Kate Gunness Williams
First term: February 1999–2005
Second term: Elected June 2009
NOLS Courses: 1985 Wind River Wilderness, 1987 Mountain Instructors Course
Kate took her first NOLS course just five days after her high school graduation in 1975, and since then NOLS has always been a passion and inspiration in her life.
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 life has played out in the fields of outdoor education, conservation, and recreation management, including positions at High Country News, the Trust for Public Land, and Albuquerque Academy.
Since 2004, Kate has been 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) has published a 13-map set covering the route and developed nationally recognized models for water trail stewardship, community economic development linked to recreation, and rural youth outdoor programming. NFCT has also gained recognition for its innovative organizational model in which a small staff stewards extensive networks of partners to accomplish shared goals along the length of the trail.
Kate lives in Waitsfield, Vermont, where she is chair of her town Select Board and co-owner of the Vermont Yak Company, a three-family venture breeding and raising grass-fed yak for meat, fiber, and stock sales. Kate is married to Rob. They have two children, Anneka and Theron. She is an avid runner, hiker, and Nordic skier, with aspirations to keep up with her kids in the glades at Mad River Glen.