Deb Markowitz

Empowering Women - Personalized Coaching for Authentic Leadership, Montpelier, Vermont   2023 - Present 

Individualized coaching to help experienced and emerging women leaders explore their unique strengths and values and develop an authentic executive presence that inspires others and leads to professional and personal success. 

The Nature Conservancy, Vice President and State Director, Massachusetts, Boston, MA     2020- 23

Global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters upon which all life depends. Guided by science, TNC creates innovative solutions to the world’s toughest challenges -- climate change, sustainable food and water, and species die-offs.

  • Responsible for chapter leadership, budget management, fundraising, and conservation strategy. Managed the chapter through the pandemic, transitioning the office to remote work, while continuing to make significant progress on conservation priorities.
  • Primary spokesperson, engaging internal and external audiences and inspiring support for TNC’s mission and vision.
  • Oversees strategic government relations and advocacy efforts, including significant new policies that embed TNC science in decisions relating to land conservation, climate policy, fisheries management, and renewable energy deployment.

Ceres, Vice President, Initiatives and Campaigns, Boston, MA    2019 - 20

Sustainability nonprofit organization that works with the most influential investors and companies to tackle the world’s greatest challenges, including climate change, water scarcity, pollution and inequitable workplaces.

  • Responsible for programs that engage investors to move companies to address climate and water risk to their operations and across their supply chains. For example, we engaged 280 investors with 17$ trillion in assets under management to demand companies that source products from the Amazon take urgent action to address deforestation in Brazil and Bolivia.
  • Helped develop a campaign to target publicly traded companies in the S&P 500 to commit to becoming net-zero by 2050 and to advocate for ambitious climate and clean energy policies.
  • Worked on a new effort to influence US capital market system regulators to incorporate the risks from climate change into its rules, practices, and policies to drive market-wide action to address climate change.

 Secretary, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), Montpelier, VT     2011-17

State agency charged with protecting human health and the environment, conserving Vermont’s natural resources, and implementing state and federal environmental programs.

  • Provided strategic and organizational leadership for the agency. Managed a $104MM budget, 1000+ employees, multiple facilities, and the deployment of LEAN processes to find efficiencies and improve customer service.
  • Collaborated with state, regional, national, and international partners to advance policies related to clean energy, electric vehicle deployment, carbon markets, carbon trading, and climate risk assessment and response.
  • Recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency with a Lifetime Achievement Award for achieving significant protections of air and water, an innovative zero waste program, and new chemical safety rules.
  • Oversaw ANR’s emergency response and recovery efforts related to Tropical Storm Irene. Managed the aftermath of the destruction of ANR’s main facility and the displacement and relocation of 600+ employees, many of whom played vital roles in protecting public and environmental health during the emergency.
  • In collaboration with state and regional colleagues, achieved the adoption of ambitious regional climate goals. Led an effort to identify regional climate vulnerabilities as part of the Northeast Committee on Environment and served on the board of the ZEV Alliance to accelerate the regional adoption of electric vehicles.
  • Chaired Vermont’s Climate Cabinet, contributed to the development of Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan, participated in Public Service Board proceedings for the deployment of major wind energy developments, and served on the Energy Siting Commission and on the Solar Siting Commission.
  • Represented Vermont on the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, served on the board of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, participated in the Georgetown Climate Center’s Transportation and Climate Initiative, and represented Vermont at sub-national meetings at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences in Paris and Morocco.

Secretary of State, Vermont Secretary of State's Office, Montpelier, VT   1999 -11

State agency responsible for overseeing Vermont’s elections, ethics laws, business registration, professional licensing, public records and state archives, and ombudsman office for citizens and local officials.

  • Elected by Vermont voters six times to serve as Vermont’s Secretary of State. Twice nominated as a candidate of both the Democratic and Republican parties.
  • Provided strategic and organizational leadership for the agency and managed a multi-million-dollar budget, over 80 employees, and multiple facilities.
  • Modernized the business practices, led process improvement efforts, and empowered staff to create a customer-service culture.
  • Convened staff and stakeholders to develop and implement ambitious reforms to Vermont’s election laws and government ethics regulations and created a new Public Benefit Corporation rule to license socially responsible businesses.
  • Served as the President of the National Association of Secretaries of State, testified in Congress on election reform, and spoke locally, nationally, and internationally about democracy, election reform, women in politics, and social justice.

