Although my academic training is in experimental marine ecology, my scholarly and applied interests have evolved substantially. My most recent years of full-time university employment included leading interdisciplinary environmental programs that spanned diverse disciplines and sectors. I then worked outside academia for a decade as a professional grant-maker (foundation funder) mainly in the broad realm of place-based conservation. Current interests blend my research, education, and philanthropy backgrounds, with special interests in how universities and researchers can be more relevant allies and partners to Indigenous and non-profit leaders and problem-solvers.
Originally from Seattle, Dave Secord is descended from Alaskans, trained as a marine invertebrate ecologist, and has evolved into strategic philanthropy for conservation and communities. As principal of Barnacle Strategies, a consultancy based on Salt Spring Island, BC, he works closely with foundations, environmental and Indigenous organizations, and academic institutions. Beyond advising funders and others, he does executive recruiting in the philanthropic and non-profit realms. Earlier in his career, he served as founding Director/VP of Strategic Grantmaking at Tides Canada Foundation, and as the Program Officer for Alaska and BC at Seattle-based Wilburforce Foundation. He has long been active in funder affinity groups in land and marine conservation and Indigenous philanthropy, including co-founding and chairing the Arctic Funders Collaborative, and serving on the board of the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network. Before entering philanthropy, he was a professor and academic leader for 12 years, where he guided various research and educational initiatives and partnerships, and co-founded or directed two award-winning environmental programs at the University of Washington. He has been a Fellow of the International Canadian Studies Institute and the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, and completed the Rockwood Advanced Art of Leadership for Philanthropic Leaders. He serves on several non-profit boards; has visited all Canadian provinces and territories, all 50 US states, and all continents; and has seen live all 39 plays attributed to Shakespeare.