Rare observation: “The people and the culture make Rare Rare (and rare). The essence of Rare is the strong push to find solutions that work and scale them. Along the way, there is always a strong emphasis on collecting data, learning from it, and constantly improving the process and programs. Rare is a unique organization that uses education, pride, and tenacity to help both people and nature.”
First day at Rare: Brett went bird watching in Monteverde, Costa Rica, with a ravenous group of listers. “I think one of them stepped over me on a trail to get a look at a bellbird,” says Brett. “And my thought was, ‘These people are passionate about nature.’ I was hooked.”
Interests: conservation, experiencing the outdoors; fly fishing and birding.
Other boards: The Nature Conservancy - Idaho Chapter; The Nature Conservancy - Argentina, Patagonia; Trout Unlimited
Rare observation: “Rare is transparent. It tries many things and isn't afraid to admit when something does not work. However, when something does work — when they find that “bright spot” that is changing how people live and work in their environment — they spread it far and wide. Inspired vision, remarkable leadership, and a fantastic team!”
Rare observation:Rare’s work inspires behavior change where it matters most – in the local communities that depend on nearby ecosystems. By cultivating a new mindset for stewardship, it becomes possible to protect biodiversity and improve human welfare. This shift is essential if we are to achieve meaningful and durable change to the unnecessarily destructive practices we see in communities all around the world.
What makes me so excited about Rare is that instead of focusing on regulating and restricting others' activities, it strives to provide win-win programs for communities, programs that not only enhance sustainability and productivity, but also draw communities closer and enhance their knowledge of and pride in their natural environment."
Current position: Founder, iThrive Games, a non-profit organization that fosters the adoption of positive psychology practices in video games for teenagers in order to increase social emotional learning and adolescent wellbeing.
Other boards: The Focused Ultrasound Foundation, The Contemplative Sciences Center at the University of VA, the Alumni Board of Trustees at UVA, The Women's Initiative (Charlottesville, VA)
Why conservation?: I grew up in a beautiful natural environment surrounded by woods, a large river, and the Atlantic Ocean. I often rescued injured birds and animals, and nature became my therapy and savior. I was very aware of how important clean water was for the health of all life, and wanted to help ensure that the most important natural habitats on earth could thrive.
Current or most recent job: Chief Investment Officer of Sun Life Financial
Other Board affiliations: Johnson School (Emeritus)
What makes you proud to be a part of Rare? We are helping many people in distant parts of the world, many of them at the bottom of the pyramid, to create a more sustainable living for future generations. In the process, we are reversing some of the devastation that we are causing our environment.
Rare is special because of the people: staff, Rare Fellows, partners and board members. Each and every one of them inspires me, encourages me and makes me proud of the work Rare does and the legacy we are leaving.”
Rare fact: Paul serves as both a staff member and trustee. He has worked at Rare for 26 years beginning when there were just two staff, a total budget of less than $100,000 and an office smaller than the average kitchen. When originally asked to join Rare, Paul pledged to stay for at least ten years so long as it remained an innovative, creative and fun place to work. He says, “It has — and still is — a quarter of a century later.”
Current or most recent job: Officer of the Bromley Charitable Trust; human rights lawyer
What makes Rare different? Rare is a conservation organization that really cares about people. That comes across in the clear commitment and teamwork seen in the staff, but also in the collaboration with communities affected by conservation. It is this respect for the people working on and affected by these issues that helps deliver conservation results.
What makes you proud to be a part of Rare? I'm proud to be part of Rare because Rare pushes for solutions and has an incredibly positive culture in the face of daunting odds. By putting together real, tested solutions to very different pieces of the puzzle, Rare makes a real impact.
Current or most recent job: Managing Director of Galbreath & Company
Other Board affiliations: Paramount Group Inc., Interval Leisure Group, The Nature Conservancy Montana chapter, Urban Land Institute
What makes Rare different? Rare is different in that the focus is on behavior change and partnering with local community and local organizations. Rare’s approach of educating and having community investment is where real change can occur.
What makes you proud to be a part of Rare? I am proud to be part of Rare because it allows me to use my passion and interest in conservation, farming and wildlife. Education is the key to success in these underserved communities and I am thrilled to be involved with this organization.
Addressing environmental challenges can often be perceived as a negative endeavor. Rare flips this inside out, approaching conservation by strengthening the relationships between people, place, and animals and creating positive and enduring solutions."
Current position: Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and former EPA General Counsel
Hobby or passion: I enjoy experiencing the beauty and bounty of nature.
