Season 5 | Professionals of Color in Forestry and Natural Resources | Episode 2

#69 | It’s one thing to help people but another thing to empower them

June 20, 2018 | Dr. Mavis Gragg

Dr. Mavis Gragg is an attorney who works one-on-one with foresters, families, and many others with a focus on estate planning and administration. In doing so, she helps people maintain and grow their wealth, and she is particularly well-known in the forestry community for her work with heirs’ property landowners. Originally from Black Mountain, North Carolina, Dr. Gragg graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and from Pepperdine School of Law. In this episode, Dr. Gragg shares her experience as a professional of color, what a lot of black families have to go through when it comes to heirs’ property land and wealth preservation, and some things we can all do to attract and retain a more diverse community in forestry and natural resources.

Key Takeaways:

[:55] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:35] A quick intro about Mavis’s background.

[3:50] How did Dr. Gragg get into forestry?

[6:35] Mavis explains what ‘Heirs’ Property’ truly means.

[7:55] What types of clients does Dr. Gragg typically work with?

[9:30] How do land loss and loss of ownership rights happen?

[12:20] Mavis shares an example of how land loss can impact African American families.

[16:15] When did land loss really start to become addressed as a problem?

[21:10] How does Mavis find her clients and educate the general public about the work that she does?

[23:15] What’s the most fun/rewarding aspects about this job?

[26:15] What career advice would Mavis give about natural resources?

[30:45] Over the years, what has Mavis learned about leadership?

[34:15] When life gets busy, don’t neglect yourself. Mavis emphasizes why it’s important to practice self-care.

[34:55] What kind of mentors has Mavis had over the years?

[39:45] Mavis shares some of her personal experiences of being a professional of color and a woman of color.

[41:30] People of color have a strong distrust towards the legal profession, even if that professional is someone of color.

[45:25] Mavis shares what it is like working with foresters and other professionals in this field.

[48:25] What can the profession as a whole do to better attract people of color into natural resources work?

[56:50] Dr. Gragg recommends finding the leaders of your community and connecting with them personally.

Mentioned in This Episode:
Sapelo Island History: blackamericaweb.com/2013/11/01/sapelo-island-georgia-little-known-black-history-fact/facebook.com/LegalSips/
The Roanoke Center: theroanokecenter.cms.coopwebbuilder2.com/content/sustainable-forestry
The Center for Heirs Property Preservation: www.heirsproperty.org
How Not to Save the World, by Jessica Yinka Thomas
Asset Mapping: backspace.com/notes/2004/06/what-is-asset-mapping.php
Mavis on Linkedin


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