News Release 9.4.2014


“The Board conducted an intensive search process and interviewed a number of excellent candidates,” says Henri Bisson, chairman of the Sonoran Institute Board of Directors. “Stephanie was our top choice, and we are thrilled that she has accepted our offer.” Bisson indicated that the Board was unanimous in endorsing her for the CEO position. “We are very excited about the experience, vitality, and vision that Stephanie brings to our organization for the future.”

“In recent years, I have had the opportunity to work in partnership with the Sonoran Institute and its dedicated team on a wide range of issues, including State Trust Land reform in Arizona and the development of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan,” says Stephanie. “The work of the Sonoran Institute is vitally important to the future of the West, and I am delighted at the opportunity to lead such a unique and forward-looking organization.”

As Director of Development for the Institute of the Environment since 2010, Sklar has been responsible for directing and managing all fund development activities for the Institute. Prior to working for the University of Arizona, she was the Executive Director of Social Venture Partners of Greater Tucson from 2007 – 2010. Sklar was formerly the Executive Director of the Arizona League of Conservation Voters, Arizona’s largest member-supported statewide conservation organization with offices in Tucson and Phoenix.

Before moving to Arizona in 1994, Sklar was Vice President for Public Affairs for the National Wildlife Federation, the largest environmental education organization in the US.  While in DC, she also served as Vice President for Communications at The Nature Conservancy in Arlington, VA, and was appointed by President Reagan as Communications Director for the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors.  She also was an Associate Director of the Small Business Center for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. A graduate of Vassar College, Sklar earned her M.A.T. in English from Brown University and studied post-graduate business at George Washington University.

“Stephanie brings a tremendous breadth of experience and leadership skills to the Sonoran Institute,” says John Shepard, senior adviser and interim CEO at the Institute. “I have watched her career path since we first met in Washington, DC in the 1990s, and am very excited to work with her directly on some of the major challenges impacting the quality of life in communities across the West.”

Founded in 1990 by Luther Propst, the Sonoran Institute inspires and enables community decisions and public policies that respect the land and people of western North America. The Institute is a nonprofit organization that is working to shape the future of the West. For more information, visit