Here at the Nicholas School, we have the privilege of working with some of the best and brightest students. Well master’s candidate, Cakey Worthington, is one of the many gems we have had the pleasure of getting to know this past year.

Cakey is currently pursuing a dual master’s degree in environmental management and master of forestry. She has also participated in the executive education course, Timberland Investments for Professionals. With the increased interest of forestry finance in international markets, we’re excited that the next Timberland Investments course will be held in London, England – May 2-3, 2017.

We recently sat with Cakey to get her thoughts on the forestry industry, from needing diversity to the importance of professionals taking the course.

15744254306_b1bffac07e_zWhat inspired you to pursue a degree in this field?

Having come from a background in biological sciences and land conservation, I wanted to gain a professional environmental skill set that would help advance my career. I chose the MEM and the MF degrees because I think they complement each other well in terms of learning environmental data analysis, technical skills for managing forest ecosystems, and financial evaluation for timber and ecosystem services.

What are your thoughts of being a female in a male-dominated industry?

Growing up, I never felt that being a woman was a particular detriment to my success, nor did I feel that I stood out.  Entering the forestry space, it is quite noticeable and I hear it a lot from the few older women who have slugged through to success despite a white, male-dominated industry. Having recently attended the Who Will Own the Forest Conference in Portland, OR, I heard many of the women remark that there is a higher representation than there has been in the past. I find this promising; however, it is safe to say women and people of color are still very underrepresented. I expect a growing diversity in the field, especially at the management-level, can only help in making the timber industry more relevant to more people.

When did you attend the Timberland Investments for Professionals course? Why do you think it’s important for a professional in the field to take this course?

I attended the Timberland Investments for Professionals course last spring and found it to be informative and well rounded. This course meets at the intersection between forestry and investments, providing useful context to someone from either background without a lot of exposure to the other. Young investment professionals have a lot to gain in terms of learning about how the ecological management of forests influences risk assessment and financial-decision making. Likewise, forestry professionals with a science-based background can get a solid foundation on financial investments, tax regulations, and more.  Finally, the course provides an excellent space for networking with leaders in this niche space.

How do you hope to make a difference?

I am motivated by timberland investments and ecosystem service markets because I think it has the opportunity to bring environmental stewardship to people who may otherwise be disincentivized to promote conservation or sustainability. For the majority of investors, the fiduciary responsibility is the top or sole priority. If I can help make conservation initiatives the more financially viable choice, then I believe I can make a huge impact.

The next Timberland for Investments Professionals course will be held May 2-3, 2017 in London England. To register or find out more information on the course, visit

Following the course, the 4th annual International Forest Investment Conference will be held May 4-5, 2017 at the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel in London, May 4-5, 2017. Next year’s event is taking place outside the US – a change representing the globalization of timberland investing. The 2017 program offers in-depth analyses and networking opportunities for timberland owners, investors, and money managers representing every major global market.

To learn more about the conference, click here