Wildlife Conservation Connection

WCC Conference

Successes in Wildlife Conservation

October 17th - 19th, 2023

Omni Hotel and Resort

500 Interlocken Blvd, Broomfield, CO 80021

Please join us for a small gathering of wildlife conservationists, philanthropists, and decision makers to foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing. The conference aims to discuss successful strategies in wildlife conservation and explore ways to leverage these successes for greater impact.

To register, please email or call Sue Thompson

Email: [email protected]

Cell: 303-588-2480

Please register by Sept 26, 2023

After registration, we would like all attendees to complete a brief bio for all of us to know and better understand each other.

Agenda (Tentative)

Tuesday Oct 17th

Event Time
Welcome Reception at Omni Hotel 5:00-8:00 pm
Opening Remarks 5:30 pm
Cocktails and Heavy Hors D’oeuvres


Wednesday Oct 18th

Event Time
Breakfast 7:30-8:30 am
Morning Meeting
  • Objectives of WCC and Review of Agenda
8:30-8:45 am
  • General Introductions (Identifying Areas of Interest & Principles of Giving**)
8:45-10:45 am

** Suggested topics include: Species orientation, countries of interest, conservation methodologies of interest (captive breeding, translocation, technology census, etc.), what organizations you know are effective, how many donations/year do you give, budget for giving, etc.

  • Break
10:45-11:00 am
  • Featured Speaker: TBD
11:00-12:00 pm
Lunch Break 12:00-1:15 pm
Afternoon Meeting
  • Conservation Success Stories: Guided discussion on what methods have worked and not worked on saving species.
1:15-2:45 pm
  • Leave for field trip
3:00 pm
  • Visit Wildlife Protection Solutions in Golden, CO
3:30-8:00 pm
    • See demonstration of Artificial Intelligence for anti-poaching
    • See Virtual Reality of wildlife around the world
    • See demonstration of raptors by Nature's Educators
    • Enjoy cocktails and dinner


Thursday Oct 19th

Event Time
Breakfast 7:30-8:30 am
Morning Meeting
  • Conservation Success Stories - Continuation of discussion on what methods have worked and not worked.
8:30-10:30 am
  • Break
10:30-10:45 am
  • Featured Speaker: Dr. Barney Long
10:45-11:45 am
Lunch Break 12:00-1:00 pm

During lunch - Featured speaker with Dr. Lynn Johnson from Nature Needs More on the need to modernize CITES via ePermits

  • Final Discussion and Next Steps
1:00-2:00 pm

About Wildlife Conservation Connection:

Wildlife Conservation Connection (WCC) serves as an exclusive gathering of peers of dedicated funders, conservationists and decision makers who share a passion for wildlife conservation.  Our distinctive approach is designed to deliver exceptional value to our members, driven by our core principles:

  • Bringing Together a Small Group of Like-Minded Changemakers: WCC acts as a close-knit assembly, limited to 20-30 individuals per gathering. By uniting philanthropists and decision-makers who are aligned in their commitment to wildlife conservation, we foster a collaborative space for learning, networking, and forging meaningful connections. The central objective of this community is to amplify the impact of each member's philanthropic efforts by fostering collective knowledge and expertise.
  • Expanding Knowledge in Conservation: WCC goes beyond conventional forums, offering a platform for philanthropists to delve deep into the challenges and solutions within wildlife conservation. With a commitment to continual evolution, WCC envisions the possibility of spawning smaller subgroups in the future, tailored to specific geographies, themes, or species of focus.
  • What Makes WCC Different from Other Groups: What sets WCC apart is our commitment to maintaining an intimate setting for interactions that prioritize relationship building. Unlike meetings driven by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), our gatherings remain agile, ensuring members can fully engage and create lasting bonds.
  • Our Primary Focus is on Wildlife: While broader issues like climate, environment, and land use might naturally intersect, WCC's core emphasis remains on wildlife conservation. This focus guarantees that discussions remain concentrated on the preservation and protection of animal species.
  • No Obligation to Make Grants: Participation in WCC doesn't come with any obligatory grant-making, fund-pooling, or minimum contribution requirements. Attendees retain full autonomy over their individual funding decisions, empowering them to measure the success of their philanthropic initiatives based on their unique goals.
  • No Current Membership Fee: WCC operates on a non-membership fee basis. Attendees are only requested to contribute to a transparent meeting fee, covering direct expenses such as meeting facilities, food and beverage costs. Our orientation to cost-effectiveness ensures every participant benefits without unnecessary financial burden.  Comprehensive financial records are always available.
  • Personal Responsibility for Travel Arrangements: Participants are responsible for arranging and covering their own travel and accommodation expenses when traveling to the meeting venue. Once you register with WCC, a link from the Omni Hotel will be sent to you for making and paying for your hotel reservation.  WCC’s group discount will be given on your room.


