Maria Estrada is Deputy Director to the Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer at The Nature Conservancy (TNC). She is working to support the organization in building strong diverse partnerships globally to succeed in its mission. This work involves building capacity for partnering equitably in urban and rural communities and working to bring understanding about equity in environmental matters. To this end, she has been identifying new partners and building new relationships externally. She oversees the Two-Way Staff Exchange program, which aims at building and prototyping models for equity in our partnerships across the environmental movement. Additionally, she has worked in partnership with the Learning and Development team in designing and rolling out multiple skill-building workshops including, Engaging Across Difference, Psychological Safety in Teams, Active Bystander, Unconscious Bias, Equity in Conservation and others. Finally, she has been leading the Equitable Standards of Work Tool design and implementation process and more recently the Living Our Values experiment.
During these times of collective unrest, pain and sorrow, Maria is a trusted facilitator at the Nature Conservancy, and she has been holding zoom calls across different chapters of the organization so people build the skills to talk to each other in generative ways across difference.
Maria is an active member of her community in Salt Lake City through her volunteer work as member of several boards: she has served within the Equity Leadership Team at the Salt Lake City School District building strategies with multiple stakeholders to achieve equitable outcomes for all students and staff. She is a Trustee at the Tracy Aviary, the oldest bird park in the US, where she supports efforts to make the park more accessible to all. She is also a board member of Action Utah, a non-partisan community engagement network dedicated to boosting civic engagement in the state. Finally, she is an advisor to the board of Men Healing, an organization that provides healing resources and opportunities for men age 18 and older who have experienced sexual trauma.
Maria is a lifetime member of the Utah Women’s Giving Circle, which leverages modest individual donations into a powerful investment in projects that empower Utah Women and girls.
Maria is a graduate of the Education Culture and Society Department at the University of Utah, ECS, one of the top social foundation programs in the US committed to the study and pursuit of social justice in education. She received her PhD from ECS in 2009.