Sarah Margaret Roffey Jewell, better known as Sally Jewell, had a major promotion this year when she was named the 51st United States Secretary of the Interior under President Barack Obama. Only the second woman to ever hold the position, Jewell comes from a background in business, engineering, and the banking and oil industries.
Immediately prior to her April 2013 appointment as Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell served as the president and CEO of Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI), which she had joined in 1996 as a board member. She became Chief Operating Officer (COO) in 2000 and was promoted to CEO in 2005.
As Secretary of the Interior, Jewell is essentially in charge of over 70,000 employees. She is steward for about one-fifth of all U.S. land, oversees and manages water usage in the western United States, and ensures that conventional and renewable energy supplies are developed in a responsible manner.
“She is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future,” said President Obama in his nomination. “She is committed to building our nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country She knows the link between conservation and good jobs. She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress; that in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand.”
Though her more than two decades’ worth of experience in banking and the oil industry may seem unrelated to her current career endeavors, Jewell is served well by her past. While she was a commercial banker, Sally Jewell became an expert on energy and natural resources, helping to drive the country’s economy forward. Her work in the oil industry as a petroleum engineer gave her invaluable experience working with the country’s oil and gas resources.
A true outdoors-woman, Sally Jewell has scaled Mount Rainier seven times, has climbed Vinson Massif (the highest mountain in Antarctica), and enjoys kayaking, hiking, skiing, and a variety of other activities. Jewell graduated from the University of Washington and has called the Northwest home since the age of four.