Dr. Lynn JohnsonDr. Lynn Johnson After gaining a PhD in particle physics, Lynn has spent most of her career in the private sector, consulting on business strategy, leadership and transformation. Volunteering has been a theme throughout her teenage and adult life.  Lynn’s lifelong passion for wildlife conservation led her to create the project Breaking The Brand (to Stop the Demand) in 2013. The project analyzed consumer desires for specific, illegal wildlife products with the aim of creating campaigns to trigger a change in purchasing behavior. By 2017,  Lynn realized that the illegal trade in wild species couldn’t be decisively tackled until the global legal trade system was modernized. In 2017  Lynn launched Nature Needs More, an Australia based charity, with the aim of transforming the global trade in wild species to decouple the legal and illegal trade and ensure all trade in wild species is sustainable. Her work leads her to challenge the growing number of phantom solutions being proposed to save wild species, while proposing pragmatic solutions.  Lynn’s decision to focus on the legal trade was reinforced by the landmark May 2019 IPBES report into the global extinction crisis which confirmed that direct exploitation for trade is the most important driver of decline and extinction risk for marine species and the second most important driver for terrestrial and freshwater species.

Dr. Barney LongDr. Barney Long Dr. Long is a professional, dedicated and passionate conservationist with a wide array of skills and knowledge.  Barney has worked at many levels of conservation including baseline biological surveys, monitoring and research, community-based conservation, provincial multi-agency collaboration, multi-provincial approaches, protected area management, wildlife crime prevention, national policy, regional approaches, international technical support and international policy.

Having a solid grounding in field implementation with over nine years experience running conservation projects on the ground in Asia Barney understands the constraints and competencies required to be successful. For the last fifteen years Barney has been focused on providing technical support to field teams across the World, developing cost efficient programmatic approaches to addressing conservation problems and bolstering political support for species conservation. Skilled in fundraising, strategic planning, budgeting and program development, Barney is always looking to see how conservation can be taken to the next level of impact and effectiveness.

Barney is a member of five IUCN/SSC Specialist Groups, and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. Barney sits on the IUCN/SSC, Red List Partnership, Reverse the Red, SMART Partnership, and EDGE Steering Committees. Barney co-chairs the Green Status of Species Task forces of IUCN/SSC and the Red List Partnership. Barney is on the board of the Shark Conservation Fund, Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, and the Bahamas National Trust.


Confirmed Attendees

Andrew CurrieAndrew C. Currie (CO) is a successful software entrepreneur and impact investor passionate about helping endangered wildlife and people thrive together long-term. He’s focused on this for 20 years and developed relationships with conservation leaders and fellow funders.  His approach includes small grants philanthropy, impact investing including loans for habitat conservation, advocacy (mostly behind the scenes) on state and federal appointments, regulations and legislation related to wildlife protection, encouraging press coverage of these issues, giving to elect values aligned state and federal candidates and strategy development with wildlife protection NGOs. He’s a board member of the non-profit Wildlife Protection Solutions, the world leader in technology for remote security of endangered wildlife.   In 2018 Andrew was honored to serve as co-chair of Colorado Governor Polis' transition team for Energy, Natural Resources and Agriculture with former Governor Bill Ritter.  Andrew formed and led a small impact investment team that worked in partnership with a land trust to create a 5,000-acre prairie wildlife preserve in southeast CO. Andrew founded the Mountain West chapter of the pro-environment business group E2 (www.E2.org) and co-founded and helped lead Social Venture Partners Boulder County. He served on the board of Conservation Colorado’s 501c4 state voter league for over fifteen years including a term as Chair.  In 1999 Andrew with co-founders Brad Feld and Brian Makare were honored as Boulder Esprit Entrepreneur of the Year.  Andrew is a frequent visitor to our public lands in the US to watch wildlife, hike and bike and frequent eco-tourist to many countries including in eastern and southern Africa. His favorite animals to help protect are elephants, great apes, whales and dolphins.

