Conservancy names Whitney Latorre as new CEO

Photo by Celeste Sloman Whitney Latorre, the new president and CEO of the Catalina Island Conservancy, comes from National Geographic.

New President and CEO Latorre brings unique experience as media executive; from nonprofit organizations and higher education

The Board of Directors of the Catalina Island Conservancy announced Thursday, May 18, the appointment of Whitney Latorre as president and chief executive officer.

The appointment culminates an extensive search for a new leader of the nonprofit organization, which is dedicated to the responsible stewardship of Santa Catalina Island through conservation, education, and recreation.

With a passion for telling stories that matter, Latorre brings unique experience as an internationally recognized storyteller and educator, and as a dynamic innovator and leader to Catalina Island Conservancy.

She joins the organization from National Geographic, part of The Walt Disney Company, where she led the charge to illuminate the wonder of the world as vice president and executive director of Visuals.

Latorre directed the organization’s award-winning visual content, twice recognized as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; collaborated on initiatives to increase the organization’s digital audience and engagement; spearheaded innovative projects in new media; and championed collaborations with For Freedoms, NASA, Rolex, and other stakeholders.

“We are confident that Whitney Latorre’s arrival will invigorate our team, inspire innovative strategies, and help us achieve even greater success and recognition in our vital work,” said Will Hagenah, chair of the Board of Directors and acting president and CEO.

“Please join us in welcoming Whitney to the Catalina Island Conservancy team. Together, we look forward to continuing to foster a beautifully functioning Island ecosystem for all to enjoy,” said Hagenah.

Latorre’s appointment marks an exciting new chapter for the organization as it embarks on several major initiatives to conserve the Island’s biodiversity and unique ecosystem, promote sustainable tourism, and expand its reach.

Her experience in media and communications will be instrumental in achieving the organization’s strategic goals and engaging with the broader community.

“With its unique ecosystem, bold conservation mission, and strong board, Catalina Island Conservancy is well positioned to further its mission for the next 50 years and to make this living laboratory a replicable model for other island ecosystems around the world,” said Latorre.

“I am honored to take on this leadership role at the Conservancy and look forward to collaborating with the board to extend our impact as a global model for environmental conservation,” she said.

Earlier in her career, Latorre was the director of photography at The New Yorker, where she led initiatives with various stakeholders, including documenting more than 100 heads of state at the United Nations and earning a Peabody in collaboration with Human Rights Watch.

She also played a pivotal role in advancing the public profile of The New Yorker across digital and social platforms.

She began her career working in advocacy and communications at the Open Society Foundations.

She has industry leadership experience as an adjunct professor at Columbia Journalism School and New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute; as inaugural Chair, Environment of the World Press Photo Contest in 2018 and as Global Chair of the World Press Photo Contest in 2019; and through her continued service on the advisory board of The Alexia at Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College at Columbia University.

Latorre will begin her role with Catalina Island Conservancy in July, and is relocating with her family to the Los Angeles area from Washington, D.C.

About the Conservancy

Formed in 1972, the nonprofit Catalina Island Conservancy is one of California’s oldest land trusts.

Its mission is to be an exemplary steward of Island resources through a balance of conservation, education and recreation.

Through its ongoing efforts, the Conservancy protects the magnificent natural and cultural heritage of Santa Catalina Island, stewarding approximately 42,000 acres of land and more than 60 miles of rugged shoreline.

The Conservancy conducts educational outreach through various programs for children and adults, its Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden and guided experiences in the Island’s rugged interior.

It also contains numerous rare and endangered animals and plants. The Island is home to more than 60 species that are found only on Catalina. For additional information, please visit