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Leadership and Strategic Insight for Social Change

What I Do

My best days are when someone I’ve helped has their moment in the sun.

I am passionate about individuals and groups who lead their communities through positive change and have deep insight into the challenges and opportunities of resilient, effective leadership.

I have started nonprofits,  built national networks, created and sustained successful campaigns, and helped raise and distribute millions in grants and donations. I’ve recruited, encouraged, and nurtured talented people who continue their work to improve the world.
I learn every day. I am a recovering Executive Director who brings my life experience into coaching and mentorship. I have a healthy sense of humor and a robust appreciation for the absurd that provides joy and perspective in the hard work of social change.

I work with your team

I amplify your message

I help you navigate your path

About John Wallin

People, places, and politics have always animated my passion for conservation and social change. I have a BA in International Relations from American University and an MA in Political Science from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. My education accelerated outside academia, as I helped launch the Earth Conservation Corps in Washington, DC, and then worked for the iconic outdoor clothing company Patagonia in Washington, Bozeman, and Reno. 

Patagonia’s innovative internship program led me on a conservation and leadership journey that has defined my personal and professional lives. I met my wife during the campaign to protect Nevada’s Black Rock desert. After a decade of mostly successful campaigns (and because it is part of the learning journey, not so successful!), I moved to Colorado to work with the Conservation Lands Foundation to build a network of national advocacy groups collectively known as the Friends Grassroots Network. My wife and I welcomed our daughter into the world, and we are deeply fortunate to have a community and connection in the Four Corners.

Throughout this time, the power of individuals to make local change with global impact has inspired me. I now seek out groups and individuals who need a helping hand to change the world for the better. Do you have some opportunities or challenges you need help with? Connect with me to see if I can help.


“John’s track record developing grassroots power and investing in local leadership to protect public lands is unrivaled. He catalyzed campaigns in Nevada that helped redefine how to conserve federal public lands.

He has experience building national networks of local activists to protect land and the stories of people who live there. He’s an agile thinker who can develop ideas into creative, bold action strategies. He’s a great partner to individuals and communities who need help to protect their lands and waters and tell their stories.”

Former Governor of Arizona from 1978-1987, and Interior Secretary from 1993-2001.  

“John is a trustworthy ally and advocate who can assist with organizational development, visioning, and strategic planning.

A skilled forecaster, John’s intuition, expertise, and experience make him an excellent thought partner who I trust with my nearest and dearest organizations and projects.”

Artist, poetic, motivational speaker.

“John’s been a fantastic mentor to me throughout my years in conservation. Thanks to his mentorship and guidance, I became the first person of color in leadership at the Conservation Lands Foundation. He strives to use every action, whether a success or failure, as a learning opportunity for himself and his team. He builds successful nationwide campaigns that most importantly grow the base of well-trained, passionate advocates to continue seeding and executing campaigns into the future. I am confident he’ll succeed at any opportunity where he can support individual and community growth.”

Chief Conservation Officer,
Conservation Lands Foundation

Executive Director, Oregon Desert Land Trust

“In addition to capacity building and empowerment, he has participated in building and advancing conservation campaigns like the Reconstruction Era Monument in South Carolina with Dick Moe, Bruce Babbitt, and Brian O’Donnell. This is just one example of movements that showed the Obama Administration the value of and power of conservation and education – which led to many more monuments.

In his 11 years with the Conservation Lands Foundation, he demonstrated extraordinary range; he played different instruments with great skill in each of the orchestras that build the Bears Ears, Cascade Siskiyou, Basin & Range, and Gold Butte monuments, and others. In some cases he led; in some instances he supported, in some cases he counseled. Whatever role needed to be filled, John filled that role. He catalyzed various other conservation campaigns, ranging from Avi Kwa Ame to the Owyhee Canyonlands.”

Read the full CLF resolution

The Board of Directors of the Conservation Lands Foundation issued this proclamation/resolution in June 2021.

Let’s work together!