Plenary Session Details

The Outdoors are Better Together!

Monday, October 18 | 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Simon Perkins

Chief Executive Office of the Orvis Company

Simon Perkins - OrvisSimon Perkins was named in 2020 the new president of the Orvis Company, which is headquartered in Vermont but has major operations in Roanoke, Virginia, and the United Kingdom.  Simon represents the third generation of the Perkins family to lead Orvis. The son of Leigh “Perk” Perkins, former Orvis CEO, and grandson of Leigh H. Perkins, who purchased The Orvis Company in 1965, Simon was raised in a culture that placed a high value on exploring the adventure and wonder in nature and environmental stewardship.  Before joining Orvis, Simon spent 11 years as a fly-fishing and wingshooting guide in Montana. During this time, he also honed his skills as a filmmaker, and he burst on the scene in 2012 with “Sipping Dry,” a film about the incredible–and humbling–dry-fly fishery on the Missouri River. Since then, Simon’s films have garnered hundreds of thousands of views and have been accepted into some of North America's most prestigious festivals.  Simon came to work at the Orvis Home Office in January 2012, serving as the e-commerce merchant for fly fishing and hunting. He has since filled leadership roles across the merchandising, adventures and brand marketing teams, serving as vice president of brand marketing prior to his appointment as Chief Operating Officer in 2018. In his time at Orvis, Simon has championed projects aimed at diversifying the sport of fly fishing, such as the 50/50 on the Water initiative and the Breaking Barriers Award, which honors individuals who have gone above and beyond to bring new blood into the sport by breaking down barriers and introducing new audiences to the sport of fly fishing. Perkins also serves on the board of Trout Unlimited Headwaters, and has been a driver of Orvis’s involvement in advocacy for conservation projects in locations such as Bristol Bay, Alaska, and Florida’s Everglades.

More information about Orvis can be found here:

Dr. Mamie Parker, PhD

Dept. of Wildlife Resources Board Member 
Former Head of Fisheries, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Dr Mamie Parker - USFWSMamie A. Parker is a leader in Nominating and Governance in various nonprofit organizations and serves on the Board of Directors of The Nature Conservancy (Virginia Chapter), the National Wildlife Federation, Center for Large Landscape Conservation Board, Duke University NSOE, Northland College, Student Conservation Association, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, Brown Advisory Sustainable Investment, Marstel-Day Consulting Company, the Potomac and the Chesapeake Conservancy. As an Aspen Institute Fellow, she was awarded the Council of World Women Leaders’ exchange fellowship to work in the Kingdom of Lesotho and in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa.   She received great accolades in China while speaking at the World Fisheries Congress on the impacts of climate change and development in coastal cities and communities of color. 
She is an executive coach, facilitator, and transformational speaker, having served as the commencement speaker for Duke University NSOE, Northland College, among others. Parker is the Founder of Ma Parker and Associates in the Washington, D. C. area.   
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies recently awarded her the prestigious John L. Morris Award. The President of the United States presented Parker with the Presidential Rank Award, the highest award given to government employees. Parker made history when appointed the first African American FWS Regional Director and the first African American Senior Executive Service member in the FWS's 135-year history.  Terry McAuliffe, the former Governor of Virginia appointed her to the Board of Directors of the Game and Inland Fisheries Commission and she was recently selected as the first African American Chairwoman. The Governor of Arkansas enshrined her in the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame.
Her birth mother, a maid and a sharecropper motivated her to care about Mother Nature.  She worked for almost 30 years as a fish and wildlife biologist for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Parker received the American Fisheries Society's highest honor named after its first woman president for her outstanding work in promoting clean drinking water in our nation’s streams and the first African American woman to serve as Head of Fisheries in this nation. 

