Sara O’Brien

Executive Director, Partner

In her role as Executive Director, Sara O’Brien is responsible for the care and feeding of Willamette Partnership’s mission, values, people, and partnerships. She serves as WP’s chief strategist, lead conductor, and biggest fan. 

Sara was previously the Partnership’s Director of Strategy and Business, helping to refine its business strategy and growth 2013-2018. She previously worked at Defenders of Wildlife, the University of Arizona’s Institute of the Environment, and the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia.

Sara holds a B.A. in anthropology and linguistics from Grinnell College and an M.S. in natural resource management from the University of Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys relaxing with projects such as managing a farm, building a straw bale house, raising children, and serving on a school board.

“The core of what Willamette Partnership is always working on is how to address complex challenges in a way that builds community. Every time we meet our problems in this spirit, it helps us strengthen our civic muscles and learn to thrive together. The more we practice, the more confident we become, and the more ready we are to dig into even bigger challenges.”