By David Stump
Chair, San Diego Audubon Society Board of Directors
When San Diego Audubon executive director Chris Redfern gave notice his family was moving to Boston, we were faced with the challenge of finding a replacement who could build on Chris’ 14-year legacy with the organization, and help us achieve the next level of impact on the conservation and education needs of our region.
This past July, we hired Blair Search Partners, an executive search firm that specializes in non-profit staffing needs, and launched a nationwide quest for candidates. After months of resumé evaluations, rounds of intensive interviewing, and thorough coordination with Chris and the rest of our San Diego Audubon staff, the board offered the position to Travis Kemnitz. He will officially assume duties in mid-February.
Travis comes to us from the Ocean Discovery Institute, where he was highly thought of as an inspired leader, educator, and environmental champion. Throughout his 20 years of service, he has addressed inequities in access to science, conservation education, and careers for underserved youth.
Travis comes with a skill set well-matched to the needs of the position, with strong experience in non-profit business operations and board development, and solid credentials in fundraising, human resources, and program visioning. He also shares our emerging focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Travis has a passion for travel, adventure, scuba diving, mountain biking, soaking up nature’s beauty, and of course spending time with his family. A RISE San Diego Urban Leadership Fellows alumnus, Travis earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of San Diego.
We’re grateful to our entire Board of Directors, all of whom stepped up and contributed in critical, even sacrificial ways during the process. Special thanks goes to Eowyn Bates who led the search committee.
We also want to acknowledge our extraordinary staff, many of whom took on additional responsibility during this transition and were exceptionally helpful with their support and unique perspective as Chris was working half-time from across the nation. We thoroughly appreciate Chris Redfern for the many ways in which he provided a steady hand to our efforts, and kept San Diego Audubon moving forward with confidence and energy.
We welcome Travis to the San Diego Audubon family, and we know you look forward to meeting him. We are planning a series of opportunities to do just that, which will be communicated when they are firmly scheduled.