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BAC Advisor

Annette Walton

LBRE Black Advisory Committee Member Spotlight

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I’ve only had two jobs in my career years.  The first job I worked for Emcon Associates in San Jose, Ca as a Staff Geologist.  I left that job in 1992 after answering an ad in the San Jose Mercury news for an environmental specialist position here at Stanford. Over the next 30 years, I worked my way up to the current position I have now which is the Director of Environmental Management for LBRE’s Real Estate Department.  My education and training were supported by attending a historically black university (HBCU) Virginia State University (VSU) and I received my Bachelor of Science in Geology from that institution in 1986.  From there I worked on my Master of Science as a candidate in Geology and Water Resources at Iowa State University.

In 1989, I presented an abstract and poster to the Iowa Academy of Science with my professor Dr. Carl Vondra. The abstract and thesis discussed the folds in the Bighorn Basin which are the result of pre-Cambrian basement faults reactivated during the Laramide deformation events which caused the overlying Paleozoic and Mesozoic strata to drape over folded scarps.  My thesis covered depositional environmental and geology for Sheep Mountain and created a geologic map of the Spence Quadrangle in Wyoming, Big Horn County which took me two summers to map 54 square miles.  I completed all coursework and a draft of my thesis but was hired by a firm before defending my work and completing my M.S.

My life’s journey and career have been arduous, but I persevered nonetheless. The six-year-old little girl in me had big dreams, but those dreams became a greater and better reality than I could have ever imagined.  Growing up in the south, my grandparents we laborers/sharecroppers, my dad had a fifth-grade education, and my mom a blue collar was able to complete her high school education.   She never lived her life’s dream which was to go into the air force but she told me to hold on to mine and said to me  I had to go to college.  Having no role models but all the love and support my family could muster but could not pay for, sent me on my way.    Leaving everyone that I loved behind, and on my own, I chose a path that interested me.  Geology!  It was a male-dominated, STEM career that was foreign to most in my family AND was a whole other level of “hard” but in spite of it all, I made it through with a lot of support from allies, the kindness of strangers, gov’t social programs, and sheer determination.  While in undergraduate and graduate schools, I did several internships in Denver and Texas with oil companies such as Mobil Oil and ARCO and was awarded many scholarships that paid my way through school.

I was elected as VSU’s campus queen from 1985-1986, which is an honor given based on academic merit and it helped me hone my social skills as an ambassador for the university at public functions such as giving opening remarks for events, introducing and hosting dignitaries and celebrities, such as Douglas Wilder (the first African American Governor of Virginia, Yolanda King (Dr. Martin Luther King’s daughter), the actors Hal Linden and Tom Poston, are just a few that I have had the honor crossing paths with.  The image below is from the April 1986 Ebony Magazine recognizing campus queens at black colleges and universities.

6 year old Annette

Reaching 30 years at any place is a marvel in itself and I still can’t believe where all the time has gone.  But when I think back, my parents remained at only 1-2 places of employment as well.  There are so many projects that I’ve worked on over the years quietly that have protected Stanford and the community from environmental impacts and liability.  I think the most recent projects include overseeing the cleanup and restoration of SLAC as Stanford’s rep for my entire career, and the housing site University Terrace Project that involved so many entities (public agencies, community outreach, communication efforts) in order to build such a beautiful community for Stanford’s staff.

Other highlights include being honored by the San Francisco Business Times and the Allen Matkins as a Northern California Real Estate Women of Influence in 2013; invited to be on a panel and speak at the 2019 Groundwater Resources Association’s Western Groundwater Congress and also in 2019 gave a presentation to the Regional Water Quality Control and Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies regarding PCBs in construction.

I currently Chair the Diversity Equity Inclusion Council (DEIC) which is LBRE’s highest priority. The DEIC, its members, and volunteers are champions for fostering organizational change, providing the platform for dedicated focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities. Moreover, the DEIC is responsible for assessing the effectiveness of DE&I strategic initiatives, helping create strategic accountability for results, and offering course corrections, new ideas, and options for change when needed.  It’s an honor to be a part of Robert Reidy and the senior leadership’s call to action to bring the change we want to see within our LBRE community.

Other things I’m involved in include being an advisor to the Black Advisory Committee; holding a Vice President position on the Board of the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic; participate in a consortium with the Rosie the Riveter Trust to Incentivize Gender Equity in the Construction Trades with Awards. During my career, I’ve attended a conference that honored Lisa P. Jackson the first African American EPA Administrator and at that event I met U.S. Attorney General Erick Holder.  I also had the honor to meet Vice President Kamala Harrison while she was campaigning for this office.

Annette and Kamala Harris current Vice President

Annette and Eric Holder former United States Attorney General

The loves of my life are sisters, my son and my dog Teddy.  My son Harrison has been a blessing to me and my ex-husband, and my dreams for our son has also exceeded my hopes and prayers for him.  He’s an amazingly humble human, a Cal alumni and former gymnasts and now he’s studying to receive his master's degree in biostatistics.

Click through the photos below to enjoy full size.

Annette at Mt.Fuji

Annette at the Cinderella Ride.

I’m looking forward to planning my retirement and starting my next adventure in life.  To dream another dream with a focus on mentoring and giving back - to share all that I have learned or was given to me. And to live a life that my dad said to me before he died.  Remember to be kind and fair!