She attended the University of Arkansas, Tennessee Tech University, and the University of Wisconsin. This work included her serving as the Regional Director of the 13 Northeastern states. She was designated the authorized official to lead the negotiations with General Electric Corporation to clean up rivers, including the Hudson River.  
Parker rose to the rank of Special Assistant to the Director and Assistant Director in the FWS Headquarters, the first African American to hold this title. As Head of Fisheries, Parker led the FWS staff, along with partners in developing the National Fish Habitat Action Plan.  Parker has mentored hundreds of women and people of color in her profession and is a co-author in the American Fisheries Society’s most recently released book entitled “The Future of Fisheries.” 
The Kellogg Foundation awarded the Green School Alliance a grant that allowed her to present the Ma Parker Journey.  This series of public speaking engagements allowed her to share her life story as a pioneer in conservation in the Baltimore Public Schools and throughout the country.
Dr. Parker is a member of The Links, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Girl Friends, and the Rotary Club of Dunn Loring-Merrifield.  

More Information about Mamie's work can be found here:

Mark Damian Duda

Founder and Executive Director of Responsive Management

Mark Damian Duda - Responsive ManagementMark Damian Duda is executive director of Responsive Management, a survey research firm specializing in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues. Over the past 30 years Mark has conducted over 1,000 studies on how people relate to conservation. He is the author of more than 150 publications and four books on wildlife and outdoor recreation. Mark is a certified wildlife biologist and holds a master’s degree with a focus on natural resource policy and planning from Yale University, where he attended on two academic scholarships.

Wade Truong

Elevated Wild

Wade Truong - Elevated WildWade Truong is a lifelong Virginian, self-taught chef and hunter. His work has been featured in the New York Times and Garden & Gun. His passion for cooking and sharing food is the foundation of his obsession with the outdoors and the resources they provide. He spends all of his free time hunting, fishing, foraging and exploring the bounty of the land and water. He believes that the more we participate with our environment, the more we understand that we need to protect it.  ‘Every meal should be enjoyed and celebrated, meaningful, and mindful. A reminder of who we are, where we came from, and where we go from here. I am thankful for every meal, every dish I’m lucky enough to prepare and share. I am grateful for the opportunity to do what feels so right to me, to be myself, to find purpose in food, for the wild places, big and small, for the land of opportunity and the freedom to be who I am.’

Rachel Owen

Rachel Own

Elevated Wild

Rachel Owen is a passionate outdoorswoman. She didn't grow up hunting or fishing- her love for cooking brought her to a desire for a closer relationship with her food. Being nourished by the land and water around her has given her a deep insight into the place she calls home, as well as pushed her boundaries and endurance more than she could have imagined. A former hospitality pro, she now works in the financial field. She's also the plant witch, canning queen, editor and webmaster for Elevated Wild.

Xavier Duckett

Humble Hustle Company, Inc. 

Xavier Duckett - Humble HustleXavier Duckett is a social entrepreneur who is the Founder and CEO of Humble Hustle Company, Inc. nonprofit; Imagine Me Mentoring; Hmble Hstle Clothing; and Xavier Tramaine Creative Consulting. The non-profit began as a simple idea in 2015 to assist with resources, exposure and equity with youth in Roanoke. The non-profit has three programs that promote exposure, education, and empowerment for black youth. Just like any new brand, fundraising is essential.  They began designing and producing shirts with one singular message: Keep Giving. They sold clothing at local events, festivals, and did pop-up shops to increase awareness of their mission. Xavier needed more room for creativity with the clothing so he separated the merchandise from the traditional non-profit, that decision birthed Hmble Hstle Clothing, LLC.  Hmble Hstle Clothing grew into a retail shop based in Roanoke, Virginia, and the end-game has remained the same. They aspire to be a staple in the world of urban streetwear with an emphasis on giving back to the communities we serve through impactful messages and statements on clothing. Just one way that Xavier gives back to his community is through the non-profits' Humble Hikes Outdoor Program, which provides the chance to expand the youth’s horizons and experience the world around them in a positive and healthy way. Humble Hikes aims to expose black youth to the outdoors. The program provides education in environmental sciences, environmental activism, advocacy, and available resources in their community, and empowers youth by providing more representation of minorities in the outdoors.”  Xavier also created "Imagine Me Mentoring" in 2018 as the first Black-owned school-based mentoring agency in Roanoke, Virginia that serves at-risk youth in Roanoke City Public Schools.  Overall, under Xavier's innovative leadership, his programs have served over 1,500 youth in elementary, middle, and high schools with programming, community events, and initiatives.