Katherine Gunness Williams
First term: February 1999–2005
Second term: June 2009 – ~2014
NOLS Courses: 1985 Wind River Wilderness, 1987 Mountain Instructors Course
Kate took her first NOLS course five days after her high school graduation in 1985, and NOLS has always been a passion and inspiration in her life ever since.
Kate is the Director of Partnerships and New England Network at 1% for the Planet. 1% was launched in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia, Inc.) and Craig Mathews (Blue Ribbon Flies). It is a rapidly growing, global network of companies that give at least 1% of their annual sales to nonprofit organizations focused on issues of sustainability. Membership currently consists of more than 1100 businesses in 48 countries, together giving more than $20 million annually to environmental groups worldwide, with more than $100 million given to date. 1%’s Director of Partnerships and New England Network was created to help shape a partnership agenda, both globally and with a focus in New England.
Kate earned a bachelor degree in history from Princeton University in 1989 and a master's degree in management from MIT's Sloan School of Management in 1997. Her professional work has been in the fields of outdoor education, conservation, and recreation management, including positions at High Country News, the Trust for Public Land, and Albuquerque Academy. From 2004 to 2014 Kate was the executive director of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT), a 740-mile water trail tracing traditional Native American travel routes across New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire, and Maine. During her tenure, NFCT (incorporated in 2000) published a 13-map set and a Guidebook covering the route, and developed nationally recognized models for water trail stewardship, community economic development linked to recreation, and rural youth outdoor programming.
Kate lives in Waitsfield, Vermont, where she co-founded the Vermont Yak Company, a three-family farm business and served two elected terms as the first woman on her town's Select Board. Kate is married to Rob. They have two children, Anneka and Theron. She is an avid distance runner, hiker, and Nordic skier, with aspirations to keep up with her kids in the glades at Mad River Glen.