Frances Beinecke is president of the National Resources Defense Council, the nation's most vocal environmental action organization.

Frances has spent her entire working life at the NRDC, starting as an intern in 1973, three years after the group was founded. She ended up leaving after a decade to be at home with her kids. But she was summoned back in 1990 by founder John Adams, and was named executive director in 1998. She took the reins from Adams and became the NRDC's second president in 2006. With more than a million members and over 300 people on staff, the NRDC is now one of the premier environmental groups in the country; that the environment has become one of the charitable causes de jour has been a huge boon for the group. The NRDC was particularly active battling the Bush Administration, which (obviously) hadn't been particularly friendly toward either the environment or environmental advocacy groups. Although the NRDC has been fighting battles at the national level, of late it's turned more of its attention to pushing through programs at the state level and has been particularly successful in California and New York. Beinecke also serves on numerous other environmental boards, and she even was placed on the National Commision on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling by President Obama. [Image via Getty]