Keep America Beautiful announced that Helen Lowman, who served as an appointee of President Barack Obama at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Peace Corps, has been named the organization’s new president and CEO. She will assume the role on May 1.
Lowman brings a deep understanding of humanitarian challenges in the U.S. and around the world. She joins Keep America Beautiful with more than 20 years of leadership experience in the areas of international diplomacy and development, youth engagement, environmental education, disaster resilience, global leadership, volunteerism, social justice and human rights.
“Helen has spent her career as a change agent, a team-builder and someone who cares deeply about community,” said Tom Tamoney, Day Pitney LLC, and a member of the Keep America Beautiful Board of Directors who led the hiring committee. “Her experience and vision, along with her personal values and compassion, will advance our efforts to deliver lasting environmental, economic and social impact across America.”
Lowman replaces Jennifer Jehns, who resigned as president and CEO of the organization in October.
From 2010 to 2017, Lowman served as an appointee of the President in the senior foreign service and the senior executive service. Most recently, she was Director-Individual and Community Preparedness at FEMA in Washington, D.C., overseeing programs to increase citizen and community preparedness while encouraging disaster and crisis resilience. Previously, she served in a variety of roles with the Peace Corps, directing Peace Corps’ largest U.S. headquarters’ office and working with leadership on strategic reforms related to volunteer recruitment and admittance. She earlier served as Regional Director-Europe, Middle East and Asia, Peace Corps’ largest geographic region.
“The work of Keep America Beautiful is now more important than ever. I am passionate in my belief that every American has a right to live in a community that is clean, green and beautiful, and I feel a strong responsibility to help fulfill that vision,” Lowman said in a statement. “Keep America Beautiful’s strong grassroots affiliate network reflects the diversity of America, and is engaged in meaningful volunteer work that empowers and enriches the communities we serve. I am deeply humbled and honored to lead this iconic organization into its next phase of innovation, relevance, and strategic growth.”
Earlier in her career, Lowman managed environmental education events and initiatives with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). While in Texas, she served on the Board of Directors of two Keep America Beautiful Affiliates: Keep Austin Beautiful and Keep El Paso Beautiful.
Lowman, who speaks four languages, is a graduate of Austin College and received her Master's degree in International Economics and Development from the University of Denver, Joseph Korbel School of International Studies. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Antioch University, Graduate School of Leadership and Change. She is a Board member of PYXERA Global and was a Peace Corps volunteer for three years in Thailand.