We want to give you a glimpse into the extraordinary talent and expertise of those who serve our school on the board of trustees. Much of their work is done behind the scenes and is critically important to our ability to build a strong foundation for the future. One of those individuals is Letitia Webster, a mother of two young boys who attend our school and a top executive leading the enterprise-wide sustainability & responsibility program for one of the nation’s largest apparel and footwear companies, VF Corporation.
Letitia and her family relocated to Greensboro from the San Francisco Bay area in 2011 when she accepted the position as Global Vice President of Corporate Sustainability for VF Corporation. As leader of VF Corporation’s Sustainability & Responsibility (S&R) program, Letitia is responsible for creating top-line value through innovative business solutions that reduce the environmental footprint and improve the social impact of the business. Her focus includes using the scale and influence of the company around the world to make transformational change within the apparel and footwear industries.
Prior to that she had ten years of experience as the Brand Manager and Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications for The North Face, one of VF Corp’s most visible brands. While at The North Face, she managed the sports marketing program which produced The North Face Endurance event and a six part TV series entitled Never Stop Exploring. Webster launched The North Face sustainability program in 2006, leading the adoption of bluesign (a system for sustainable textile production), membership with Business for Innovation, Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) and the Outdoor Industry Association’s Eco-Index. Additionally, one of her accomplishments was the development of an Outdoor Participation program and team to encourage, inspire and enable people to get outside and start a lifetime of passion for the outdoors.
Since her early days at VF Corp she has been paving the way for more sustainable business development for the company. Letitia is driving a number of initiatives including: launching VF’s updated S&R strategy, Made for Change, releasing the company’s new S&R GRI progress report, reporting to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) on VF’s carbon, water and forestry footprint, supporting fourteen Zero-Waste Distribution Centers and six LEED certified facilities, including LEED platinum world headquarters for the VF Outdoor Coalition, VF’s EMEA headquarters and the brand new Vans® brand headquarters in Costa Mesa, CA. She sets enterprise-wide global goals including a five year goal to reduce VF’s global carbon footprint by 5%, and exceeded it by achieving a 12.5% reduction. With her leadership, VF has committed to 100% renewable energy by 2025 for all owned and operated facilities and works to advocate for strong climate change policy at the local, national and international level. She attended and presented at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in 2015 with governmental and corporate leaders from over 150 countries. She works closely with VF’s 30+ brand portfolio leaders to integrate sustainability into their brand strategies to create engaging ways to connect their products and programs with their core consumers.
Click here to view an interview with Letitia and her colleague, Stewart Whitney of Timberland, at the 2016 GreenBiz Forum in Phoenix, Arizona sharing their experiences in driving and integrating corporate-level sustainability programs. In honor of her commitment and dedication to advancing systems that support sustainability on a global scale, Letitia was honored on International Women’s Day in March of 2016 by the organization known as Ceres that works with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions to tackle the world’s biggest sustainability challenges. Click here to read more about Letitia’s recognition on International Women’s Day. To say that we are fortunate to have her vision and leadership at GMS as we work toward a greener future is an understatement.
Webster holds a bachelor’s degree in Business and Environmental Policy from Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree from Bainbridge Graduate Institute, a Washington-based institution that became the first to offer an M.B.A. in Sustainability and Change Management. In her previous life she was a Professional Ski Instructor, River Raft Guide and Kayak Instructor and the Executive Director of Telluride, Colorado’s local conservation group, Sheep Mountain Alliance. She served as a board member for various organizations, including Sheep Mountain Alliance and Telluride MountainFilm Festival and currently serves on the board of Communities in School of Greater Greensboro,which provides a network of support, services and adult mentors for young people facing adversity empowering them to stay in school. Also, as part of her roles at The North Face and VF, Webster spearheaded the development of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and founded the Conservation Alliances’ Legacy Fund.
Letitia has shared with us that their family was drawn to Montessori education for their children because of our emphasis on environmental education, outdoor learning and innovative thinking. From her view as an industry executive, she said “We are seeing across the board in the corporate world that innovation is incredibly important. We need people who are diverse thinkers, who are creative thinkers, and who have a hunger to learn and to challenge the status quo. That is incredibly important as we think about being competitive in the world today and when I look at Montessori I think that this is a perfect primer.”
Given her passion for sustainability and preservation of the environment, it should not come as a surprise that Letitia and her husband, Jason, are both outdoor enthusiasts and enjoy all manner of off-the-grid activities with their boys, Jack and Quinn, now ages seven and five. On any given weekend, you might run into them hiking or biking on the network of trails around the Triad, or headed to the mountains for a camping trip or a downhill skiing adventure.