Blake Williams inherited his love of the forest from his father, a research entomologist and forester and the first African American in the United States to earn the trifecta of a BA, Masters, and PhD in that research area.
“Growing up in Berkeley with that family background, I’ve always been interested in natural resources and forests,” said Williams. The younger Williams received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a law degree from Columbia University and is now an investment banker focusing on semiconductors and capital equipment at the Cowen Group in San Francisco.
After a friend at The Nature Conservancy recommended the work of Save the Redwoods League four years ago, Williams began volunteering his time and expertise. As one of the Councilors on the Finance Committee, he and his colleagues review financial plans and accounting practices before Board meetings and draw up investment parameters for the League’s outside financial advisors.
Williams likes to talk about the beauty and ecological importance of redwoods. Muir Woods National Monument near San Francisco still holds a special place because it’s where, in his youth, he and his father spent quality time.
“My father introduced me to both the outward beauty and the inner complexity of the redwood forest,” he said. “It was there I first felt that awe-inspiring aspect of the redwoods themselves.”
“Today, my work with the League allows me to learn and sort of helps offset the investment banking side of my life with something a bit more altruistic.”