New board members bring their political and business acumen and passion for nature to local redwood forest conservation.
April 6th, 2017– Sempervirens Fund, the nonprofit land trust devoted to protecting the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains, has just appointed Rich Gordon, former California State Assemblymember, Bob Moles, Chairman of Intero Real Estate Services, and Vishy Venugopalan, Vice President of Citi Ventures, to its Board of Directors.
“I look forward to combining my decades of political experience and my love of our awe-inspiring redwoods to help advance their protection,” said Rich Gordon, who served in the California State Legislature from 2010 to 2016 before terming out. “I worked hard to promote the state’s water conservation laws while in the Assembly. Healthy forests provide a critical component of a clean fresh water supply for people and wildlife. With drought as our new normal, conservation, in all respects, must also be our new normal. My new work with Sempervirens Fund allows me to continue to be a champion for responsible stewardship of our state’s water, wildlife and forest resources.”
Gordon has been dedicated to serving others throughout his life, including serving for thirteen years on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors from 1997 to 2010. Prior to public service he worked as a minister in the United Methodist Church and in the nonprofit sector where he was the founder and Executive Director of Youth and Family Assistance.
(Note: In July 2017, Gordon assumed the role of CEO/President of the California Forestry Association.)
Another Sempervirens Fund Board addition, Bob Moles, has been a self-proclaimed student of real estate for more than 40 years. Moles is currently Chairman of Cupertino-based Intero Real Estate and former President and CEO of Century 21 Real Estate Corporation. Moles helped grow Intero into one of the Top 25 real estate companies nationally with more than $5 billion in sales volume.
“Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area is a special place with vibrant urban centers surrounded by close-to-home, exquisite nature,” says Moles. “Working with Sempervirens Fund allows me to join my personal passion for the outdoors with my professional expertise in real estate and business acumen to protect the landscapes that I love. It’s a natural fit.”
Also joining the Board, Vishy Venugopalan is Vice President of Citi Ventures, the venture capital arm of Citigroup that invests in startups and pilots new technologies through their Citi Innovation Labs and Citi businesses. Venugopalan has an MBA from The Wharton School and Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He resides in Redwood City.
“I decided to join the Sempervirens Fund Board because I like to hike, particularly at Big Basin and more recently at Henry Cowell Redwoods. It is among the redwoods that I have experienced moments of some of the deepest wonder and spirituality I’ve known,” says Venugopalan. “I want to make sure that these trees are here to similarly inspire future generations. And, professionally, I am here because I value entrepreneurs and Sempervirens Fund, though it has been around for ages, maintains an entrepreneurial approach to conservation. It is exciting and it clearly works.”
Sempervirens Fund’s mission is to protect and permanently preserve redwood forests, wildlife habitat, watersheds, and other important natural and scenic features of California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, and to encourage public appreciation and enjoyment of this environment.
“The threats to the redwoods are diverse and the methods for saving them are equally complex. Having Rich Gordon, Bob Moles and Vishy Venugopalan join our Board adds great new talent to our conservation team,” said Jacqueline Wender, Sempervirens Fund Board President. “To be most successful, Sempervirens Fund needs to learn from both proven and cutting-edge political and business practices, as we continue to expand our connections within the community. These distinguished leaders will broaden our reach and further our efforts in this critical time for redwood forest habitats.”