The Western Environmental Law Center is thrilled to announce the addition of two new powerhouse environmental advocates to its leadership. Sristi Kamal joins the group today in the newly created position of deputy director. Sarah McMillan will begin as Wildlife and Wildlands Program director on Dec. 1.
Sristi comes to the group from Defenders of Wildlife, where she was a senior representative working to protect wildlife through legislative and policy lenses. She brings to WELC expansive knowledge of climate and conservation issues with an understanding of those issues’ human dimensions and a combination of lived experience, intellect, and purpose that will aid the group’s rapid ascendancy. She will work from Portland, Oregon.
“I am very excited to embark on this new adventure at WELC as the Deputy Director,” said Deputy Director Sristi Kamal. “WELC’s stellar reputation is built on a foundation of dedicated and passionate advocates, and it is my privilege to work alongside them. In addition to supporting the organization’s growth and ascendancy, I hope to share my perspective and lived experiences in policy advocacy and the human dimensions of conservation to further elevate WELC as a leader in the environmental movement in the western U.S.”
Sarah McMillan will join WELC next month, taking over leadership of its Wildlands and Wildlife Program. Sarah comes to WELC from WildEarth Guardians, where she served as conservation director and senior advisor to Guardians’ executive director.
“Sarah is one of the most kind, impressive, and trusted advocates I know,” said Executive Director Erik Schlenker-Goodrich. “In many respects, it feels like she’s coming home to us after having previously served WELC as an attorney from 2008 to 2011. Our venerated Susan Jane Brown is passing the program directorship torch to Sarah, which will supercharge Susan Jane’s already powerful legal, federal policy, and collaborative advocacy as a dedicated senior attorney.”
“I am delighted for the opportunity to do this crucial work at a pivotal time, and to do so surrounded by some of the smartest, funniest, most dedicated advocates and all-around good humans,” said incoming Wildlands and Wildlife Program Director Sarah McMillan. “I have some big shoes to fill as Susan Jane steps away from this program director role to bring her full capacity to collaborative, policy, and legal work. I know I will benefit from and rely on not only Susan Jane, but all the expertise in the Wildlands and Wildlife Program and at WELC more broadly. I am also thrilled about the prospect of working with Sristi who brings both depth and breadth of experience.”
“I’ve enjoyed leading the Wildlands and Wildlife Program as we have expanded the program to meet new and existing challenges facing the West,” said Susan Jane Brown, outgoing Wildlands and Wildlife Program director. “Under my leadership, the team has protected habitat for lynx, wolverine, grizzly bears, spotted owls, and salmon; developed and enacted federal and state legislation to conserve federal lands and reduce wildfire risk to cherished landscapes; elevated civil discourse through forest collaboration efforts in the region; and initiated and expanded partnerships with Pacific Northwest Tribes. Together, WELC has brought on new attorneys that have augmented our legal and policy expertise and capacity, and elevated WELC as a trusted expert in federal environmental law. Transitioning to a senior staff attorney position will allow me to focus on what I love most: using litigation, federal policy, and collaboration to meet the needs of our clients and partners. I look forward to working with Sarah and other WELC staff attorneys to continue the work of the Wildlands and Wildlife Program as we meet the challenges of a climate-constrained world.”
“Susan Jane’s decision to focus her time, experience, and intellect on wildlands and wildlife issues gives WELC increased capacity to address these critical matters successfully, in court and through collaborative and legislative processes,” said Board President Karin Sheldon. “Susan Jane’s skills in all these arenas are central to WELC’s singular achievements in protecting imperiled species and their habitats, as well as the iconic landscapes of the Pacific Northwest.”
The entire WELC team, board and staff, is excited for these changes and our strengthened ability to deliver cutting-edge strategic legal advocacy in service of the western U.S. we love so dearly.