Sue ThompsonSue Thompson (CO) has extensive experience with both for-profit and non-profit organizations. For over 23 years, Sue was involved with two for-profit software companies, Columbine Systems, Inc. and Antalys, Inc., where she held key management positions including Vice President, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and Chief Financial Officer. She is also a Principal in four real estate investment companies. Since 2002, Sue has been actively involved in many non-profit groups, as an officer, board member, and philanthropist.. She has also served for several years as a committee member of a major grant-giving foundation. Sue is currently on the board of Wildlife Protection Solutions and Boulder Kathmandu Sister City Project. Sue co-founded Wildlife Protection Solutions in 2013 because of her love of animals, nature and her desire to protect endangered wildlife species.  She is thrilled to bring her broad-minded acuity in both for-profit and non-profit organizations to her lifelong value for preserving lands and protecting the wild animals that live there.

Dave WeidnerDave Weidner (CO) has a strong history of leadership in for-profit companies. As a true entrepreneur, where his legacy has been in the software industry, he founded two very successful software companies: Four Winds Interactive, which has ranked in the ‘Top 50’ list of Forbes most promising companies two years in a row, and Antalys, Inc.. Previous to his two companies, he was President of Columbine Systems, Inc. He is a Principal in four Limited Liability Companies: Indigena LLC, Laramie Ridge LLC, Boulder Roofstack LLC, and Roofstack LLC. All of these LLCs are real estate investment companies investing in land, residential, and commercial properties. Over the years, Dave’s love of nature and the outdoors has led to numerous land acquisitions and subsequent conservation easement agreements, which ensures the continued welfare of the land and its key habitats. Now with Wildlife Protection Solutions, he brings his enterprising nature, high-tech background, and love of animals together in service to wildlife conservation.

Susan SlavikSusan Slavik Williams (MO) is an investor, an entrepreneur, and an animal advocate.  She believes in the power of technology, business, and free market economics to change the world for the better.  Susan is dedicated to continuous learning and striving to improve society.  As President of The Donald Slavik Family Foundation, Susan pursues her passion in protecting wildlife worldwide with an emphasis on predators in Africa.  For DSFF she works with her husband, Felix, who manages efforts throughout North America, to find innovative and comprehensive approaches to saving wild animals and wild places for future generations.  In her role as President of Four Palms Ventures LLC, Susan leads a team to invest in novel ideas, products and services in agriculture technology and general technology.  Susan serves on several Boards of Directors:  W.W. Grainger, North America’s leading broadline supplier of maintenance, repair, and operations (MR&O) products; Mark IV Capital, Inc. a supplier of world-class working environments and equity investments; and iSelect Fund a new kind of venture capital fund based in St. Louis, MO investing in the agriculture and biosciences where food meets health.  Susan served on the board of the St. Louis Zoo for 12 years, participated in strategic planning and is currently a member of the conservation committee. Susan received her BA in Sociology at UCLA, her MBA at the Olin School, Washington University in St. Louis, the Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, and the Certificate in Corporate Governance from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

Felix N Williams IIIFelix N Williams III (MO) With a degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder majoring in Journalism and History, Felix went on to enjoy a twelve-year career in advertising, managing national foods, greeting card and package goods accounts. From advertising, Felix and his wife Susan then bought and ran The Screening Room, LLC for thirteen years. TSR was a St. Louis custom home electronic service and retail store. Services included home theaters, whole house control and sound, as well as security and video monitoring systems. After selling the company in 2011, Felix enjoyed a previous passion and re-entered the house flipping and real estate business which has since become real estate management. In addition to many years spent on the boards of several schools and a camp for under privileged, inner-city kids, Felix and his wife Susan continue to build the Donald Slavik Family Foundation. Since its beginning, the couple have worked with many non-for-profit organizations around the United States rescuing a variety of animal species who have been injured, saved from bad situations, or forced out of their natural territory. From the California sea lions to the Atlantic Ocean spotted dolphins, as well as every land animal species in between, DSFF has been involved. In the future, it is the foundations’ goal to continue this work but to also begin looking at the high-level problems of species and habitat survival in North America and around the world.  The future goal of DSFF is to ensure that today’s wild species are available for future generations. To do so the foundation will work to protect and preserve wild animals and the world’s wild places by focusing on scientific research, public education, land management and conservation.

