Jewell was born in England as Sally Roffey and she moved to the United States in 1959, when her father, an anesthesiologist, took up a fellowship at the University of Washington. She graduated in 1978 from the University of Washington with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Jewell worked for Mobil oil company on oil fields in Oklahoma from 1978 through 1981, when she joined Rainer Bank, which was hiring engineers to help them understand how to go about making loans to oil companies. She worked in banking for twenty years, staying with Security Pacific, which acquired Rainier Bank, until 1992, and working for WestOne Bank from 1992 through 1995, and for Washington Mutual from 1995 through 2000. In 1996, she joined the board of REI and in 2000 was named CEO in 2005.
Jewell has sat on the boards of Premera, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the University of Washington Board of Regents.
In 2009, Jewell received the National Audobon Society's Rachel Carson Award for her leadership in and dedication to conservation. The Rachel Carson Award honors visionary women whose expertise and dedication advance conservation locally and nationally.
Jewell is married to Warren, also an engineer, and reside in Seattle. They have two adult children. (Wiki)