Mamie Parker’s mother was a sharecropper and an avid angler who had high aspirations for her daughter, naming her after a First Lady of the United States. Mamie not only became intrigued with her mother’s fishing hobby, she pursued it professionally to the extent where she became one of the highest ranking officials in the management and protection of our nation’s fish and wildlife resources. In a career spanning more than 30-years in the federal government, Dr. Parker served as the Head of Fisheries and the Assistant Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, helping manage a budget of over $250 million and providing budgetary leadership and policy guidance to over 2400 employees throughout the nation.
With formidable expertise in every aspect of management including science, policy, budget and management, today Dr. Parker focuses on coaching executives about natural resource issues and how to expand the diversity of Americans engaged with public lands.
Early degrees in wildlife and fisheries biology launched Dr. Parker’s career as a fish health practitioner at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin. She worked in multiple fisheries across the state before joining the Section 404 program and the Partners for Wildlife Program out of Columbia, Missouri where she helped private landowners improve wildlife habitat. Dr. Parker served as the Deputy Geographic Assistant Regional Director, and Deputy Assistant Regional Director of Fisheries at the US FWS Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta, where she supervised Ecological Services, Fisheries offices and National Wildlife Refuges in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. She served as Special Assistant in the Director’s Office in Washington, DC providing expert advice and analysis on national policies.
Her intimate knowledge of the natural resource arena includes serving as Deputy Regional Director and eventually the Regional Director for the 13-state Northeast Region, and as the Assistant Director of Fisheries and Habitat Conservation based in Washington, DC. In the ultimate recognition of her dedication and expertise, she was chosen Assistant Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Dr. Parker’s is a strong negotiator whose expertise is reflected in the success that she and her staff had in getting pharmaceutical companies, WalMart and PetSmart to print labels on plastic bags to help consumers protect our nation’s waters from invasive species. During her tenure as Regional Director, biologists under her leadership listed the Atlantic salmon as an endangered species. She was designated the authorized official for the negotiations with General Electric Corporation to clean up the Hudson River and challenge mountaintop mining activities in West Virginia.
Her leadership and expertise in programs such as the national fish hatcheries, wetland restoration, and protection, national wetlands and coastal mapping, contaminants, invasive species, national wildlife refuges, marine mammals, land acquisition, law enforcement have been recognized by many leading conservation, professional and civic organizations. The Wildlife Society presented her the Annual Award and the Wilderness Society placed her picture on their Wall of Pioneers in Conservation. She was inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Fame for her accomplishment as the first Arkansas native to rise to the position of the Head of Fisheries in this country
Ms. Parker was the recipient of a fellowship awarded by The Council of World Women Leaders, under the leadership of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and women prime ministers, through the Aspen Institute. She is a current or former member of organizations including the Board of Directors of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, Defenders of Wildlife; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc; US Against Alzheimer’s; Junior League of America; and the Chesapeake Conservancy. She serves on the Executive Board of the Rotary Club, the Environmental Leadership Program, and the Reston Chapter of the Links, Inc.
Dr. Parker attended the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Tennessee Tech University and the University of Wisconsin.