Kelsey Wirth
Key Player

Treasurer, Environmental Working Group; director, Ctr. for Env. Citizenship; co-founder, Align Techologies; former banker, Robertson Stephens; former consultant, World Resources Institute; daughter of former U.S. senator Tim Wirth (D-CO) and Wren W. WirthKelsey Wirth used to sell braces for a living. Now, she’d prefer to be seen as a credible environmental spokesperson. If her family connections are any indication, she’s already halfway there.

Wirth is the daughter of former U.S. Senator and State Department Undersecretary Tim Wirth (D-CO), who has occupied a seat on the board of the Ted Turner-endowed United Nations Foundation. Her mother is Wren Winslow Wirth, a former Environmental Defense board member who now runs the Winslow Foundation. Ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz Kerry is a long-time friend of Wren Wirth’s, and sits on the Winslow Foundation’s board as well. The elder Wirths also count Washington, DC scaremonger David Fenton (of Fenton Communications) among their close friends.

After receiving an M.B.A. from Stanford, Kelsey Wirth went to work as an investment banker for Robertson Stephens. In 1997 she co-founded Align Technology, Inc., “to develop a new generation of high technology orthodontic products.” With marketing help from family pal David Fenton, Wirth’s venture began marketing a line of see-through braces in 1998. Claiming that her company had already successfully “revolutionized the orthodontics industry,” she quit in October 2001 to “pursue her interests in the areas of environmental protection and education.”