Anne Desmarais

Anne is the Director of the Partnership and Community Collaboration Academy.

As the Academy’s director, she works with federal agency partners and alumni to provide training, facilitation, and strategic planning services that support our community of practice. Anne is the administrative and financial point of contact for all contracts and agreements.

Anne supports all aspects of the Academy’s training programs, and serves as a lead instructor, facilitator, and curriculum manager. She also shares the Academy's partnership practices as a guest speaker and facilitator at national conferences and agency workshops.

With more than two decades of experience working in collaborative conservation and program development, Anne has additional expertise in strategic planning, grant writing, and GIS/spatial decision support.

Anne’s conservation passion was ignited by a middle school project on lemurs, which later led to a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship year abroad in Madagascar and India, exploring how culture intersects with conservation. She pursued her love of nature through a BA in Biology at Pomona College, and on to a Master’s degree in Resource Ecology at Duke University’s School of the Environment.

An opportunity to present her graduate project on conservation reserve design led to an invitation to join The Conservation Fund in Washington DC, where she first met Liz Madison and Jane Hanson. After several years working in the Fund’s Sustainable Programs and as Director of Training for the Conservation Leadership Network, Anne returned to her West Coast roots and opened a consulting practice. Collectively, these experiences piqued her interest in facilitation, collaboration, leadership development and training.

Her first consulting job was coordinating the $100M Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship program – coming full circle after receiving a Duke Fellowship herself in graduate school. From there, Anne worked as Director of Program Development with the University of Redlands, Redlands Institute. She collaborated with faculty and students on curriculum and workshops applying spatial thinking and GIS-based decision analysis to business, science, and the humanities. In this role, she worked on multi-year, multi-partner grants ranging from $30,000 to $5 million with federal and state agencies and foundations. After reaching out to Liz Madison for advice on development strategy, Anne was invited to join the Academy in 2012.

Alongside her Academy work, Anne serves on the Board of Montessori in Redlands, where she is in her 3rd year as Board President. MIR is an independent school serving 350 children from toddler through elementary school, with an international reputation as a leader in Montessori education. This has provided an opportunity to practice collaborative governance, through her work chairing the board and committees related to WASC accreditation, advancement, and executive leadership.

From an early age, Anne has enjoyed dance as a form for creative self-expression and nonverbal storytelling. She has studied and taught various traditions including ballet and modern. Her current movement passions include teaching Pilates and learning social dances of the 18th and 19th century.

Anne lives in Southern California with her spouse Denis, two children, a cat, and some seriously territorial hummingbirds. When not enjoying the bird show, she reads books, takes long walks, and engages in baking therapy.

Anne is also featured in the following instructional videos:

Foundations: Facts, Myths and Roles, 9 mins

Foundations: Research, Relationships and Results, 8 min

A Facilitator's Best Practices, 18 mins

Anne Desmarais 

Partnership and Community Collaboration Academy


909.649.2897 (CA)

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