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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, June 23, 2014, 6:25 am

Women in Business 2014: Ann Hancock, Climate Protection Campaign

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    Women in BusinessExecutive director, Climate Protection Campaign, P.O. Box 3785, Santa Rosa 95402, 707-525-1665, climateprotection.org

    Age: 65

    Residence: Graton

    Professional background: Public health

    Education: B.S., applied behavioral sciences, University of Colorado, Denver; M.P.H., public health administration and planning, University of California, Berkeley

    Staff: 10

    Ann Hancock

    Ann Hancock

    Tell us about yourself and your company: Public health is the lens through which I see the world. The global climate crisis is the biggest threat to all life.

    I am also driven by my sense of beauty. To me, wrecking the planet is ugly as well as stupid.

    I am privileged to do the work I do. I am grateful every day to be part of the beloved community here and to be supported by the heroic philanthropists like Jeannie Schulz, who make this work possible.

    The global climate system is changing faster than scientists originally predicted. We have to pull together and create a clean-energy world as quickly as possible. Our children and their children deserve the beautiful planet we inherited and the economic opportunities we have had.

    We are not waiting for Congress to act. The Climate Protection Campaign creates model programs for communities everywhere to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

    How has the organization grown and adapted since its founding to its involvement today with regional planning agencies and public policy?: The Climate Protection Campaign has helped Sonoma County be the California of California. As California is the nation’s climate-protection leader, Sonoma County is California’s climate-protection leader.

    Because we’ve helped advance the community, our job has changed through the years from awakening and establishing Sonoma County’s commitment to climate protection to advocating for speed and scale solutions like Sonoma Clean Power to inspiring other communities to adopt solutions that Sonoma County helps test and perfect. If it can’t happen here, where can it happen? We have a big responsibility.

    What is a major accomplishment in the past year or so?: Community choice aggregation power agency Sonoma Clean Power, which launched May 1.

    What is the achievement you are most proud of?: Sonoma County inspires communities worldwide with its climate-protection leadership.

    What is your biggest challenge today?: Sharing our story so that people are increasingly inspired to act including investing in our work. Climate change is the issue of our time. It impacts every health, economic, political and ecological system on Earth. Philanthropic, political, and business leaders realize that their most important passions are inextricably impacted by global warming.

    As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced?: My self-doubts were and are my biggest obstacles.

    How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: Demand for climate-protection professionals will increase as climate impacts become more frequent and severe. Those who can produce positive change while navigating complex systems — the interplay of economic, political, environmental, equity and psychosocial systems — will increasingly be in demand. I can think of nothing more complex than solving the climate crisis.

    Tell us a little about your most important mentor: Bruce MacPherson, formerly at Santa Rosa Junior College, taught me about ecology and economics at the perfect moment in my life when I was hungry for understanding.

    What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?: Be clear on your passion to contribute, be unstoppable, and be sure to have fun doing it. Remember what St. Peter told the damned soul at the pearly gates, “Hell’s overcrowded now. Go back and live with the politically correct liberals.”

    Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Donella Meadows, for her insights about sustainability and power to inspire people by them

    Words that best describe you: Passionate and dedicated

    Current reading: Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin

    Most want to meet: Billionaire Tom Steyer, who reoriented his career to address the climate crisis

    Stress-relievers: Meditation, exercise and some other less-admirable stuff

    Favorite hobbies: Gardening

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