Hilary based her career on the belief that lawyers can and must drive the success of businesses working to create positive change for people and the planet. She joined Patagonia in 2012 because she felt it was the best example of a company living its values – and as the company has grown, she has helped navigate an increasingly complex legal environment as General Counsel, which in turn allows Patagonia to continue advance its mission in broad-reaching and innovative ways. Hilary also has been able to help shape Patagonia's approach to corporate governance through its benefit corporation status, which is based on a commitment to prioritizing social and environmental considerations over financial return. Before Patagonia, Hilary was Chief Counsel for the Levi's Brand at Levi Strauss & Co. during a period of increased social and environmental consciousness for the brand. She earned her B.A. (1993) and J.D. (1997) at the University of Virginia and lives in Santa Barbara, CA with her husband and two daughters.
Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia's founder and co-founder with Craig Mathews of 1% for the Planet, calls the practice of giving 1% of sales annually an "Earth Tax"– an environmental offset for all the damage businesses inflict on the planet in our operations. As more companies are adopting "green" initiatives these days, Hilary believes that we can't ignore the fact that just being in business takes a toll on the environment. 1% for the Planet provides a proactive path for businesses to actively support grassroots environmental groups working in their own communities protecting wild places, combating causes of climate change, and promoting environmental justice. This model is being adopted by thousands of 1% for the Planet member companies and Hilary is excited to help expand that reach.
Hilary hopes to get more people engaged in the conversation about the role that businesses have in protecting the planet because the status quo – where companies serve their shareholders and are required to value financial return over environmental and social impact – is not working. The more business leaders step up and get engaged in grassroots environmental work, and the more we as consumers demand it through our purchases and habits, the better chance we have to protect the places – and the people – we love.