Sharing insights from notable legacies

Shela Gobertina von Trapp


While in the private sector, Shela was recognized for her contributions toward development and implementation of the office supply industry's first comprehensive green rating system for their products and the first green reporting analysis tool for customers.

She was also significant in Office Depot being named #1 Greenest Large Retailer in America by Newsweeks' Green Rankings for 2010, 2011, and 2012 and was a leader in securing the first Gold certified LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance  in a retail setting.

Shela has spoken on environmental and social issues at conferences, workshops, and for internal and external video announcements. Additionally, Shela has served on several boards: Santa Barbara, California's The Sustainability Project, the Brussels, Belgium-based SOFEA (Sustainable Office European Association), and was a founding member of the European Commission's Organization Environmental Footprint (OEF) Retail Pilot.   

Shela directly descends from multiple historic legacies. She is a great-granddaughter of Baron Captain Georg von Trapp, World War I Austro-Hungarian naval hero and father of the von Trapp children—whose family's life story inspired the world-renowned musical, The Sound of Music—and his first wife Agathe Gobertina Whitehead, granddaughter of British engineer Robert Whitehead, inventor of the torpedo. Shela is a granddaughter of Baroness Johanna von Trapp of the
Trapp Family Choir and Trapp Family Singers, later portrayed as the second youngest von Trapp child, Marta, in the play and movie. Her ancestors also are Hungarian & Croatian dynasties and national-heroes: Esterházy, Erdödy, Pálffy, Széchenyi, Rákóczy, Zrínyi, and Frangepán.

After many years of research and reflection on the importance of legacy to families, corporations, and the environment, today Shela speaks internationally about lessons that transcend the personal and the collective. She also advises organizations on the nexus of legacy thinking and sustainability practices.

Celebrity Legacy

Descendant of Illona Zrínyi, Croatian & Hungarian national heroine

Shela is the Founder & President of Celebrity Legacy  and the Georg & Agathe Foundation. She is also an expert within the sustainability space. Shela is passionate about historical preservation, human genealogical connectedness, and the wisdom that often comes from examining our past. 

From Boston University, Shela holds a Masters in Energy & Environmental Analysis, and a Bachelors in Environmental Analysis & Policy with a concentration in Economics & Policy Analysis (Magna Cum Laude). Previously, she earned an Associates degree in Business Administration with Honors from Santa Barbara City College. During her collegiate years, Shela studied abroad in Cambridge, England, as well as in Washington, D.C., where she interned at the United States' White House Council on Environmental Quality. 

Shela spent the early part of her career in the nonprofit and government sectors in the United States. For the past decade, Shela was a sustainability leader for a Fortune 500 company, both within the United States and Europe.

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Shela Gobertina von Trapp