The Nature Conservancy of Texas
Corporate Conservation
Leadership Luncheon
“Rebuilding the Natural
Infrastructure: Public ...
In 1993, I was a new employee at The Nature
Conservancy of Texas. I had moved from Austin to
San Antonio, the organization...
One of my favorite volunteers from The University
of Texas at Austin, Ronald W. Kessler (then an
attorney with Jones, Day,...
Ron and I discussed trying to mediate this
contentious situation by bringing the two factions
together for a series of eve...
We felt strongly we needed to separate ourselves
visually in terms of image from other
environmental groups, through the p...
In fact, TNC’s national office preferred all state
office staff focus on writing grant proposals to
secure funding, and av...
My thanks go to the outstanding volunteers listed on
the following page who made the first Corporate
Conservation Leadersh...
Ronald W. Kessler
Robert A. Ayres
Dr. Larry Gilbert
Dr. Patricia Hayes
The late Dr. Clark Hubbs
Roger Kinzel
The late Lowe...
The HIXO design package illustrated on the
following pages includes :
1) Save the date postcard
2) Five-panel invitation –...
My Story Continues ….
After this project concluded - as well as a fabulous
San Antonio gala co-chaired by Caroline Alexand...
For more information:
Carolyn M. Appleton, CFRE
512-954-4477
Originally written in 2011, I updated this document in
July, ...
Appleton | Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheon | TNC 1993
Appleton | Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheon | TNC 1993
Appleton | Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheon | TNC 1993
Appleton | Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheon | TNC 1993
Appleton | Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheon | TNC 1993
Appleton | Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheon | TNC 1993
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Appleton | Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheon | TNC 1993

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This was written originally in 2011, and I have recently updated it.

As the person who helped develop - and who personally implemented - the first Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheon for The Nature Conservancy of Texas (Austin, 1993), I wanted to share its history. The graphic design Mike Hicks created for various aspects of this first-ever event was cutting-edge, controversial, and effective. Thanks go again to Ronald W. Kessler of Austin for his leadership, as this event would not have been possible without his determination to see it happen in partnership with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. And, I would like to thank the late Robin Shivers, one of several volunteers. In truth, she worked hardest in the trenches with me day-to-day to secure funding and to ensure a strong showing.

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Appleton | Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheon | TNC 1993

  1. 1. The Nature Conservancy of Texas Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheon “Rebuilding the Natural Infrastructure: Public & Private Investment in the Environment” Austin, Texas February 11, 1993 Carolyn M. Appleton, CFRE
  2. 2. In 1993, I was a new employee at The Nature Conservancy of Texas. I had moved from Austin to San Antonio, the organization’s headquarters in Texas, and I began developing relationships with new supporters across the state, in the hope of raising significant funding for land conservation. At the time, TNC was one of the first business- oriented conservation organizations in Texas. We worked hard to set ourselves apart from the common image of “nature” groups, which at the time meant “left wing” and “anti-business.” The graphic designs reproduced herein are by my friend Mike Hicks of HIXO, Inc. in Austin, Texas.
  3. 3. One of my favorite volunteers from The University of Texas at Austin, Ronald W. Kessler (then an attorney with Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue), was someone on whom I counted for guidance in all matters. It took a bit of convincing to get Ron to join the advisory council of The Nature Conservancy of Texas, but thankfully he did, and he became an enthusiastic supporter. Ron was then incoming Chairman of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. The political climate in Austin in 1993 was such that environmental groups disliked the business community and there were fairly constant shouting matches between them as reported in local media. The environmentalists believed the business community did not care about the environment.
  4. 4. Ron and I discussed trying to mediate this contentious situation by bringing the two factions together for a series of events in February, 1993 – a breakfast for legislators and lobbyists, and a luncheon for environmentalists and members of the business community. The breakfast was ultimately held at the Omni Hotel in downtown Austin; the luncheon at Etter Alumni Center at The University of Texas at Austin. Initial organizational discussions were orchestrated by Ron with key staff of the Greater Austin Chamber, and the current and future Chairmen of the Board. Roger Kinzel of the Austin American- Statesman agreed to endorse the project. It took some negotiating to convince them to support the event, but eventually they did ~ that was due to Ron Kessler’s influence.
  5. 5. We felt strongly we needed to separate ourselves visually in terms of image from other environmental groups, through the printed pieces produced to promote the February events. I enlisted the help of Mike Hicks and Rob Miller of HIXO, whose work is world-class. Mike and his team developed the items illustrated herein, as well as an award presented to a corporation that demonstrated environmental stewardship and leadership. In 1993, that company was 3M, in recognition of its protection of a large swath of Golden-cheeked warbler habitat (as well as other environmentally sensitive building innovations). The award was presented to 3M during the luncheon. It was a large glass vase set in a wrought iron base, and it was filled with bluebonnet seeds. This project was frowned upon by many people within The Nature Conservancy at the time, both in Texas and nationally.
  6. 6. In fact, TNC’s national office preferred all state office staff focus on writing grant proposals to secure funding, and avoid special events entirely. Yet in Texas, we knew special events were commonly accepted cultivation tools for nonprofit organizations. The urgency of quelling Austin’s environmental battles at the time led me to forge ahead. The Texas director and his state development coordinator in San Antonio were not very supportive; I went ahead even though the director informed me pointedly, “if this works, great, if not” … I would assume the responsibility. This indicates how “dicey” these events were perceived to be – both from the business and environmental group standpoints.
  7. 7. My thanks go to the outstanding volunteers listed on the following page who made the first Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheon an inspiring success! We did it! Since its inception in 1993, the event has been held in cities across Texas and in other states. It has raised millions of dollars for The Nature Conservancy over the years. It would never have been possible without them. Photo above ~ the late Frank W. McBee, Jr. is pictured with me during the events in February, 1993. “The Lion” was teasing me, so I’m responding with a wry look. Frank, founder of Austin’s first Fortune 500 company, Tracor, is greatly missed. He was a good mentor and friend.
  8. 8. Ronald W. Kessler Robert A. Ayres Dr. Larry Gilbert Dr. Patricia Hayes The late Dr. Clark Hubbs Roger Kinzel The late Lowell H. Lebermann, Jr. James D. Marston The late Frank W. McBee, Jr. The late Robin Shivers Daphne DuPont Vaughan Primary Donors Browning-Ferris Industries Del Webb Corporation Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue H-E-B Grocery Company Motorola
  9. 9. The HIXO design package illustrated on the following pages includes : 1) Save the date postcard 2) Five-panel invitation – I have scanned the breakfast invitation (the luncheon version was of the same design). For more information about HIXO, please see: hixo.com/ The support Mike Hicks and Rob Miller provided to me personally during this critically important but highly stressful project continues to be deeply appreciated.
  10. 10. My Story Continues …. After this project concluded - as well as a fabulous San Antonio gala co-chaired by Caroline Alexander Forgason and Karen Hixon (the first-ever TNC Texas gala, which I also staffed personally) - I chose to move to Dallas to help open a remote office for The Nature Conservancy of Texas. After two unsuccessful attempts to establish a presence in Dallas, with the help of Robert L. Thornton, III the office did eventually become a reality. Using the Austin event model, we presented two Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheons there, in concert with the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce. The luncheon was also presented in Houston despite initial reticence by TNC staff, where it became quite popular.
  11. 11. For more information: Carolyn M. Appleton, CFRE 512-954-4477 Originally written in 2011, I updated this document in July, 2016. Sadly, Mike Hicks passed away this month, and I wanted to share a powerful story about his work. E-mail: carolynmappleton@gmail.com Website: carolynmappleton.com

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