Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation: Maren Van Nostrand '88

January 09, 2018

2 p.m. Friday Feb. 2, 2018

Maren  Van Nostrand '88 will be the featured speaker in the Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation speaker series on Friday, February 2. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 2 p.m. in Noyce 1023. The Donald and Winifred Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership is sponsoring the speaker series and associated course.

Maren Van Nostrand has been working with communities for 27 years helping protect culturally-significant gathering places and celebrating their living traditions.

After graduating from Grinnell College with a B.A. in Anthropology in 1988, Maren worked as a community organizer on the diverse southwest side of Chicago. This experience convinced her that people needed to know more about how cities make decisions. In 1990 she moved to Seattle and earned her Master of Urban Planning from the University of Washington. For the next 20 years as a professional Resource Planner, Maren wrote urban growth management, public resource, and shoreline plans, responded as a Cultural Resource Mitigation Specialist for FEMA in typhoon-swept Saipan and Guam, directed nature programs, and undertook expedition travel—all while studying and performing music.

In 1996, Maren and her husband, Byron Ricks (Grinnell ’87), kayaked 1,300 miles from Alaska to Seattle in two single kayaks, and he wrote and she illustrated a book about their journey. They settled on a farm in the foothills of the Cascades and returned to their professional work, only this time more engaged in community through music and the birth of their daughter in 2000. It is in this community, Snoqualmie Valley, WA, where Maren integrated her planning career with her lifelong devotion to teaching and performing music by creating Soundfalls, a performing arts organization that builds stronger individuals, friendships, and connection with community through music and story in historical community settings.