Brian Borg (UT)  has over 25 years of professional experience in real estate with over $12 billion of completed deal experience, across over 100 closed transactions in multiple asset classes and geographies.  Prior to Marble Hill, Brian was the Chief Investment Officer of FREO Group and prior to that was a Partner at Rockpoint Group in Tokyo and London, responsible for international business including Europe and Asia activities. Brian was previously an investment professional at Westbrook Partners in San Francisco and Singapore, and an investment banker at Montgomery Securities in San Francisco.  Brian has served on several corporate boards and operating committees, including for FREO Group, Rockpoint Group, and several investment subsidiaries.  Brian holds an A.B. degree with Honors in Economics from Harvard College. He is an avid mountain biker all year round and goes out on his fat bike in the winter.

Christian Dietrich (NY)  is a philanthropist based in New York City supporting conservation in Africa, and the provision of medical assistance to wildlife rangers. He serves as the Vice President of his family foundation, the Dietrich American Foundation, and manages charitable gifts to initiate and maintain wildlife ranger health projects in three African countries, with additional initiatives forthcoming. Christian previously supported programs to combat the illegal wildlife trade, also including pro bono assistance to the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Somaliland, and the Royal Foundation of the Prince and Princess of Wales (United for Wildlife). Prior to commencing his philanthropic endeavors in 2016, Christian worked as a Criminal Intelligence Officer at INTERPOL assisting national agencies pursue ivory trafficking cases in East and Southern Africa.  He further served for eleven mandates with UN Security Council Panels of Experts in Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, and Liberia investigating and reporting on arms embargo violations, war crimes, and natural resource trafficking; and as an analyst at the International Criminal Court, Office of the Prosecutor. Christian has worked in 25 African countries since the late 1990s, and holds a Masters in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University.

Dr. Lisa KelleyDr. Lisa Kelley (MO) is the Executive Director of the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute, which is the Zoo’s field conservation arm. Lisa received her A.B. from Washington University in St. Louis, her MSc from Oxford Brookes University in England, and both her A.B. and Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. Both her thesis and dissertation research were based on wildlife studies of lemurs in Madagascar. Although a field primatologist by training, Lisa’s interest and devotion is with all wildlife species. She currently oversees 30 wildlife conservation efforts at the Zoo, as well as serves as the liaison for the Zoo’s active Conservation Council. Lisa also serves as Vice-Chair of the Saving Animals from Extinction program on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Wildlife Conservation Committee, as well as serves as the Saint Louis Zoo liaison for AZA’s Wildlife Trafficking Committee. In addition, she serves as secretary on the board of the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group, serves on the board of the Endangered Wolf Center, serves on the Leadership Council for University of Missouri’s Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center, and is the Zoo liaison for Washington University in St. Louis’ Living Earth Collaborative. Lisa and her younger daughter also just joined the National Charity League. When not working, Lisa loves to spend quality time with her family, friends, and doing any doing just about anything outdoors in the sun.

Dave Martin (CA) serves as the Vice President of the Francis and Christine Martin Foundation, where he focuses on philanthropically supporting innovative and effective conservation projects around the planet. He deeply believes that media plays a powerful role in shaping the world as we know it, and works to elevate solutions-oriented content that move the needle in creating a livable and equitable planet for all. He is also Director of Partnerships for Mongabay, a popular online environmental science and conservation news platform with 30 million readers worldwide. At Mongabay, he is responsible for the launch and integration of short form video content, with the goal of raising awareness of unfolding current events around the planet while inspiring new audiences to love nature and to get involved in conservation. His love of rainforests was spurred by an early childhood trip to Costa Rica and expanded further while living in the Western Amazon early in his career. Building on his work at Mongabay and unique life experience, Dave also volunteers his time to advise a number of philanthropic conservation efforts, where he helps funders find unique interventions and local, community inclusive projects to support. He holds a Master’s Degree in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University where he studied environmental social movements and indigenous rights, and Bachelor’s Degree in Globalization and Socioeconomics from University of California Santa Barbara. In his free time, he enjoys hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains and surfing when it isn’t too cold.