Related Experience

Director of Policy, Gund Institute of Environment, and Visiting Professor of Environmental Policy and Leadership, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT   2017- 19

Advised scientists and engineers on opportunities to apply their research findings to policy and practice. Taught graduate courses on Women and Leadership and Environmental Policy and Problem Solving. Conducted workshops on federal policy, governmental accountability, and civic engagement. 

Founding Director, Law Center, Vermont League of Cities and Towns, Montpelier, VT   1990- 97

Provided legal services and professional training to Vermont’s local governments and delivered professional training to association members to help them fulfill their duties as elected and appointed Vermont officials. Coordinated and facilitated committees and workgroups on issues related to municipal law and practice. Wrote and published a dozen handbooks on municipal law and practice, developed model ordinances and policies, and participated in Vermont Supreme Court cases as amicus curiae (“friend of the court”).


Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Senior Executives in State and Local Government, 2015

Georgetown University Law Center, Juris Doctor, Magna Cum Laude, 1987

University of Vermont, B.A., Philosophy and Political Science, with Honors, 1982

Awards, Fellowships, and Boards

Georgetown University Law Center Father Drinan Award for Public Service, 2022

EPA Region 1 Lifetime Achievement Award, 2017

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, US EPA 2019 – 2021.

The Nature Conservancy, Vermont Trustee, 2017 – 2020

Aspen Institute’s, Cahn Fellowship in Public Leadership, 2015

Antioch’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Resilience, Board of Advisors, 2014-2021

Vermont Parks Forever, the Foundation for Vermont State Parks, 2012 – 2020

Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Board Member 2012 - 2017

Georgetown University Climate Center, Board of Advisors, 2011 - 2021

Aspen Institute, Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership, 2007-2009

US Elections Assistance Commission and Standards Board, 2006 - 2008

Vermont Women’s Business Center, Board Member, 2003 – 2010

Capstone Community Action, Board Member 2000 - 2015

Selected Presentations

 National Leadership Summit, The Nature Conservancy, Washington, DC – “What’s Your Story? Using Stories to Advocate for Nature” June 20, 2017.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP 22 Marrakech, Morocco, November 14-18. US Climate Action at all Levels; Transportation Strategies for Reaching a Low Carbon Environment; Different Routes, Same Destination – Subnational Approach to Climate Action; US States at the Forefront.

National Conference of Extension Professionals, Burlington, Vermont – “Building Community Resilience, Investing in Nature.” June 2016.

 Climate Prediction Applications Science Workshop, Co-sponsored by NOAA, DOI Northeast Climate Center and USDA Northeast Regional Climate Hub, Burlington, Vermont, Preparing for the Storm: Reflections on Flooding, Community Resilience and the Important Role of Climate Science, March 23, 2016.

Climate Action Summit 2016, Catalyzing a Sustainable Future, Co-hosted by the United Nations, the World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation, Washington, DC, May 4 -6, 2016. Brokering Partnerships and Unlocking Funding to Secure Clean Energy for All.  Delivering the Energy Transition

Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, Strategies for Financing Resilience, April 5, 2016

MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Emissions Trading in North America and Beyond: Taking Stock and Looking Forward, April 4 2016.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP 21 Le Bourget, Paris December 7-10, 2015.  State Leadership on Climate Change; US States at the Forefront of Climate Collaboration and Progress; Subnational Cooperation on Clean, Resilient Transportation Through Zero Emission Vehicles; Innovative State Actions to Achieve Significant GHG Reductions, US Center

National Adaptation Forum, St Louis, Missouri, May 12 - 13, 2015

Continuing the Momentum from the Presidential Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

Environmental Council of the States, Washington DC, Too Hot, Cold, Wet, Dry or Windy: State and Federal Preparedness, Response and Resiliency, March 16, 2015

Georgetown Climate Center, Washington, DC, Federalism and State Action on Climate Change, April 7, 2014

Georgetown Climate Center, Washington, DC, Lessons in Resilience, February 21, 2013.

