A National Geographic Explorer, TED Speaker, and a proud product of south central Los Angeles, Juan D. Martinez is C&NN’s Director of Leadership Development and the Natural Leaders Network. His passion to empower youth individuals led him to direct Sierra Club’s first environmental justice youth leadership academy in Los Angeles.
Juan was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2011. In 2014 he was recognized by the National Science Teachers Association’s Multicultural and Equity Committee for his work as a Global Explorer.
He represents The North Face as an ambassador for outdoor engagement and his adventures include reaching the Summit of the Grand Teton in 2010 with famed mountain climber Conrad Anker. The documentary film “Love in the Tetons” stars Juan and his compelling journey leading him to the Tetons, and to meeting his wife, Vanessa. The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and was a finalist in the Banff Film Festival.
In 2015 he was elected to the The Wilderness Society’s Governing Council, The Sierra Club Foundation Board elected Juan a member (their youngest ever) in 2012; and he was a 2012 Murie Center Explorer in Residence in Grand Teton National Park, WY and in 2015 was elected to the Murie Center’s Board of Directors.
Juan credits his experience of growing up in South Central L.A. with a deep understanding of the need to connect children, families, culture, and communities with the natural world.
He participated in the first ever TED Youth national conference in New York, and TEDx in Jackson Hole, WY. In 2015 Juan joined Yvon Chouinard’s ambassadors program for 1% for the planet.
Through the Natural Leaders Network Juan is working with strategic partners and grassroots leaders to empower the next generation of conservation and outdoor recreation leaders. Juan dedicates his energy on grassroots campaigns to empower, explore, and create positive change, he and his wife live in Los Angeles, CA.
Juan will participate in the Outdoor Access panel discussion on Friday, Oct. 9 at the SHIFT Summit.