McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Welcomes New Executive Director
The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, the independent non-profit organization that works to promote and protect the more than 30,000 acres of pristine public land in Scottsdale’s Sonoran Desert, is pleased to announce the appointment of its new Executive Director, Justin Owen, who will assume the Conservancy’s top professional leadership role effective January 1, 2018.
Justin brings nearly 20 years of professional experience to the Conservancy, with an extensive background in agency leadership, large-scale event management, public affairs advocacy and broad-scale volunteer recruitment and oversight.
Most recently, Justin spent five years as Executive Director of Phoenix Pride, where he oversaw the annual production of Arizona’s two largest public LGBTQ community events, as well as the organization’s fundraising, issue advocacy and outreach efforts, managing an in house staff of five and over 750 community volunteers, as well as an annual budget of more than $1.5 million. Under his leadership, Phoenix Pride saw record growth in both revenue and attendance at its events, and strengthened its voice as a leading advocate for equality and rights for all people in the Greater Phoenix area and throughout the State of Arizona.
Prior to his service with Phoenix Pride, Justin served in a number of roles in high-level event production and large-group travel management for entities including the Walt Disney Company and the Scottsdale branch of Kuoni Destination Management, where he managed year-round activities that included managing seasonal staff of more than 100 and oversaw client budgets in excess of $2 million. For seven years he also served as Production Manager for Special Olympics Southern California.
In addition to his substantial professional experience and achievements, Justin has been a passionate and dedicated supporter of community-based causes throughout his adult life. Beyond his staff role, he has been an active volunteer for more than two decades, and has helped drive public policy advancements for civil rights through a wide array of organizations. He currently serves a Commissioner on the Phoenix Human Relations Commission under an appointment by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, and he is actively involved in issue advocacy at the city level, as well as for other municipalities throughout the Valley, and at the State Capitol. He is a frequent source for both print and electronic media, and is recognized as a leader in local community engagement and activation.
Justin assumes his role as the Conservancy’s fourth Executive Director after an extensive search to identify and recruit an individual who possesses the skills, experience and contacts necessary to vault the organization to the next level. He is a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional and regularly works closely with foundations throughout the Valley, including the Arizona Community Foundation. His extensive personal contacts run the gamut from local, regional and national business and non-profit leaders to elected officials, senior staff members at all levels of government, and media professionals in both the print and electronic realms.
As we prepare to write the next chapter in the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy’s history, we are thrilled to welcome Justin to his new role, and we look forward to working with him as, together, we take the Conservancy to the next level of highest-quality service to our community and the public as a whole, while maintaining the beauty and accessibility of the Sonoran Desert area that makes Arizona—and Scottsdale in particular—a unique and indispensable national treasure.