British-born Jewell moved to the U.S. at age three and is the second woman to serve as secretary of the Interior. Jewell earned her degree in mechanical engineering. Her career prior to the Department of the Interior included work as a petroleum engineer; 19 years in commercial banking; and serving 13 years first as chief operating officer and then as president and CEO of the outdoor specialty retailer, REI.
As Secretary, Jewell was noted for an engaging openness—holding 100 employee meetings and visiting 49 states, three U.S. territories and 10 countries—and a leadership style that sought broad input and science-based, landscape level decisions. Her time at Interior was marked by a period of prolonged drought in the West and intensifying wildland fires; a focus on redefining federal trust responsibilities to American Indian and Alaska Native communities; emphasis on renewable energy as part of an all-of-the-above energy plan that saw the opening of the nation’s first offshore wind farm; and a crackdown on wildlife trafficking. Her tenure additionally coincided with the Civil War sesquicentennial and the centennial of the National Park Service.
Jewell’s official portrait depicts a sunrise over Washington’s Mount Rainier, the first national park Jewell recalls visiting as a child and a peak she has summited multiple times. She selected this location due to its Interior connections as well, since the mountain is both a national park and a site actively studied and monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey. Jewell has often quoted the proverb, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children,” and the trail workers sharing the scene collectively represent the youth and public stewardship initiatives that helped define Jewell’s legacy at Interior. She departed the nation’s capital at the end of the Obama presidency and has subsequently been a resident fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics and a distinguished fellow at the University of Washington College of the Environment.
Virginia-based artist Bradley Stevens is a contemporary realist painter of portraits, landscapes, cityscapes and historical paintings. He strives to infuse his portraits with a sense of naturalism, stating that "portrait painting is the enduring art form by which I describe and celebrate the uniqueness of an individual." This portrait was unveiled at Interior in January 2017.