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,


7 thoughts on “Getting to Know New Earthwatch CEO, Larry Mason

  1. Hello, Larry! My name is Andrei, I’m from Moscow, Russia. I used to read most Earthwatch newsletters since 2006 when I applicated at one of Earthwatch Programms. I’m 37 y/o, a father of three children and I care a lot of my personal responsibility to save my local environment. What can I do to open your representation at my native city/country? Best regards and good luck!

  2. I have been on several Earthwatch expeditions. As a teacher I have learned so much and I have had the opportunity to pass what I have learned on to my peers and my students. I would love the opportunity to pass along the wonders of being a participant/teacher/ student on an Earthwatch expedition on a larger scale, ie; at a science conference. I did this once for Earthwatch and thus sparked the interest of many, many teachers. What can I do to establish this opportunity again which will definately be a benefit to Earthwatch?

  3. Hi Larry. I just stumbled upon this blog today while doing a bit of a website staff profile audit!! Great stuff!
    As we didn’t get the opportunity to meet when you were in Oxford in January, I just wanted to welcome you to the Earthwatch family. I have only been here since last October but I can already honestly say it is one of the most inspiring places I have ever worked. The people are simply amazing and the work we do is truly a cut above.
    Hopefully catch up with you when you’re next over.
    Kind regards,
    Rachel (HWP/ESN Communications Co-ordinator)

  4. Welcome Larry, I hope you come also in Italy to visit our archaeological expedition in Populonia, Tuscany. We preserve the past for future generations! PI Carolina Megale

    1. Thanks, Carolina. I’m getting up to speed on all of our expeditions, and can’t wait to learn more about the work being done on Discovering Italy’s Ancient Etruscan and Roman Coast!

  5. Welcome Larry. One suggestion: Increase the frequency of postings on this blog from “once a month just before email blast goes out” to something rather more often, as is common with most other blogs. Open up a bit more about what goes on behind the scenes maybe?

    1. Thanks, Andrew. Our Unlocked blog is updated every few weeks, as you noted, around the time our bi-weekly Extras newsletter is mailed. It is our desire to update our blog more frequently, and there surely is no shortage of content. Also as you noted, one goal of Unlocked is to give Earthwatchers a peek “behind the curtain” to share insights and ideas that might otherwise go untold. If there are insights you’d be interested in learning about, or if you have a story you’d like to share (or have told), please let me know. Thanks for saying hello, and for being a loyal Earthwatcher!

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