPASS to launch the Wilburforce Fellowship in Conservation Science, designed for scientists who want to be agents of change for conservation in the West. This pioneering, yearlong program provides leadership and communication training for scientists from academia, government, and nonprofit organizations. The fellowship builds an enduring community of support where scientists across career stages and disciplines advance decision-relevant research and engage with local communities, policymakers, land managers, and advocates. The Wilburforce Fellows build communication and leadership skills to forge solutions to some of the Western North America's greatest conservation challenges.
Like so many of us, Amanda has been pondering what this post-truth era means for science and scientists. For her, joining COMPASS is the next step in her personal journey to build a world where scientists contribute to thriving ecosystems and communities: "Fundamentally, I am driven by wanting to make change in the world, and helping science be a part of that change is where I've found the alignment between what I am good at, what I love doing, and what needs doing. The COMPASS team have been pioneers in this space and the partnership between Wilburforce and COMPASS has been incredibly rewarding. I am thrilled beyond measure to take on this new role."
Amanda’s leadership transition is timely, given scientists’ growing appetite—individually and collectively—to engage more fully with society and decision makers. No matter how they choose to engage, COMPASS helps scientists become more effective and influential. Scientists who work with COMPASS learn to focus on solutions rather than merely problems. They articulate what they know rather than focusing on uncertainty. They learn how to communicate the benefits of their science to society—the implications for health, safety, prosperity, security, and sustainability. They learn to give people a sense of hope rather than despair.
We are excited about the new energy and fresh perspectives that Amanda will bring to our work. COMPASS’ vision is to see more scientists effectively engage in the public discourse about the environment. In the coming years, that will be more important than ever. Scientists must have a seat at tables that matter, from kitchen tables to Chamber of Commerce breakfasts to state legislative offices to White House conference rooms. When that happens, we believe society ultimately will make better decisions. In the coming months, we look forward to sharing more with you here about what the future holds for COMPASS, and our plans to help you to contribute to a better world.
Image info: courtesy of Dr. Amanda Stanley.