National Association of Secretaries of State, Washington, DC – The Impact of Mock Elections Programs on the Attitudes and Behavior of Youth, Jan 30, 2009.

National Association of Secretaries of State, Washington, DC – Mobile Polling: Meeting the Needs of Older Voters March, 2008.

National Academies Committee on the Future of State Voter Registration Databases, Washington, D.C. – A report on Vermont’s experience with building a statewide database - August 6, 2007.

Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, Massachusetts - Ballot Integrity and Prevention of Electoral Corruption – April 27, 2007.

Population Resource Center Roundtable, Washington, D.C., Impact of Population Growth on Governance - January 12, 2007.

AEI Brookings Election Reform Project, Washington, D.C., Help America Vote Act – How is it Working? – February 8, 2006.

AEI Brookings Election Reform Project, Washington, D.C., Status of Election Reform Projects – September 22, 2006.

U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, Washington, D.C., Assessment of the 2006 Elections – December 7, 2006.

Rutgers, Center for American Women in Politics, Orange County, California, “Women’s Leadership- the Next Generation” --Oct 24, 2003.

Neglection 2000, A Third Millennium Project, Washington, D.C. – Bringing Young People into the Process – December 5, 2000.

Insurance Women’s Executives, Manchester, New Hampshire -  How Women Will Lead the Economic Recovery – April 9, 2010.

National Civics Summit, Minneapolis, MN – The Impact of Civics Education on the Attitudes and Behaviors of Youth - July 16, 2009.

National Foundation for Women Legislators, Louisville, Kentucky - Women and Minorities in the 2008 Election – October 14, 2007.

National Symposium - Facilitating Voting as People Age: Implications of Cognitive Impairment, Sacramento, California – Voting and Cognitive Impairments:  An Election Administrator’s Perspective – March 23, 2007.

International E-Participation and Local Democracy, Budapest, Hungary – Co-sponsored by the European Union and the United Nations, Democracy after the Election - Using Electronic Technology to Increase Citizen Participation – July 2006.

League of Women Voters, Portsmouth, NH, “Making our Elections Work – Challenges and Opportunities” – May 1, 2004.

International Planned Parenthood, Executive Director Conference, Montreal, Canada, “Women’s Leadership.” March 29, 2003.

National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council's (NEC3) annual conference, Raleigh, N.C. - Limiting Liability in the Digital Age: Creating Trustworthy Information Systems – November 19, 2003.


"Bridging the Climate Information Gap: A Framework for Engaging Knowledge Brokers and Decision Makers in State Climate Assessments" With authors Gillian L Galford; Julie Nash; Alan K Betts; Samuel Carlson; Sarah Ford; Ann Hoogenboom; Deborah Markowitz; Andrew Nash; Elizabeth Palchak; Sarah Pears; Kristen L. Underwood, Climatic Change, 2016.

Bringing the Vote to Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities: A Study of the Benefits and Challenges of Mobile Polling,” with co-authors Dr. Jason Karlawish and Charlie Sabatino, Esq., Election Law Journal, 2010.

Voting and Cognitive Impairments: An Election Administrator’s Perspective,” McGeorge Law Review, Vol. 39, 2007.

Drafting Personnel Policies to Manage Risk”, Municipal Lawyer, July/August, 1996.

“The Demise of At-Will Employment and the Public Employee Conundrum”, The Urban Lawyer, Spring, 1995, ­reprinted, Municipal Law News, October, 1995.

Municipal Liability for Negligent Inspection and Failure to Enforce Safety Codes”, Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy, Spring, 1994.

Municipal Ordinance Enforcement in Traffic Court”, Vt. Bar J. & L. Digest, December, 1994.

“Unconstitutional Taking”, Vt. Bar J. & L. Digest, December 1994.

Employee Conduct”, Current Municipal Problems, Vol.19, 1992-1993.

“A Crisis in Confidence: Municipal Officials Under Fire”, Vermont Law Review, Winter, 1992.

“Municipal Enforcement Dilemmas and Legislative Relief”, Vt. Bar J. & L. Digest, February, 1992.

“Ruth Bader Ginsberg - In Pursuit of Equality:  One Woman’s Work to Change the Law”, Women’s Rights Law Reporter, Summer, 1989, reprinted, Spring, 1994.