Lisa Graumlich

AGU Board of Directors



Mary Laird Professor and Dean, College of the Environment, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

Volunteer experience that relates to this position: 

Board of Directors, AGU (including Finance and Investment Committee), deeply engaged in developing new strategic plan; guided response to COVID and economic downturn; Board of Directors, Forterra, Seattle oversaw transition from traditional land conservation organization to regional leader in promoting systemic sustainability of urban, rural and wild lands; Board of Directors, Leopold Leadership Program led transition to new business model, rebranding and new global reach.


The new AGU strategic plan represents a significant pivot for AGU. The President and President-elect will play key roles in leading the Board and Council in implementing the plan. What are the key features of the strategic plan that you find most exciting? What features do you think will be most challenging and how would you approach those challenges?


This moment matters. AGU is launching a new strategic plan in the midst of the COVID pandemic and global economic downturn. In the U.S., we are reckoning with our history of violence against Black and Indigenous peoples coupled with a realization of how ingrained policies and practices of inequality pervade our institutions. Does our new strategic plan speak to the current moment? My answer is a resounding yes.


A strategic plan is only as good as the process that developed it. It would have been easy to rest on the momentum of our Centennial celebration, spruce up our current plan and look forward to another decade of business as usual. Nope that’s not us. We are a community of scientists who routinely study globally significant events that can change the course of history; we think big and systemically. We had the prescience to contemplate what would happen to AGU in the face of truly disruptive changes. We knew that the strategic plan had to be robust in the face of change yet anchored by a clear vision and shared values.


I am inspired by the bold vision “a thriving, sustainable and equitable future supported by scientific discovery, innovation and action” and the inclusive definition of our community that includes partners dedicated to discovery and solutions to societal challenges. AGU stands ready to simultaneously embrace our heritage of discovery while extending our partnerships aimed at solutions.


We face nontrivial challenges. Three are uppermost on my mind:

  1. Stewarding resources: AGU has provided core member services while launching new initiatives based on a robust business model and an enviable endowment. The uncertainties of the ongoing pandemic demand that AGU leadership pay exquisite attention to our finances as we make major changes in how AGU delivers services (e.g., virtual Fall Meeting).
  2. Sustaining and expanding our community: The needs and expectations of our members are changing at the same time that we are broadening the definition of the AGU community. We need to engage with local leaders and influencers who can speak with deep knowledge about the evolving needs and aspiration of the scientific community and our key stakeholders and partners. We all need to be champions for global engagement, especially when our traditional modes of global collaboration may be more difficult.
  3. Engaging the deep issues of diversity: AGU has played an international leadership role in promoting equity and inclusion through our policies and the AGU Ethics and Equity Center. Our work is groundbreaking. And we have more work to do. I have come to realize that diversity, equity and inclusion are not synonymous with anti-racism. I am committed to seeking the bold, creative approaches that hold promise to move us more rapidly toward justice. Again, AGU is positioned to lead in this arena, and I fully expect that we will.

Section affiliations: 

Biogeosciences; Global Environmental Change