As Vice President for Environmental Policy at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Mary Holing is a passionate advocate for climate action at the intersection of business and government.
Mary leads SVLG’s Silicon Valley Climate Collective, which regularly convenes SVLG member company CEOs with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in order to coordinate their efforts to combat climate change in a way that simultaneously invigorates and supports U.S. businesses. The Climate Collective demonstrates how clean technology and sustainability practices can safeguard the climate and grow the economy at the same time.
Mary is equally involved in California climate advocacy. As SVLG’s Environmental Policy lead, she coordinates efforts and advocacy to obtain state funding for projects that will help combat sea level rise, garners local support for policy and budget asks at the state level, and coordinates outreach to elected officials. Mary also works with member companies on policy and regulatory situations to meet California’s electric vehicle goals. She engages in regulatory work at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on how to grow our electric vehicle market and expand our charging infrastructure through state budget advocacy and legislative policy making. To learn more about SVLG’s environmental policy asks for 2022, please see our May Revise Budget Letter.
Mary is a key force in planning SVLG’s 10th Annual Energy & Sustainability Summit, titled ESG to Carbon Free. Last year’s ESS summit featured the entire Biden Administration climate team, including Climate Envoy John Kerry, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, and EPA Administrator Michael Regan. This year’s event features top names in sustainability and finance, including former Vice President Al Gore and California State Controller Betty Yee, for a summit on ways to finance a carbon-free future.
A Bay Area Native, Mary grew up in the East Bay, earned her BA in Political Science at the University of Southern California and her law degree at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.
We asked a few questions to learn more about Mary and her important environmental advocacy at SVLG.
Q: What motivates you in your work at SVLG?
A: SVLG has always been a leader for the business community on climate issues. I strongly believe that the government alone cannot solve our climate crisis—we need a green revolution. I am inspired to work with our member companies, who are leading the way on technology and sustainability practices to make the business case for climate action. Spurring innovation, growing the economy, creating jobs, and protecting our environment go hand in hand.
Q: Which of your accomplishments at SVLG do you value the most?
A: Any time I can bring folks together to have a real conversation about working together to solve our climate crisis, I feel like I am doing my job. True partnerships between the Government and the private sector are crucial and any time I can help create those connections, I feel like we are making progress.
Q: What did you do before you came to work at SVLG?
A: Before I came to SVLG, I spent five years as an attorney for the City and County of San Francisco working on water, wastewater, and energy issues, where I learned firsthand the important role local government has to play in addressing our climate crisis and also how to be an environmental steward of a precious resource in California: water. I am also a committed voting rights advocate and during the 2020 election, I went to Montana to serve on a voter protection team to make sure everyone’s voices were heard and counted.
Q: As a Bay Area native, what do you think is unique about growing up in this region?
A: Here in the Bay we have incredible outdoor spaces to explore, whether it’s taking a hike at one of our regional parks, kayaking on the bay, or spending the day at the beach. I do worry we are losing a lot of our diversity that made the Bay Area such a special place to grow up because it is so expensive to live here and we have a housing crisis. While my parents and grandparents could afford to buy a home here, my brother and I struggle with that.
Q: What are some of your favorite books, movies, or TV shows?
A: My favorite movie is A League of Their Own, though it is definitely okay to cry in baseball. There are so many good TV shows out right now and I’ll admit to having too many streaming apps (if there is such a thing). Right now I am loving Pachinko on Apple TV and my guilty pleasure is Bridgerton on Netflix.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in the area?
A: While I’ve grown up and lived in the Bay Area for most of my life, I am new to the South Bay and just starting to explore all of the amazing food. So far I love Gombei in Japantown in San Jose and here in Los Gatos, Oak and Rye has the best pizza!