Director, Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition
Laura Rubin has spent more than 30 years working on environmental protection, policy, and conservation issues. She is currently the Director of the Healing Our Waters—Great Lakes Coalition, which has been harnessing the collective power of more than 160 groups representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. The Coalition has earned a well-deserved reputation as a national leader in securing federal investment in regional ecosystem restoration efforts.
Before that Rubin worked as executive director of the Michigan-based Huron River Watershed Council since 1998, where she transformed the nonprofit from a low-profile organization to a high-impact, high-visibility national leader in the field of watershed management. HRWC leads in the development and dissemination of cutting-edge conservation and public-education projects and serves as a model for watershed organizations around the country and world.
She has served as a board member or advisor to local, state, and national organizations including the Michigan Environmental Council, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the Great Lakes Integrated Science and Assessment Center, the University of Michigan School Of Natural Resources’ External Advisory Board, the City of Ann Arbor’s Greenbelt Commission, and others. For her national leadership in river protection, she received the River Network’s 2013 River Hero Award.
Prior to leading HRWC, Laura worked with small and medium sized manufacturers on pollution prevention efforts, consulted on economic development strategy with the Navajo Nation, and served as a Program Director at Greenpeace, where she cut her teeth on policy development, community organizing, and environmental advocacy.
Originally from the Chicago area, Laura grew up a block from Lake Michigan and learned to love and appreciate the beautiful waters, recreational opportunities, and rich ecology of the Great Lakes. She earned Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Natural Resource Policy at the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute, and a Bachelor of Arts in business economics from Colorado College.
First African American Chairman of Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Commission, & Northeast Regional Director, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mamie A. Parker worked almost 30 years as a fish and wildlife biologist for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in Genoa; La Crosse; Green Bay, Madison, and Lake Mills, Wisconsin; Columbia, Missouri; New London and Minneapolis, Minnesota; Atlanta, Georgia; Amherst, MA; and Washington, D.C. During the Clinton Administration, Parker rose to the rank of Chief of Staff in the Service Headquarters, the first African American to hold this title.
Parker has outstanding experience in NEPA, Clean Water Act wetland protection and restoration. This extensive experience led her to receive the Annual Ira Gabrielson Award, an award to given by FWS leaders to the most outstanding leader in the agency. She played a major role in protecting our nation’s waters from the pollutants and invasive species such listing the Snakehead fish and Asian Carp as an injurious wildlife species. Parker led the FWS staff, along with partners in developing the National Fish Habitat Action Plan. The President of the United States presented Parker with the Presidential Rank award, the highest award given to government employees.
Parker also led the effort in working with the American Pharmaceutical Association and Wal-Mart to promote a national campaign of smart disposal of medicine and unwanted aquarium fish and plants. She was featured on the NPR’s Morning Edition. Parker is a leader in various organizations and serves on the Board of Directors of The Nature Conservancy, Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment, Northland College, Student Conservation Association, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, Brown Advisory Sustainable Investment, Marstel-Day Consulting Company, and the Chesapeake Conservancy.
Former Secretary Madeleine Albright and the Council of World Women Leaders awarded her with an Aspen Institute Fellowship for her work in the Kingdom of Lesotho and in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. She recently returned from the China where she spoke at the World Fisheries Congress on the impacts of climate change and development in coastal cities and communities of color.