Introducing Mass Audubon's Next President
April 7, 2020
We are delighted to share that Mass Audubon's Board of Directors has unanimously and enthusiastically elected David O'Neill to be the 11th President of Mass Audubon.
David has dedicated his professional career to conservation. For the last five years, he has served as the Chief Conservation Officer and Senior Advisor to the CEO of National Audubon Society (NAS). While there, his powerful vision, collaborative nature, and ability to raise critical funds elevated the entire organization. He led the development of NAS's conservation strategies, helped to unify the state offices around a single vision, oversaw the organization's policy, advocacy, and science agendas, and launched innovative programs to help fight the impacts of climate change.
"David is a committed, proven leader who can hit the ground running on day one, bringing a highly relational and visionary approach," says Beth Kressley Goldstein, Mass Audubon's Board Chair. "I could not be more excited for the future of Mass Audubon and look forward to this next chapter in our long history in the Commonwealth."
Roles prior to his work at National Audubon include Vice President at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, and Director of Land Use Policy and Outreach for the Urban Land Institute.
For David, joining Mass Audubon is beyond exciting. He immediately connected with our desire to grow and unify the organization, allowing us to focus on the most pressing conservation issues of our time and broaden our impact for people and nature.
He is particularly inspired by our desire to expand our work on climate change, to tackle equity, diversity, and inclusion issues including our reach to new audiences, and to widen our lens to affect the health and resilience of Massachusetts, New England, and beyond.
And of course, the connection to nature Mass Audubon provides is close to his heart. "I was fortunate to tromp around on our family’s small farm as a child—running through the woods and streams, and canoeing on nearby rivers. In high school, I explored the Chesapeake Bay as part of an early environmental education program that turned out to shape my future," says David. "Nature and the outdoors will always be a place of wonder and solace—the beautiful sounds of migrating birds I hear today bring a special joy to my family and me. To lead a storied institution that provides so many with those life-altering, nature-based experiences is an exceptional honor."
David will join the organization in early June, succeeding Gary Clayton, who, after 30 years with Mass Audubon (the last five as president) will retire in May. David is looking forward to building on Gary's legacy and working with him to get to know our community, including members like you. He is also ready and able to be an effective leader during the current health crisis.
We know that a leadership transition in the midst of this crisis may cause uncertainties. However, the Board has deep confidence that the combination of the staff's commitment and expertise and David's leadership with counsel from Gary will ensure that the organization stays strong, impactful, and nimble.
We hope you will join us in welcoming David O'Neill to the Mass Audubon family as well as wish Gary Clayton good luck in his retirement.