WWF Board member Lauren Tyler on the peace of water

Lauren Tyler standing on coast near rock formations

Lauren Tyler isn’t afraid of getting a little dirty—especially when it comes to protecting one of her lifelong passions: water.

“Honestly, inside I’m still the same person I was when I was 10 years old,” says Tyler, laughing. Growing up in Ohio, she spent countless hours going “creeking”—wearing old tennis shoes and walking through nearby Rush Creek for “what seemed like miles” looking for tadpoles, frogs, and fish; turning over rocks; and basking in her independence and connection with nature. It also sparked her awareness that water, just like wildlife, needs protection.

“There was a hospital a few miles up the creek, and every time I got closer to it, I saw oily bubbles of pollution in the water,” she says. “That upset me, and I’ve never forgotten it.”

Creeking was her thing as a kid. Today, it’s swimming. “I’m a Masters swimmer, and I do open-water swims, mostly in Lake George [New York], whenever I can,” Tyler says. “And I’m constantly picking up whatever I find on my swims—plastic bottles, old sunglasses. Doing my little bit to keep the water clean makes me happy.”

She describes herself as a water person and says that “being in the water is almost sacred to me—it’s where I find my peace.”

Tyler has worked in the financial sector for more than 30 years and currently leads Human Resources at JP Morgan Chase for the Asset and Wealth Management business. She has also served as the company’s chief global auditor. Some might not see the connection between finance and conservation, but to Tyler it makes perfect sense.

“Being in the water is almost sacred to me—it’s where I find my peace.”

Lauren Tyler
WWF Board Member

“Current funding for conservation priorities is woefully inadequate,” she says. “So, in the face of the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, the finance industry is a key partner. Finance provides money, of course, but also strategic advice, connections, and so much more.” Sustainable financing is also key to helping achieve the global goal of protecting 30% of the planet’s land, ocean, and freshwater by 2030.

Tyler admires the creative financial methods that WWF has applied to its work over the years. One example is Project Finance for Permanence (PFP), an approach borrowed from Wall Street that involves raising all the money, setting all the policies, and finalizing all the planning needed for a single long-term, large-scale conservation project before it is officially launched. The PFP model has been implemented in countries like Bhutan, Brazil, and Colombia.

“The finance industry is without a doubt increasingly focused on working creatively at the intersection of conservation and sustainable financing,” Tyler says. “It’s gratifying to see the pace at which these types of partnerships are taking shape.”

When considering what boards to serve on, Tyler looked for opportunities where she could give back while also learning something. “I’m happy to share my corporate experience in service to WWF’s mission of creating a future where nature and people thrive,” she says. “And I’m happy to do the work—to get my hands dirty and jump into any body of water in the name of conservation. But I also love to learn. And my fellow WWF Board members are so impressive. Whenever we’re together, I’m soaking up everything I can.”

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