As vice president for sustainable infrastructure and public sector initiatives, Kate Newman specializes in supporting large-scale conservation planning and policy development with a focus on promoting and enabling the global shift to sustainable and nature-based infrastructure. In her three decades with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Kate has worked with WWF colleagues around the world to facilitate the integration of cutting-edge conservation science into economic development through marine and terrestrial ecoregion planning, community-based conservation, protected area management, and conservation finance. She is currently leading the rollout of the WWF Network’s new Sustainable Infrastructure Strategic Framework.
Before coming to WWF, Kate worked in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, then Zaire, for the US Agency for International Development (USAID). While there, she supported farm-to-market road, minihydropower, and rural health clinic development while strengthening civil society organizations. She started in Zaire as a secondary schoolteacher for the Peace Corps. She received a BA in anthropology from the University of Virginia and an MSc in environmental management from the University of London.
Kate credits her fascination with vast, complex landscapes to two inspiring early life experiences. The first was on the upper Delaware River in Pennsylvania where her high school environmental science teacher introduced her to the wild outdoors on frequent eye-opening canoe trips along clear, fish-filled waters surrounded by densely forested mountains. The second was her six years in Zaire where she lived on the mighty Congo River and had the great privilege of traveling through forests across the country, sighting fascinating species such as bongo, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and mountain gorillas. Experiencing these two rich and productive river-forest complexes provided Kate with a deep respect for the fundamental importance of maintaining intact natural landscapes both for the sake of our planet’s future and for the millions of people who rely on them for their health and well-being—benefiting from the ecosystem services we can never replace if conservation fails.