Climate Initiative Leader
Alys serves as SELC’s representative and principal spokesperson on climate change and climate policy. She identifies and hones opportunities to drive climate solutions and connects SELC with national partners and leaders. She believes the South is critical to addressing the causes and consequences of climate change, and SELC has the skills and contextual expertise to deliver effective results.
“Tackling climate change is complex, diffuse, and can feel overwhelming,” she says. “It requires fundamental reshaping of how we live, work, and connect, and a willingness to think creatively to innovate a decarbonized future. SELC’s place-based, solutions-oriented model makes us uniquely equipped to identify and tackle the distinct challenges and opportunities in our region. It’s an honor to team up with such humble, driven, trusted tacticians, advocates, and advisors — and, when called for, powerful adversaries.”
Alys’ work is deeply rooted over time and geography, with global influence and one surprising location.
Most recently, she was a “problem solver for public good,” through her consulting services agency, Engage Strategies, tackling carbon pricing and flood resilience and other state and federal policy. She also has served as legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council and helped launch and lead the Center for American Progress as its senior vice president for external affairs.
Her earlier environmental work for legislators on Capitol Hill led to her serving on the Congressional delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that negotiated the Kyoto Protocol committing industrialized countries to limit and reduce greenhouse gases. On another congressional fact-finding mission, “I got to step inside the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository,” she says.
SELC brings Alys back to the region where her career began, at the National Audubon Society. She worked as an environmental policy analyst on green building and forest habitat management for privately-held timber land in the southeast.
Today, Alys’ “go-to spots” in the southeast include the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and the Francis Marion National Forest, prime habitat for turtles, migrating shorebirds, and other wildlife.
“It is astounding to be able to explore 30,000 acres of Class 1 national wilderness and more than a quarter million acres of protected land just 30 minutes from downtown Charleston,” she says. “The smells and sounds of the popping plough mud bring a sense of timelessness and awe of nature’s power to hold and release vast amounts of water with each changing tide.”
- Engage Strategies LLC, principal and co-owner
- Center for American Progress, senior vice president/senior fellow
- Natural Resources Defense Council, legislative director
- U.S. Senate, legislative assistant
- U.S. House of Representatives, professional committee staff
- National Audubon Society, environmental policy analyst
- M.A., New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service; Dean’s Merit Scholar; Robert Weinberg Planning Award
- School for Field Studies, field research on Wyoming pronghorn antelope population decline
- B.A., Wesleyan University, with honors
- With SELC since 2023