Audubon Board Addresses Workplace Culture

Work has begun to improve transparency between board and management and strengthen its governance practices.
Great Egret. Rick Derevan/Audubon Photography Awards

Over the past seven months, the board has taken a multipronged approach to better understand the workplace culture of Audubon.  

In January we hired attorney Grace Speights and her team at the law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations in the November 2020 Politico article and an assessment of our culture. Morgan Lewis’ findings reflect what the board heard about Audubon culture in its listening sessions. We thank all who chose to participate in these processes.

While the Morgan Lewis report did not verify all allegations, it did substantiate a culture of retaliation, fear, and antagonism towards women and people of color and tolerance of bullying and other bad behavior.  This is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

The board is taking steps to improve the transparency between board and management and strengthen its governance practices in response to the situation. We will form a working group to collaborate with management on structures and processes that achieve workplace fairness and excellence.   

In April, David Yarnold and the board jointly decided that Audubon needed a new leader.  We have begun a search for that leader and have named Elizabeth Gray as our interim CEO starting May 15.   

We thank all of you who have worked tirelessly for Audubon during this most difficult year while also dealing with the challenges and tragedies brought on by Covid-19.  Your well-being is important. We are proud of your dedication and our numerous conservation and policy successes achieved over the past several years.   

Onward to the hard work ahead, together.   

Maggie Walker, Susan Bell, Stephen Tan and Mike Connor 

On behalf of the Board