Why Rare? I’m proud to be a board member at Rare because it serves as a true multiplier for voices around the environmental and conservation table, exemplifying the true spirit of partnership where it is needed the most.
Many sectors have used design thinking and behavioral insights to advance their impact—whether that’s for social good or commercial success. Rare aims to pioneer a way to systematically apply these approaches to community-based conservation, a critical contribution to the environmental movement."
Current position: Executive Director of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the d.school) at Stanford University
Why Rare? Solving the world’s most pressing environmental challenges requires empathy, optimism, creativity, and a willingness to experiment with new approaches. In my experience, Rare's people embody those values.
As Paul Butler realized in 1977 and clearly states now, ‘if people don’t see benefit, they’re not going to change behavior.’ Rare understands that if you are going to ask people to change behavior, they have to see value in that change and Rare has developed strategies for identifying and communicating these benefits.”
Other boards: The Safina Center, NGS Int’l Council of Advisors, Pristine Seas
Rare fact: "I ultimately find certain animals more capable of smart and consistent decision-making than humans — in particular, elephants, that I had the privilege of observing during my college-age years rather than pursuing a more traditional education."
I am proud to be part of Rare because its work with local communities and national governments to help people and nature thrive is a smart, strategic, and thoughtful approach to conserving our environment. I am especially proud of the work we do in Brazil, my home country."
Current position: President of the Roberto Marinho Foundation and Board Member of Grupo Globo
Other boards: Juntos pelo Desenvolvimento Sustentável – Comunitas (Together for Sustainable Development), Ethos Institute of Enterprises and Social Responsibility, Board of Curators of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra Foundation, Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS), The Nature Conservancy’s Latin America Conservation Council, Lincoln Center Latin America Advisory Board, Harvard Global Advisory Council, Reina Sofia School of Music International Circle
Why conservation?: I have been passionate about the environment most of my life. Starting at a young age I spent time with my family on the coast and exploring some of Brazil’s natural treasures. It is so important that we do all that we can to protect our natural resources, and I’ve devoted much of my adult life to doing that.
Rare fact: I have worked as a newspaper reporter and editor and a programming director of a radio station in Brazil.
What makes Rare different?A few things. Rare addresses conservation and development challenges through market driven solutions to change behavior. The organization and its leadership also have an uncommonly strong drive to constantly improve the effectiveness of their work.
The evolution of Rare has been remarkable. While we are 20 times bigger now in terms of staff and budget than in 1996, we still retain the unique culture that attracted me to Rare in the first place. I love the spirit of Rare.”
Current interests: investor in real estate and green tech companies
Other boards: Flamboyan Foundation, Sapientis, CCM Group
Rare observation: “The people make Rare special. From Brett to the most recent hire, from the board chair to our newest board member, there is a shared commitment to conservation and a shared passion for doing the right thing, respecting each other and our partners, and being innovative thinkers.”
Current position: Staff writer for the Christian Science Monitor
Other board: Jarrow Montessori
Why conservation? “I feel an immense wonder and awe at the diversity of life, ecosystems and landscapes we have on this planet and a sense of urgency about the need to protect it. While it can be discouraging to see how much nature we’ve already lost, I feel a deep responsibility to do whatever is possible to conserve what remains for future generations.”
Current interests: Working landscapes, birdwatching, urban hike and bike trails
Other boards The Nature Conservancy of Montana; The Nature Conservancy of Ohio, honorary life trustee; Smith College, Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability (CEEDS)
Rare goal: “I want Rare to become a household name. I want all of us to have pride in the natural systems that support our lives. Valuing our natural resources, finding sustainable solutions to problems and harnessing the power of people’s pride to make changes for conservation. Rare offers us a bright path forward.”
Other Boards: The Nature Conservancy - Illinois chapter; Openlands (Chicago); Field Museum Science Action Committee; BirdLife International/Audubon US Stewardship Council (chair); several conservation advisory boards; Bobolink Foundation (chairman)
Rare fact: "My husband and I danced in a conga line on a beach in Argentina with a human-sized red knot mascot in the lead."
Why conservation? “Because of the beauty and endless diversity of nature, the species and ecosystems that don’t have a voice.”
Rare defies categorization. The organization is defined by its commitment to produce substantive conservation results and its grassroots approach that benefits people. Rare is also an educational institution with a growing list of Rare Fellows to prove it."
Current position: Professor at Georgetown University
Rare pride: “The people of Rare make me proud, especially the values they bring to their work. I am in awe of Rare's staff members and their dedication to the success of everyPride campaign, and the Rare Fellow that leads it. “