Amanda Nickson, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation (IL) Amanda Nickson is the Senior Director of Conservation for the Paul M Angell Family Foundation.  Prior to joining the Foundation, Amanda served as Director of International Fisheries at The Pew Charitable Trusts where she was known for her opinions on RFMOs and the fact that her birthday is also World Tuna Day.  Before Pew, Amanda worked for WWF for nearly 12 years, leading the endangered species program in WWF Australia and then working for nearly a decade with the WWF International Species Program. Amanda began her career in health promotion policy, serving as the New South Wales state lead for the National Breast Cancer Centre in Australia. She also ran the first publicly funded campaign to prevent homophobic violence, which won the Australian government’s Violence Prevention Award.  Amanda is passionate about the ocean, species conservation, and the role of civil society and campaigning in delivering good governance and strong public policy.

Richard Pritzlaff (CO) native of Phoenix, Arizona, Richard grew up in the then desert open spaces on the slopes of Camelback Mountain. There were lizards to chase, snakes to play with and snakes to avoid, coyotes, javelinas, and the last mountain lions on Camelback Mountain. It was these early experiences that set Richard on a path to work as a conservation biologist dedicated to enhancing and protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat. In particular, from 1993 to 2002, Richard raised funds and helped to manage many wildlife habitat restoration and conservation projects while working for Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage. During the mid-1990’s he substantially initiated the Maryland Department of Environment’s Water Quality Linked-Deposit Loan Program through a demonstration project funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. He was also appointed by the Governor to the Maryland Wetlands Restoration Steering Committee; the committee was charged with guiding the State’s efforts to restore 60,000 acres of wetlands. In 2002 and 2003, he was a Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land. Since 2004 he has been the full time President of the Biophilia Foundation.

Richard earned a PhD from Prescott College, a M.S. degree in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.S. in Engineering Science from Vanderbilt University. In addition to the Biophilia Foundation he was the Managing Partner of Borderland Restoration L3C, responsible for monetizing enhanced ecosystem services provided through watershed restoration activities.   Richard has served on the board of directors of Wildlands Network and Defenders of Wildlife. He has been the past Treasurer of the Hummingbird Monitoring Network Board; served on the Board of the University of Maryland’s Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology; a former Board member of the Ploughshares Fund, and a past Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Shipboard Education, which operates the Semester at Sea program in academic partnership with the University of Virginia.

Marlon Reis (CO) In his role as First Gentleman of Colorado, Marlon is a champion for the natural world, promoting awareness of the interconnections between people, animals, and the environment. He is passionate about animal protection and raising public awareness of the ways in which climate change and biodiversity loss are interrelated. In his spare time, Marlon enjoys watching nature documentaries, creative writing, visiting animal sanctuaries, and walking his sweet pup, Gia.

Charles J. Smith (CO) Charles is a serial entrepreneur who has launched five companies and one foundation. He is known for inventing the royalty-free image delivery model at Digital Stock Inc., one of the world’s first internet-enabled transaction models, and later sold directly to Bill Gates. Charles also developed the confidence-based learning model at Amplifire, which accelerates learning, enhances long-term retention, and moves people towards their highest potential. Amplifire is now the leading learning platform based on cognitive psychology with over 4 billion learner interactions, recently sold to Polaris Partners. He currently serves as Chairman at Nature and Culture International, where he is applying time and treasure toward the goal of saving Latin America’s remaining biodiversity hotspots before they disappear. To date, Nature and Culture has conserved twenty-five million acres in five ecosystems (Yellowstone is 2 million) and sequestered over 3 billion tons of carbon. Charles is also a co-founder and board member of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, and previously served on the Director’s Cabinet at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Steve White (CA)  co-manages Angelo Gordon’s Los Angeles office and is a member of the U.S Real Estate Investment Committee. Prior to joining Angelo Gordon in 2004, Steve worked in the real estate investment banking group at Goldman Sachs where he participated in the disposition and recapitalization of office, retail, hotel, and multi-family properties. Previously, Steve was a partner and co-founder of a private real estate investment company in the Los Angeles area. Steve is involved with several environmental and conservation-focused, non-profit organizations and holds an A.B. degree from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


















































































































































































































































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