McDowell Sonoran Conservancy names Justin Owen executive director

The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, the independent nonprofit organization that works to promote and protect the more than 30,000 acres of pristine public land in Scottsdale’s Sonoran Desert, is announcing the appointment of its new Executive Director Justin Owen.

Justin Owen

Mr. Owen will assume the Conservancy’s top professional leadership role effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Mr. Owen 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.

In addition, Mr. Owen handled Phoenix Pride’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, according to a press release.

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 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.

Beyond his staff role, Mr. Owen has been an active volunteer for more than two decades, a press release states, noting he has helped drive public policy advancements for civil rights through a wide array of organizations.

He serves as 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 Arizona Capitol, the release states.

Mr. Owen 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, the release states.

He is a certified nonprofit accounting professional and regularly works closely with foundations throughout the Valley, including the Arizona Community Foundation.

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