VLS offers the physical and conceptual space to build relationships.”
President, Siegelbaum & Associates and Greenwash Brigade blogger
Heidi Siegelbaum’s future path was sealed during a serendipitous hike in the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia. “I met someone who was leaving the EPA and encouraged me to apply for his job as in-house counsel. I did and that’s when I knew I had found my calling.”
That calling was a passion for the environment that built upon her “latent and really intense interest” in science. Working as the Environmental Protection Agency’s in-house counsel on industrial chemical issues was a natural although surprising fit.
“I came from a family of doctors and started out in healthcare law. It was through that chance encounter while hiking with other VLS alumni that I learned I loved sitting at a table with engineers, scientists, policymakers, and laypeople and making those relationships work,” she says.
Heidi had taken a course in environmental law while a student at VLS, but she believes the overall approach to her legal education has helped her most. The core of that education taught her to get to the very essence of an issue, and to be a clear and analytic communicator.
As president of Siegelbaum & Associates, she helps provide environmental technical assistance to businesses and has found her passion in consulting on sustainable tourism and green hotels. She is also a blogger with American Public Media’s Greenwash Brigade, whose work is highlighted on public radio’s “Marketplace.” The blog features analysis of environmental professionals such as Siegelbaum, who examine the validity of “eco-friendly claims” made by companies, governments and other groups.
She’s also a member of the executive committee of the Northwest Natural Resource Group and served as a senior performance measure analyst for the Washington State Department of Ecology.
And while she has settled in the northwest, Heidi says the strong relationships formed during her days at VLS—with both students and the environment—have had a lasting impact.
“VLS is a magnificent place to be and with no urban distractions. It offers the physical and conceptual space to build relationships,” she says. “This is especially important now in our busy world. It’s a thoughtful place to grow.”