Bozeman, Montana (July 27, 2020)—Lisa Diekmann, a philanthropy professional with more than 28 years of experience, will become the new president & CEO of Yellowstone Forever (YF), effective August 17, 2020.
Diekmann, a long-time Bozeman, Montana, resident, was the first executive director of the former Yellowstone Park Foundation (YPF), one of the predecessor organizations of YF. During her tenure with YPF, which began in 1996, the organization raised more than $30 million. While with YPF, she worked closely with the Yellowstone Association and Institute and is familiar with the history and importance of those organizations to Yellowstone National Park and the visitor experience.
“It’s an honor to be chosen for this role at YF at this critical point in time for the organization and to have the opportunity to support the world’s first national park along with the talented and dedicated team at YF,” said Diekmann. “I look forward to developing a successful plan for the organization’s future, including the re-start of the Yellowstone Institute, and to enhancing relationships with our partners and supporters.”
Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said, “Lisa is exactly the right person for the job. She knows Yellowstone, our communities and partners and has a proven track record of success. I commend the Board on selecting such a high-quality candidate, and we look forward to working closely with her to make Yellowstone Forever one of the best park partners in the country.”
Diekmann is board chair of Mountain Journal and most recently served as director of development for the Bridger Ski Foundation and regional director of development for The Wilderness Society. Earlier in her career, she was a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs and the director of development for the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Diekmann holds both a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree from Yale.
YF Board Chairman Kay Yeager has retired from her role after more than 16 years of service. Yeager has served as chairman of the board of YF since its inception more than three years ago and was previously chairman of YPF.
“Yellowstone National Park is one of the world’s greatest treasures, and I’ve been honored to serve in support of the park,” said Yeager. “We’ve accomplished a considerable amount over the years, including the merger of the Yellowstone Association and YPF and since the merger have raised more than $23 million dollars for the park.
“With a new leader in place, this is the right time for me to retire from the Board. I’m confident Lisa will be an outstanding leader, and I wish her much success.”
Sholly said, “I thank Kay for her support of Yellowstone, both while with the Yellowstone Park Foundation and during her time with YF. We especially value her longstanding support and the millions in contributions she’s given to Yellowstone’s major projects over the years, including the Roosevelt Arch, Old Faithful Visitor Center and the park’s wolf program.
YF board member Kevin Butt, the senior director of sustainability for Toyota North America, will step into the role of interim chair of the board. YF acting CEO Edna Johnson will transition back to the vice chair position. The Board will be working closely with Diekmann in the coming months to consider board structure and composition.
Diekmann’s plans include a re-open of the Institute, which was suspended in June 2020, in 2021. “YF has seen a strong recovery in its philanthropic efforts in recent months. Its retail locations that are open are stable, despite the impact of COVID-19,” she said. “And, I am optimistic that circumstances will allow a re-open of the Institute in the near future.”