Three For Thursday – Karla Raettig


Environmentally Friendly

I first met Karla in early 2017 when I joined the board of directors of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, where Karla is the executive director. Karla has over 20 years of experience in the environmental community, including heading up the National Wildlife Federation’s Louisiana Coastal Restoration program and practicing environmental law at the Environmental Integrity Project, the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, and at the Seattle office of Earthjustice. Karla has an LLM in environmental and natural resources law from Tulane University Law School and a JD from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Karla lives in Cheverly, Maryland with her husband and two dogs. 

I greatly appreciate Karla’s leadership skills and her dedication to the environmental causes about which I am passionate. But even though I have attended pretty much every board meeting since I joined the League, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Karla’s Three For Thursday. As you will see below, she doesn’t disappoint!

You Are Not The Hero Of Your Own Story
When I recognized that I was not the hero of my own life story, it completely changed my life. This realization altered my approach to daily life, to family, and to work. When I get stressed out or just generally out of control, I now look at my own role in the situation. Formerly, my tendency in these instances was to go to a defensive place. But the truth is that I just may not be the reason someone is reacting in a certain way. It’s not always about me. So, I’ve learned to think about my role and its impact, while understanding that there are almost always other factors at play.

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
I realize this isn’t the most original thought, but it’s a truism nevertheless: get out of your comfort zone. I’m an introvert, and yet, I’m a lobbyist and I do public speaking. This extroverted work has allowed me to grow considerably. I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone in other areas as well. For a number of years, I participated in a belly dance troupe. As anyone who knows me will attest, I’m not exactly a graceful dancer, but participating in the troupe pushed me to grow in ways I otherwise never would have. If something is scaring me, it usually means I should be doing it! But, sadly, my ankles have informed me that my belly dancing days are over. So, I’m now a retired belly dancer and I’ve bought a Peloton instead!

Maintain Relationships
I believe that it’s critical to maintain relationships from every stage of life. I have developed and sustained friendships for all of my life. Relationships are very important. The people from different phases of my life know different parts of me and can remind me of what I may not even remember about myself. I make the effort to travel to spend time with old friends. But, it’s important to keep the process going, too. I always focus on continuing to develop new relationships. It’s certainly more difficult as we get older, but it’s equally as important.

One For The Road…Metaphorical Comfort Food
With all the stresses of everyday life, it’s so important to find the things that are the equivalent of comfort food. Reading fiction is my comfort food. No matter how busy I am, I make time to read fiction. Okay, I’ll admit it…it’s not always high brow! Find things that make you happy and make time to do them!

How About You?
What are your Three For Thursday? I’m looking for people who are willing to share their life wisdom.  Please email me at if you’d like to be interviewed for a future Three For Thursday blog.