Meet Lauren Padawer | Alaska Glacial

I have been an entrepreneur, activist and beauty minimalist since my early teens. I knew toxins in our water, food and what we put in our skin were leaving a legacy of waste in our rivers and oceans.

During college I became very inspired by ecology and how natural resource management and equal opportunity to education could shift paradigms in our country to benefit the whole planet.

After I earned my degree in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, I knew my life’s work would keep me close to nature.  At 22 years old I jumped at the opportunity to go to Alaska for an 3-month internship with the Alaska Conservation Foundation. I had no idea the big mountains would win me over. And that the prospect of preserving unspoiled wilderness would bring me back to Alaska a year later.

In the interim, I worked at a geriatric spa helping elders feel beautiful on the inside and out.  I also worked in Boston as a community organizer helping less fortunate Americans maintain access to affordable housing. With those two jobs I scratched my city itch and unknowingly absorbed skills at a spa that would help me with Alaska Glacial later down my path.

At 23 years old I moved to the remote coastal fishing town of Cordova, Alaska.  I took a job with a colleague I met during my Alaska internship. Dune Lankard was the founder of a nonprofit organization called the Eyak Preservation Council.  EPC’s mission includes protecting pristine areas of the Copper River and Prince William Sound from unsustainable development. I worked as a program manager and a grant writer for the Eyak Preservation Council for two years.  I also had the opportunity to raft the Copper River, which deepened my connection to the natural world and changed the course of my life.

As the Copper River grew closer to my heart I started thinking about the impact a small business could make to raise awareness and philanthropically support wild salmon habitat in the Copper River Watershed. There was no hesitation about what I would do.  I wanted to play in the mud!