Ten questions for... Shelly Lakly, Ph.D.
Name: Shelly Lakly, Ph.D.
Neighborhood: East Atlanta
Occupation: Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia
1. How long have you lived in Atlanta?
I have lived in Georgia virtually all my life and have had the privilege of calling many parts of our great state home. I grew up in Augusta, Marietta, and Ballground. I earned my college degrees, including a Ph.D. in freshwater ecology, from the University of Georgia in Athens, and have spent my adult life in Snellville and now east Atlanta.
2. In one sentence, what’s the best thing about your job?
Hands down, the real progress we make every day toward conserving Georgia’s most important lands, rivers and coastal areas.
3. What’s one thing that’s changed about the city that you wish hadn’t?
The people of Atlanta are so busy. I think we forget about the incredible places we have nearby, from the mountains to our envied coast and places like Dawson Forest just outside Atlanta that offer us relaxation and quality time with our families. When was the last time you took your kids exploring in the woods? Probably not recently enough, so I encourage all Atlantans to explore the variety of wild places our state has to offer.
4. What phone app can’t you live without?
My friends and colleagues will laugh, but I have an absolutely horrendous sense of direction, so my ‘Navigation’ app is essential for me to function.
5. 404, 770, or 678?
404; that is old-school Atlanta.
6. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, WSB-TV, or Twitter?
I rely on our fantastic local print media, from the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the AJC to Atlanta Magazine and Georgia Trend for news, and I listen to WABE and Georgia Public Radio when I can. With twin 8 year old boys at home, NetFlix on demand for documentaries and family movies is essential.
7. Best spot for a business lunch?
I like to frequent restaurants that feel authentically Georgia, like Blue Ridge Grill in Buckhead.
8. What’s your commute like?
Brutal. 12 miles takes 35-50 minutes. However, with my hands-free devices I get a lot of work done to make the best use of the time.
9. What’s the city’s worst enemy?
If we don’t connect our city with the clean air and water provided by the rest of the state then we will lose our ability to grow. We need to plan for our future so we don’t jeopardize the health of our people, our economy, and our natural systems.
10. In one sentence, describe your vision of Atlanta a decade from now.
I hope our great city will have an appreciation of the wild places in our state and an understanding of how those places help drive our quality of life. All people should have clean air to breathe, abundant and clean water for their families, and access to the outdoors to rejuvenate and connect with each other.
Bonus: Is there anything else you think we should know or would find interesting?
I have traveled across the country and to places as far flung as to China, Mongolia and Kenya, and although those travels help me see why a global organization like The Nature Conservancy is so important, I’m happiest poking around in a stream somewhere in Georgia, showing my kids bugs and appreciating the wonders of our state.