Q&A with Ted Bililies
“I cannot NOT do this.”
Backed by a passion to address the climate crisis, Ted Bililies, Global Head of Transformative Leadership, Partner and Managing Director at AlixPartners dedicates time to protecting our planet through his active board membership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) and the Trustees of Reservations.
What compelled you to join the boards of two environmental organizations?
With the crisis of climate change so urgent, I felt a duty to devote energy and resources to organizations that prioritize the protection and care of our planet. I was lucky to find WHOI, a global leader in scientific ocean research, and the Trustees of Reservations, the oldest land conservation organization in the world. Both allow me to make a difference in the stewardship of our planet and play a small part in finding solutions to our climate crisis.
How did you first get involved with WHOI?
I was a biology major at Harvard, which oversaw WHOI at the time, and I spent my summers and spare time in the labs, inspired by WHOI’s commitment to understanding all facets of the ocean and its connection to the rest of the planet.
What brought you back to WHOI, years later, as a board member?
As the climate crisis became more apparent, I was impressed that WHOI was an early leader in helping to combat climate change. Like many others deeply concerned about the kind of planet we are leaving to our children, I wanted to get involved again with WHOI.
You’re also a board member of the Trustees of Reservations. How did you get involved there?
I was fortunate to grow up in the Boston area, where giants of landscape preservation and conservation early in this country’s history established what the Trustees care for today: 27,000 acres of land and 123 very special places in Massachusetts, which see 250,000 visitors each year. They offer programs and events about our planet and how to better care for the earth.
What’s your favorite part about working with the Trustees?
I serve on their Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee, where we make real-time decisions about ensuring that our properties are accessible to everyone—regardless of social, racial, or economic inequities. I’m especially passionate about our mission of inclusion, and our efforts to recognize these lands as first belonging to indigenous people.
What advice would you give someone who is considering joining a board or getting involved with their community?
It’s important to find a role that has a meaningful impact in the organization. It’s even more important to make sure that their mission and values speak to you at a deeply personal level. Ultimately, you need to feel the kind of commitment that makes you say, ‘I cannot NOT do this!’ That’s how I feel about working with WHOI and the Trustees.