Q&A with Kristin Russell, Headwaters Council MemberMay 8, 2023
Kris Russell is a corporate lawyer at Stoel Rives LLP, primarily working to facilitate financial transactions for mid-market clients based in the Pacific Northwest. She is also a member of The Freshwater Trust’s Headwaters Council, an advisory group comprised of emerging business leaders, disrupters, decision-makers and influencers who will help us drive the next generation of creative and networked conservation and philanthropy. In advance of June 1, where Kristin will speak about her experience getting to know the world of water through The Freshwater Trust at Immerse 2023, we sat down with her to answer a few questions. Below, Kris discusses her professional journey, her experience serving on our Headwaters Council, why her company chose to sponsor our annual event, and more.
Tell us who are you & what do you do.
I’m the very lucky parent of two great kids, running buddy to a dog made almost entirely out of legs, personal assistant to the world’s most affectionate cat, and spouse to a very expensive souvenir I picked up while working in London. I’m also a corporate partner at Stoel Rives LLP, where I provide outside corporate counsel to clients across a range of industries and support both borrower and lender clients as they navigate the complexities of a variety of debt financing arrangements.
How did you first get acquainted with The Freshwater Trust?
My good friend Michael Richardson, a fellow Reed College grad and Headwaters Council member, wrote an impassioned email ahead of Immerse 2020 where he described the importance of the work that TFT had done on his beloved Snake River in Idaho. I trust Michael’s judgment implicitly (he introduced me to a friend of his almost a decade ago who I wound up marrying!), and when I looked into The Freshwater Trust, I realized that I’d actually been acquainted with a predecessor organization when I was in college through an economics class project. So, most recently Michael, and previously to that, Professor Noelwah Netusil of Reed College.
What’s one thing that really impresses you about their work?
The words that come to mind immediately are integration and efficiency. TFT brings a wide variety of stakeholders and options to the table, and uses data and technology to drive the best overall bang for your buck when it comes to benefitting a whole watershed.
What’s the most shocking thing you’ve learned about water since working with TFT?
That more than half of America’s waters still fail the fishable, swimmable, drinkable test of the Clean Water Act.
What’s the Headwaters Council & what do you appreciate as a part of it?
We’re an advisory group of young (or at least young-ish) supporters of TFT who work together to provide strategic feedback on TFT initiatives, presentations and materials, and to assist in fundraising efforts and awareness building.
I appreciate having the chance to engage with such an enthusiastic and creative group of people who all share a passion for our rivers on both professional and personal levels.
What are you most excited about regarding Immerse on June 1?
Being back in person! I’m excited to get to re-connect with friends and colleagues I haven’t gotten to see in person for far too long – and to have a great excuse to get a babysitter for the night.
What sealed the deal for your company to sponsor Immerse?
Commitment to our communities has been a core value of Stoel Rives for more than 100 years, and we have been an innovator in pursuing sustainability goals for decades. Sponsorship for TFT is an easy pitch given how important freshwater is to the people I work with every day, both for commerce and recreation.
One book you would recommend to everyone
Set Me on Fire: A Poem For Every Feeling, an anthology by Ella Risbridger. Unexpected and inclusive, it’s a poetry anthology organized by feelings and annotated with care and wit by a woman who is passionate about poetry yet not fussy about it. Ella has curated a book for people who might not think poetry is for them, and as someone who used to love poetry and let that love lapse for far too long, this book was an utter delight.
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