Dr. Heather Tallis is a recognized global leader in bridging conservation and sustainable development. She is dedicated to the use of evidence, innovation and integration to solve pressing global challenges. Heather partners with scientists, leaders and change agents to understand systems, envision positive futures and drive effective pathways for change.
Heather has over 15 years of experience providing leadership to research and impact organizations around the world. As Lead Scientist for the Natural Capital Project, she led software development and engaged leaders to assess the ecosystem service costs and benefits of decisions spanning multilateral infrastructure lending, carbon mitigation investments, national accounting, water source protection, conservation planning, and transportation design in over 10 countries. As Lead Scientist at The Nature Conservancy, she helped refresh the organization’s vision and led a redesign of their science-based strategic planning process. As acting Chief Scientist, she served as an executive council member, led research that established the Conservancy’s global conservation agenda now touching down in over 70 countries, and set metrics that allowed the organization to manage towards outcomes for people and nature for the first time. As Global Managing Director and Lead Scientist for Strategy Innovation, Heather introduced innovation methods for use in conservation and directed science that linked forest management to human heat stress, cognitive function and labor loss, and tested ways to driver wider adoption of soil carbon mitigation schemes. She also founded and chairs the Bridge Collaborative, a global partnership with health, development and environment organizations driving bigger change faster on climate change, food system transformation and sanitation for people and nature. Through this collaborative, Heather facilitated agreement on a global agenda for cross-sector action, and an evidence grading standard for evaluating impact across health, development and environment. She also managed a $1 million fund to support teams on the ground and demonstrate how philanthropy can accelerate impact towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Beyond her science-policy work, Heather is invested in fostering diversity and inclusion, hosting events and speaking widely on the need to shift the face and focus of conservation. She holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Washington and M.S. degrees from the University of Otago and University of California, Santa Cruz.