Dr. Amber Mace is the Chief Executive Officer of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), a nonpartisan, nonprofit corporation established in 1988 to advise the state of California on matters of science and technology. As CEO, Mace provides strategic leadership to increase CCST’s impact as a boundary organization, an independent entity that bridges science, technology, and policy to inform and advance policy change among California’s decision-makers and drive broader impact across the state, the fifth largest economy in the world.
A strategic thinker and pragmatic problem solver, Mace brings to CCST more than two decades of leadership experience working at the nexus of science and policy, drawing on her extensive background in environmental policy and marine ecology. During her tenure, Mace has led the organization in providing scientific guidance to the state of California on a range of important issues including disaster resilience and adaptation, climate change, and energy. Under her leadership, the organization has tripled in size and raised over $40 million from individuals, foundations, and the state to support CCST programs, including the Disaster Resilience Initiative and the CCST Science Fellows Program. Long regarded as an expert at finding experts, Mace has spearheaded important public-private partnerships, bringing together many prestigious academic and research institutions.
Mace began her career as a certified research SCUBA diving instructor at the University of California, Berkeley. She then joined the National Marine Sanctuary Program in San Francisco and the National Geographic Sustainable Seas Expedition, during which time she piloted a one-person submersible vessel at the Farallon Islands.
She was then named as a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow in the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, as well as a California Sea Grant State Fellow at the California Natural Resources Agency.
Mace’s energy and problem-solving approach led to her being named the first science advisor to California’s Ocean Protection Council (OPC) as the Executive Director of the California Ocean Science Trust. Subsequently, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed her as the Assistant Secretary for Coastal Matters at the California Natural Resources Agency, where she held the position of Executive Director of California’s Ocean Protection Council.
Previously, Mace served as Associate Director of the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy, leading the Climate Adaptation Initiative at UC Davis. She continues to serve as a Policy Fellow. In addition, Mace served nine years on the National Sea Grant Advisory Board at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She is also a member of the California Sea Grant Advisory Board and the California Council on Science and Technology Fellowship Selection Committee. She was recognized as a Coastal Hero by Sunset magazine in 2011.
Mace holds a BA in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley, a PhD in Ecology from the University of California, Davis and the Bodega Marine Laboratory, and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.