Tara is the Vice President of Strategy & Accounts at Blue Practice, an environmentally and sustainability-focused communications agency, where she drives business development and organizational marketing. She brings over 10 years of strategic communications experience to her role and believes that storytelling is a key element to increasing public engagement on pressing environmental issues. Coming from the nonprofit sector, Tara has worked in development at the World Resources Institute and more recently as the head of communications for The Borneo Project and Future 500. She is an active San Francisco community member and sits on the board of the Randall Museum Friends where she chairs the communications committee. She holds an MPA with a concentration in environmental policy from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and a B.A. in psychology from Connecticut College.
How did you become involved in your current career?
I attribute my love for the outdoors to digging for worms with friends as a young child growing up in western Massachusetts. I believe that getting your hands dirty is one of the best things you can do – both literally and metaphorically – to stay connected to the planet we call home. I’ve also been very vocal about protecting the Earth from as far back as I can remember – from Sierra Club canvassing in high school to picking up litter on the street. The belief that each person can truly make a difference remains my motto. My environmental career developed after taking an environmental policy class at Connecticut College my senior year that enlightened me to the seriousness of climate change and the dire ecological issues that face us all today. I decided then and there to apply my love for the environment to my career and here I am!
What environmental issues are of most concern to you?
Of course climate change, bad energy policy, factory farming, and ocean acidification, to name a few. While those examples remain absolutely true and valid concerns, a bigger concern to me is public apathy towards environmental issues and money in politics; two critical areas that I believe are intertwined and feeding the very systemic issues we continue to battle today. Nothing exists in a silo and in order to address the byproducts of a resource-intensive economy, we need to fundamentally address the societal root cause of how we got here and shift our ways significantly and collectively. For example, living with less stuff, eating less meat, taking public transportation if it’s available, driving less / walking more, etc. Environmental protection will follow if we all made meaningful and consistent shifts in our behavior.
What do you think are some challenges and opportunities facing women in the environmental movement today?
Women continue to face an up-hill battle when it comes to wage equality and positions of power, but in the environmental field, I see many women doing amazing things. I’d like to see even more, particularly women in science driving climate change solutions and women leading the way in environmental policy and finance. Given these sectors, particularly science and finance, have historical been dominated by men, getting women more and more engaged in these fields will be key to pushing the environmental envelope forward in a more balanced and impactful way.
What are your suggestions on how WEN members can become more involved in your sector and the environmental movement?
The communications space, particularly the environmental communications space, is so exciting and so necessary. Storytelling is empowering and can be the difference between an amazing movement that catalyzes change and one that nobody knows about. I highly recommend going to talks at WEN, The Commonwealth Club / Climate One and Earth Island Institute – I have found those groups to not only be a great environmental news resource, but a fabulous networking platform. Most importantly, I recommend volunteering so you can explore what niche of the environmental movement calls most to you. The Bay Area is full of amazing environmental organizations in need of help and once you get in the door you never know what can happen!