Season 2 | Women in Forestry | Episode 16

#32 | Today’s forestry leaders need to be self-aware, curious-minded, community builders

July 5, 2017 | Vicki Christiansen

Vicki Christiansen is Chief of the U.S. Forest Service; at the time of this interview, she was Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry in Washington, DC. Vicki started out as a wildland firefighter, which began her 26-year career with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, including state forester both in Washington and in Arizona. On today’s show, Vicki provides career advice and leadership insights with an emphasis on communication, developing one’s team, and building communities. She says that it’s all about connecting people together and working as a unit to create change and progress.

Key Takeaways:

[1:05] A quick intro about Vicki’s background.

[3:15] How did Vicki get started in forestry?

[7:10] Vicki has never been the one to have a perfect plan, but she always made herself get out of her comfort zone.

[12:10] No one knew how to re-establish a forest in a blast zone, but Vicki was part of figuring it out!

[14:00] When were Vicki’s first leadership positions, informal or formal?

[19:45] When a forest fire went wrong, Vicki’s team looked to her to see if she’d crack under the pressure.

[22:30] There were times Vicki had to call people out for inappropriate behavior, but she always tried to do so respectfully.

[25:40] As a leader, it’s important to be grounded and clear with yourself.

[30:15] What kinds of role models has Vicki had over the years?

[34:45] What are the pros and cons of having a formal mentor?

[38:20] What does Vicki look for in a leader?

[41:45] How can young professionals develop their leadership skills?

[46:45] Tom’s Leadership Tip of the Week!

Mentioned in This Episode:

Vicki on LinkedIn
Shackleton’s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer, by Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell
Change Your Questions Change Your Life, by Marilee Adams
The Loudest Duck, by Laura Liswood


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