Meet Lily Verdone, MALT’s New Executive Director

September 7, 2022

After an extensive search process led by members of both our board of directors and staff, we are thrilled to announce that Lily Verdone has been selected as MALT’s next executive director, beginning August 30, 2022. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome her to our team.

As a Northern California native, Lily has led initiatives to protect agricultural land, open space and fresh water during her 20-year career working inside global organizations such as The Nature Conservancy as well as small, community-based land trusts. 

Watch the video below and see for yourself why we’re so excited to welcome her to our team:

Most recently, Lily was senior director of Coastal Quest, an Oakland-based nonprofit building climate resilience for vulnerable coastal communities. As she takes the helm at MALT, Lily will become the first woman to officially lead the organization since the Marin County nonprofit was founded by the trailblazing duo Ellen Straus and Phyllis Faber in 1980.

“Lily has the leadership expertise, people skills, and the conservation and land trust experience MALT needs at this point in time,” said Jennifer Carlin, who was MALT’s interim executive director and now assumes the deputy director role. “The MALT board, staff and I truly look forward to working with her.”


“Having grown up here in Marin and Sonoma counties, this is truly a dream job for me,” Lily shared recently. “Agriculture is part of the connective tissue that stitches together many facets of life — from food systems to jobs and housing, to water supply, wildlife habitat, and local and regional economies,” she said. “I have found the agricultural community to be a natural partner in this solution-based approach to conservation. Together we can tackle the problems facing food production, water and open space with practical, on-the-ground results.”

Lily’s personal connection to this landscape was also a driving factor behind her interest in working for MALT. It was important to her and her husband to raise their two small children in Petaluma, close to the coastal mountains, rivers, and beaches of her childhood.

Strong Credentials 

With more than two decades of experience in scaling diverse solutions to meet major environmental challenges, Lily brings the perfect combination of skills to help guide our organization and contribute to the greater agricultural community. “MALT is in a unique position to act as a catalyst for conservation efforts regionally,” Lily shared, “and there’s never been a more important time for this work to thrive.”

In addition to her roles at Coastal Quest and The Nature Conservancy, Lily served as conservation director for the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, where she directed scientific research, habitat restoration, stewardship and acquisition for the coastal Los Angeles land trust. Her career also included stints as environmental consultant, research biologist and watershed coordinator. She has been a director on nonprofit boards and is an active volunteer for organizations focusing on social and environmental justice.

Building Upon A Legacy of Success

“Lily’s depth of experience combined with her warmth and enthusiasm for MALT’s mission make her someone that the staff and board are tremendously excited to work collaboratively with in the years ahead,” said Tamara Hicks, the vice chair of the board of directors and the chair of our search committee. “We spent many months taking a deep dive into understanding who we need as our next leader and we are grateful to have found her.” 

Since our founding in 1980, MALT has invested more than $90 million in Marin County agricultural land protection and stewardship and safeguarded more than 55,000 acres of agricultural land — the building blocks for a sustainable future for all Bay Area residents. We look forward to this next chapter and to building upon our strong foundation of success.

McDowell Ranch Protected Forever

723-acres safeguarded from the threat of development.

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Two women stand at the entrance to a barn with their arms around each other's shoulders.

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