Q&A with Kate Janeway, a Force of Nature and Woman of Influence

We are thrilled that two of our board members, Kate Janeway and Jenette Ramos, were selected as women of influence by the Puget Sound Business Journal in November 2018.

We spoke with Kate and Jenette to congratulate them on this distinction, and learn more about her inspirations, dedication, and commitment to the Conservancy’s mission. 

Kate Janeway plants saplings in a burned area near Roslyn. Photo © Hannah Letinich

Kate Janeway started her career as a lawyer, motivated early on by the legal aftermath of a huge offshore oil spill near her home town of Santa Barbara, Calif. But she soon realized that her passion for the environment might be better engaged in a different role. Kate returned to school, earning a degree in environmental policy and natural-resource management in 1984.

Then she started what she calls her “dream job,” as the assistant director of the Washington and Alaska Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Kate is now a leadership consultant and coach, working with organizations to focus and sharpen the impact of their work. As a board member, she brings an impressive ability to keep our mission moving ahead.

The Nature Conservancy: How did the Santa Barbara oil spill influence your direction in life?

Kate Janeway: My love of nature began long before the Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969.  Family vacations were often spent in Yosemite National Park.  By the time of the oil spill, when I was 15, I had a deep connection with nature and wild things. So the oil spill and its devastation was a profound injury. The fact that there were no environmental laws, and that the oil company had no responsibility for the spill, put me on a warpath.   

TNC: Since then, what has sustained your strong connection to the Nature Conservancy and the environment?

Kate: The Nature Conservancy is by far the longest standing commitment in my personal and professional life.

I care about so many things related to conservation and the environment. I treasure the beauty and serenity of wild places.  I am happier when I spend time in nature; and studies say I might even be smarter.

Kate Janeway on Roslyn Ridge. Photo © Hannah Letinich

TNC: As a board member of the Conservancy in Washington, what are your long term goals for the Conservancy here?  

Kate: The health of Puget Sound is a critical focus for the quality of life in our region.  Our work to stem the flow of storm water into the Sound makes a significant positive difference. 

TNC: What’s the best thing about being on the board for the Conservancy in Washington?

Kate: The best thing, by far, is that I work with wonderful people with exceptional skills and dedication.

TNC: In your work as an leadership coach, you’ve mentioned looking for that thing that really lights someone up. What is that thing or things for you?

Kate: My husband and my son, who share my love of being outside. My family and friends. The integrity and courage and good spirits of the people I work with. The beauty of the city and the region in which I am fortunate to live. Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, and Desolation Sound are my favorite places to spend time.

TNC: Finally, congratulations again on being selected by the Puget Sound Business Journal as a woman of influence. Any thoughts on how this honor might tie into your work with the Nature Conservancy?

Kate: Thank you. First of all, I’m honored to be honored! It’s humbling to be recognized for the work that I’ve done. And it’s great to have a platform to further elevate the conservation and environmental issues I care about.

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