United States, Born 1946
Since becoming president and chief executive officer of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) USA in 1989, Kathryn S. Fuller has crafted groundbreaking public policy and legal agreements that have helped further the organization’s global wildlife and habitat conservation programmes, while expanding its membership, revenues, reach and effectiveness.
Fuller, one of America’s most prominent conservationists, finds it ironic that two subjects she shunned as an idealistic law student in the 1970s — corporate law and finance — are important aspects of her work today. Although Fuller’s love of nature stems from her childhood and the influence of her naturalist mother, it was a trip to Tanzania in 1973 to study wildebeest behaviour that strengthened her resolve to become a conservationist.
After law school, she joined the U.S. Justice Department where she helped to create and later run the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section, studying marine ecology in her spare time. Fuller joined WWF in 1983, serving as director of the international wildlife trade-monitoring programme, TRAFFIC (USA), as director of public policy, and as general counsel. Since then, she has gained recognition for advancing conservation financial mechanisms and the involvement of local women in designing and implementing conservation solutions.
Among Fuller’s many honours are the UN Environmental Programme Global 500 award in 1990 and several honorary doctorates. For Fuller, “staying focused on what you want to accomplish” is key.
Published in 2004