Getting to Know New Earthwatch CEO, Larry Mason

It has been exactly one month since I walked through the doors of Earthwatch, and as you might imagine, my calendar has been teeming with productive events and fantastic travels that have taken me to Boston, Princeton, New York, London, Oxford, Los Angeles, San Francisco, UC Davis, the Cosumnes River Preserve, the Sierra Nevada and UN Reno.  I have had the pleasure to interact with Earthwatch volunteers & staff, principal investigators, scientific advisors & experts, foundations, donors and board members.  Every interaction inspires me and makes me proud to be a part of the Earthwatch Institute.

Larry Mason, Earthwatch CEO, at the Boston Headquarters

Larry Mason, Earthwatch CEO, at the Boston Headquarters

In my travels, I have consistently received three questions more than any others.  As such, I would like to take the liberty to assume many of you also have these questions.  Therefore, I will make them the subject of my first blog.

What’s your background?
I am in my early fifties, I’m married and have six children.  I come to Earthwatch with a successful and diverse thirty year, for-profit business career.  I spent almost twenty years in sales, marketing and management at P&G.  Highlights of my time at P&G include a remarkable nine year experience living in Asia, leading P&G’s sales operations in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India.  I also had the privilege to lead P&G’s US Walmart Stores Customer Team.  I also served as President of Goodyear’s $6 billion North American Consumer Tire Division for five years.  In 2008, I left big business to start up a privately held investment company with holdings in healthcare.

What made you come to Earthwatch?
As you might imagine, assuming a CEO role is a mutual decision between a board and a CEO.  Last fall, I became acquainted with several board members tasked with searching for a new CEO after Ed Wilson announced his intention to step down at the end of the year.  The board members were squarely focused on the future, where Earthwatch would build on its outstanding foundation through global expansion.  Earthwatch’s mission is to support outstanding science across the globe and mobilize citizens, students, educators and organizations to participate, learn and act on their experiences.  My international experience with innovation and expansion was seen as a real asset to Earthwatch.  On my end, after thirty years in the for-profit world, I wanted to give back leading a mission based organization.  With six children, I am very concerned about our stewardship of the planet.  I believe there is much that can be accomplished through the Earthwatch model.

What are your early impressions?
Earthwatch is a remarkable organization.  I am inspired by the power and synergy of the people who make Earthwatch what it is.  I have had the pleasure to have deep interactions with three Earthwatch scientists who are asking and answering really important questions.  In addition to their scientific pursuits, they are committed to creating life changing experiences for their volunteers.  I am inspired by volunteers who take weeks out of their busy lives to give to science, scientists and other volunteers.  I am inspired by donors who financially support science that otherwise would be unfunded.  I am inspired by foundations and individuals who underwrite teachers, students and others to go on expeditions that would typically be out of their reach.  I am inspired by corporate partners who work with Earthwatch to support science and create learning experiences for their employees.  I am inspired by accomplished individuals who serve as advisors, directors and trustees, sharing their time, talents and treasure to take Earthwatch to new heights.

And finally, the most important impression of all:  this is a really cool job which is exciting, stimulating and meaningful.

I look forward to conversations in the future,

Larry