: Magazine : Back
Issues : Jan/Feb
2000 :Bill Ford
On Conservation International (CI):
I was looking for something global in its approach . . . when CI
came to my attention. I really liked the CI people when I met
them. They were energetic, they were incredibly focused on their
mission and they were very strong in terms of their credentials.
Russ Mittermeier, president, is world-renowned. They were grounded
in science, they weren’t grounded in hysteria and fear
tactics. They were very action-oriented. And they were very creative
in their approach. Peter Seligmann, chairman, is a very creative
businessman who’s very adept at pulling together governments,
NGOs and the private sector. And most environmentalists weren’t
good at that. I thought that Peter and Russ made a perfect team:
Peter the business approach and Russ the science approach. I
thought it worked well.
On his role as a board member
The board is a very engaged board. Peter and Russ use us as a strategic
body and we spend a lot of time talking about the mission of CI.
The whole area of the environment is so all-encompassing and there
are so many avenues one can go down. It’s very tempting when
you’re part of something like CI to want to embrace it all
because we do have good people and we do have access to funds and
yet we also need to stay on our missions. My role most specifically
has been to help bring business closer to CI.
On using the Internet
I am on e-mail all the time. I scan papers, I scan articles. I
do have access to much more industry information than I ever had
before. I check out industry chat rooms, Ford chat rooms. I get
a lot of e-mail from our employees and I do reply to them.
I work out every day. I think I am going to get a black belt in
martial arts in the next six months.
I try to do that for an hour every day.
I enjoy that.
What I truly enjoy is going away into the mountains or some other pretty place.
I love to fly fish. I go to northern Michigan and fly fish. I go out to Colorado
and fly fish. And then usually, although I didn’t do it this year, but
in the past I have taken a kind of adventure trip once a year. I have been to
the Amazon, I’ve fished in southern Patagonia, I have been to Alaska several
times, to the interior of Alaska. I really like doing that stuff. But I have
four children and they are getting to the age now where I am starting to take
them along and so my trips are getting a little tamer.
I really don’t have any business mentors. There are a lot of people I admire.
I admire Henry Ford the first tremendously as a businessman. Thomas Edison was
someone that I read a lot about growing up. But in the world today, it’s
people like Bill McDonough, people like the Dalai Lama. It’s people who
are not only optimistic about the future but are trying to help shape that future
in a positive way for society.