Colleen Kiernan is a warrior. In her role as director of the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club, she battles against power plants, plastic bag manufacturers, and deforestation. Admittedly, her work pulls her in a million different directions, but she says what makes it worthwhile is “seeing all of the effort come together to make positive change.”
With a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and political science from Emory University, a master’s in city and regional planning from Georgia Tech, and stints at environmental groups and an architecture and planning firm, this thirty-eight-year-old seems perfectly suited to her job, which she’s had since 2010. Recent Sierra Club victories include extending MARTA—and bringing the first commuter rail—to Clayton County, increasing Georgia’s solar and wind power energy, and drastically reducing the state’s dependence on power plants. “Our goal is to get to 100 percent clean energy by 2050,” she says.
When Kiernan isn’t protecting the environment, she’s outside enjoying it. Kiernan runs, bikes, and plays softball, and she is slowly but steadily hiking the Appalachian Trail—she plans to tackle North Carolina this summer. After that, it’s back to the battle.
Words of Wisdom