The Net Zero Life

#24 Sustainable Corporate Governance with Diana Birkett Rakow, SVP Alaska Airlines

May 17, 2022

How do you move the needle in a hard-to-abate sector? What does good sustainable corporate governance look like in a Fortune 1000 company? In the second episode of season three, TNZL explores the corporate side of collective action with Diana Birkett Rakow, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Sustainability at Alaska Airlines.

During the episode Nathan and Diana discuss how she connects to climate through art and painting, and her new(ish) role at Alaska Airlines. Diana is a sustainability leader who thinks about maximizing her impact while taking into account climate equity and justice. Known throughout the aviation industry for their sustainability efforts, Alaska Airlines has been working to manage their carbon emissions and reporting their carbon footprint since 2009 -- long before that was the popular thing to do.

Diana leads Alaska's government affairs, ESG and sustainability, communications and community engagement with teams in Seattle, San Francisco, Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington D.C. Together, they are responsible for advancing Alaska’s business, supporting the company’s employees and local communities, and managing its environmental and social impact consistent. Diana led development of the company’s 2025 ESG goals and five-part path to reach net zero by 2040, and is responsible for Alaska’s venture arm – Alaska Star Ventures – which is focused on identifying and enabling technologies to accelerate that path. She also chairs the Board for the Alaska Airlines Foundation.

Diana joined Alaska Airlines after two decades in health care, public health, and government service. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and master’s degrees in public administration and public health from the University of Washington. She also serves on the Boards of Philanthropy Northwest, Pacific Science Center, Bay Area Council, and Seattle Metro Chamber.

You can keep up with Alaska Airlines on their blog,, and if you’d like to get in touch with Diana, you can follow her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software developer or recruiter looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at or via email at

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