ABOVE: Tanya Wick, Vice President, People, and Services, Tolko Industries


WASHINGTON, PRNewswire — A group of visionary, practical, and supportive women has come together to help shape the Women’s Forest Congress. Advisory Council members serve as advisors to the Steering Committee, advocate for the Congress’s broader work, and ensure equal representation from diverse backgrounds, organizations, and views. The Advisory Council brings unique knowledge, skills, and wisdom to augment the Steering Committee, with the goal of building out the Women’s Forest Congress.

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The Advisory Council also provides another way to be intentional about the direction of the Women’s Forest Congress, making room for more voices and perspectives in a different leadership capacity. While the Steering Committee retains decision-making authority, the Advisory Council provides information, recommendations, and advice for future courses of action. 

The 2021 Women’s Forest Congress Advisory Council

Ebonie Alexander, Executive Director, Black Family Land Trust
Based in Durham, North Carolina, the Black Family Land Trust is one of the country’s leading land trusts. It’s dedicated to preserving and protecting African American and other historically underserved populations’ land assets, including forests, using the core principles of community-based economic development. Ebonie joined the Council because she thinks its work has value for all communities. On a personal level, she believes she will bring an important voice to the Council based on her cultural and programmatic experience. Ebonie lives on land that has been in her family for generations, and when she walks in the woods, she feels a spiritual connection with her ancestors.

Tia Beavert, Tribal Forest Manager, Yakama Nation Tribal Forestry
The Yakama Nation Reservation covers 1.4 million acres in south-central Washington State and includes 650,000 acres of forest and woodlands. Yakama Nation Tribal Forestry provides about 80 jobs for Tribal members within the Wildland Fire, Fuels, Forest Development, Mount Adams Recreation Tract-D, and Fee Land Forestry Programs. The program collaborates with other government agencies in cross-boundary forest management efforts. Tia accepted her role on the Council because she wants the opportunity to encourage other women to grow professionally and to enhance her ability to manage Yakama lands for her people. As an enrolled member of the Yakama Tribe, she brings a Tribal perspective to the Council.

MaryKate Bullen, Director of Sustainability and ESG, Forest Investment Associates
Forest Investment Associates is a timberland investment manager based in Atlanta with an unwavering focus on environmental stewardship that contributes to healthier forest ecosystems and better forestry investment performance. MaryKate leads FIA’s sustainability and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs, working across the business to identify opportunities to preserve and create value and to build an inclusive investment platform that sees sustainability as an essential driver for the success of the forest industry. She joined the Council to help ensure that women’s perspectives, concerns, and needs are considered in how we think about the future of forestry. MaryKate brings a strong global perspective on sustainability strategy and challenges facing the sector, which will complement the existing leadership of the Women’s Forest Congress. She enjoys hiking and camping in national forests and state parks with her husband and two rescue beagles.

Deborah Hawkinson, President, Forest Resources Association
Based in Washington, DC, the Forest Resources Association represents the interests of nearly 300 organizations and businesses in the forest products industry. Its membership includes loggers, mills, equipment manufacturers, local forestry associations, and large corporations. Deborah believes the Council offers a unique and vibrant viewpoint for forestry, and she is excited to contribute her thoughts to this important conversation. With over 25 years of experience in the forest sector, beginning in an administrative position, she brings a broad set of knowledge and expertise and a unique ability to relate to women at different stages of their careers. Deborah is fortunate to live along the Potomac Gorge, where she loves to hike with her husband and dog Brody and help her family enjoy trees in a resilient and beautiful landscape. 

Jessica Leahy, Henry W. Saunders Distinguished Professor in Forestry, University of Maine
Jessica’s research covers environmental attitudes and behaviors towards forests, forestry, and other natural resource management topics using a social psychology and communication approach. Her research program, based in Orono, Maine, encompasses the role of social capital and trust in public involvement, participation, and citizen science; forest landowner decision-making processes; and the influence of media and educational campaigns on attitudes and behavior. Jessica joined the Council because she believes it has the potential to be an industry-wide game-changer that can encourage women to study forestry and bring diversity to the sector. She owns 400 acres of woodland in Maine and spends most weekends practicing silviculture with her husband and chocolate lab, Cori. 

Caitlyn Pollihan, CEO and Executive Director, International Society of Arboriculture
The International Society of Arboriculture promotes the professional practice of arboriculture. ISA exists so that professionals, allied professionals, public officials, and consumers worldwide recognize the economic, environmental, and societal benefits and values of trees. The ISA has a global membership and credentialing body. One of its goals is to ensure that arboriculture and urban forestry are seen as a diverse and inclusive profession that people will want to choose as their career. Caitlyn accepted her role on the Council because she feels that increasing the participation of women in the forestry sector is critical for the future of our forests. Caitlyns’s regular visits to her local park in Atlanta have highlighted the importance of using her work to guarantee access to trees and green space for everyone.

Deborah Spalding, Co-Chief Investment Officer, Commonfund
Commonfund Asset Management is a leading investment advisor to nonprofit institutions. Deborah co-leads the investment team and oversees the design, tailoring, and implementation of custom solutions for clients. She also leads the firm’s ESG and sustainable investment efforts. Deborah serves as an independent board member of Resource Management Service, LLC, a Birmingham, Alabama-based timber investment management organization. She is also a lecturer in forest and ecosystem finance at Yale University. Deborah accepted her role on the Council because she believes women can provide a unique and important perspective on sustainable forest management. A passionate environmentalist, she brings her financial expertise and real-world market perspective to her work on the Council. An avid kayaker, Deborah enjoys spending time outdoors with her friends and family.

Andrea Tuttle, Forest and Climate Policy Consultant
Based in Arcata, California, Andrea was the first woman Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. For over a decade, she attended the UN climate negotiations and consulted in South East Asia and China on sustainable forest management. She now serves on the boards of the Pacific Forest Trust, the Save the Redwoods League, and formerly on the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities. She joined the Council to help the Women’s Forest Congress focus on the substantive knowledge that women can bring to the field of forestry. Andrea strongly believes women in forestry should use their voice to promote the importance of forests to the planet, ecosystems, and society by applying their science and management skills. The magic of ancient redwood forests is in close reach outside her door, where Andrea and friends are invigorated by their majesty.

Tanya Wick, Vice President, People, and Services, Tolko Industries
Tolko Industries is a privately owned Canadian forest products company with operations in western Canada, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. It manufactures and markets specialty forest products to world markets. Tolko’s products include lumber, plywood, veneer, and oriented strand board. As the first woman executive in Tolko Industries’ 65-year history, Tanya partners with executive leaders and the board of directors to shape and execute the organization’s strategic direction. She joined the Council to help create an open and supportive environment where women get the opportunity to develop the knowledge and abilities they need to build their careers. She likes to spend weekends outdoors with her partner and dog, where she can reset in a place where there are no boundaries, and the opportunities seem endless.

The Women’s Forest Congress Wants to Hear from You

The Advisory Council wants your perspective and ideas to ensure the Congress delivers on its remarkable potential. Learn more or email us, and join the conversation at Twitter (@WomensForestCng), Facebook (@womensforestcongress), and LinkedIn (@womens forest congress).