About Us

For the Love of The Ocean

Alexa Sutton Lawrence, Ph.D.

Vice President of Conservation, Justice & Equity

Chapel Hill, NC

Areas of Expertise

  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Environmental justice
  • Wildlife – human conflict resolution
  • Science communication

Alexa joined Ocean Conservancy in 2021 as its first Vice President of Conservation, Justice and Equity. She will lead and guide the organization’s expansion of work in all areas of ocean justice. She has devoted her career to bridging biodiversity conservation with environmental justice, with a focus on working with and within Indigenous, African-American, and Afro-Indigenous communities.

At Ocean Conservancy, Alexa continually looks to create impactful environmental change by building authentic and resonant relationships between scientists, marginalized communities, and legislators. She subscribes to an inclusive, multilateral approach to help to relieve conflicts over natural resources and develop long-lasting, personal investments in global biodiversity conservation.

Prior to coming to Ocean Conservancy, Alexa was the Senior Regional Director, Southeast at The Wilderness Society. Her proudest accomplishment was facilitating the formation of the Great Dismal Swamp Stakeholder Collaborative, a community-led group seeking to establish a new National Heritage Area in the region that will focus on the rich cultural heritage of the African American, Native American, and blended communities in and around the Swamp.

Alexa is also the founder and principal managing partner at social innovation start-up Kedge Consulting, where she provides environmental strategy and equity consulting services to corporate and nonprofit clients in North America and Europe. She dedicates proceeds from this venture to supporting rural communities in East & Southern Africa through an adult education program that combines micro-entrepreneurship with environmental education and health training.

Alexa has also led the Science Policy Tracking Program within Duke University’s Initiative for Science & Society, overseeing their education and research programs while working to promote better engagement between scientists and policymakers. Alexa has also shared her knowledge and community-based approaches to conservation with graduate and undergraduate students through past teaching positions, including courses in science policy; population, deforestation and biodiversity; and energy, water scarcity and waste management at Duke University and Unity College.


  • Ph.D., Environmental Science, Duke University
  • M.S., Wildlife & Fisheries Science, Texas A&M University
  • B.S., Biology, Howard University
  • M.A. (expected 2022), Folklore Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Favorite ocean animal

The giant oceanic manta ray (Mobula birostris)

“I am motivated to create new ways to protect our wild places and to uplift the human stories from our most marginalized communities.”

Alexa Sutton Lawrence


  • Alexa Sutton Lawrence, Ph.D.
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