Telluride First Foundation Announces New Executive Director
Nana Naisbitt Brings Years of Non-Profit and Science Education Expertise to Organization
TELLURIDE, Colorado (December 22, 2016) Telluride First Foundation (TFF), a non-profit dedicated to developing Telluride as a hub for science-based public programs and conferences, is delighted to announce Nana Naisbitt as its new executive director. “I have admired Nana’s work in Telluride for more than a decade. Her skills and experience are a perfect match for TFF. We could not be more thrilled,” said Chuck Horning, TFF President and Chair. “She has the vision, tenacity, and skill to grow Telluride First’s programming that will benefit the regional community both economically and educationally.”
Naisbitt has been an active champion of science in Telluride and elsewhere since 1998 – writing, hosting public events, educating youth, and serving previously as executive director for two Telluride science non-profits, Pinhead Institute and the Telluride Science Research Center.
“I fully support Chuck’s vision for TFF. We want the public to think of science when they think of Telluride – along with its beauty, great skiing, and fabulous festivals,” said Naisbitt. “I am excited to plan the third annual Telluride Integrative Wellness Summit to be held in September and am grateful to those who built the solid foundation for that event.”
The aim of TFF is to provide education, promote wellness, and advance scientific understanding in the greater Telluride Region throughout the year. Naisbitt has tremendous experience in this realm. Since 2000, Naisbitt has created, moderated, and organized more than 150 public science forums in San Francisco, Beijing, and Telluride, in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Peking University, among others.
Naisbitt is also a professional writer who has contributed pieces on science and technology to TIME Magazine, Fast Company, Wired Magazine, American Scholar, and more, as well as co-authored High Tech, High Touch with her father John Naisbitt, a book published in 12 languages. She has also been on the speaking circuit herself, appearing on the Lehrer News Hour, the BBC World Service, and NPR, and has spoken at venues throughout the world including the 92nd Street Y, the National University in Taiwan, The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Peking University, the Smithsonian Institution, and the California Academy of Sciences.
Locally, in 2001, Naisbitt founded Pinhead Institute, a science education non-profit serving the greater Telluride region, and created its seminal programs, including the Pinhead Internship Program, Scholars in the Schools, and Punk Science. She was instrumental in catalyzing and organizing the “Encyclopedia of Life Symposium” held in Telluride in February 2004, then editing the white paper that formed the basis of a $25 million dollar MacArthur Foundation grant to launch the “Encyclopedia of Life Project.” The grant was awarded to the Smithsonian, Harvard University, and the Chicago Field Museum in 2007.
Beginning in 2003, Naisbitt served as the lead facilitator for TSRC, first under the auspices of her directorship of Pinhead Institute. Then starting in 2007, she served as the first executive director of TSRC, a post she held through March 2015. Under her leadership, TSRC experienced tremendous growth. International meetings, graduate-level summer schools, conferences, and winter workshops were established at TSRC during her tenure. Most significantly, Naisbitt successfully negotiated an agreement with the Town of Telluride to lease a prime downtown parcel of land to TSRC for a permanent facility at $10 per year for 99 years.
Naisbitt graduated from the University of Chicago with Honors in 1984 earning a B.A. in Japanese history. She began traveling independently at 16-years-old and has since explored more than 50 countries. “I want to bring that sense of adventure to my new position,” she said. “This will be incredibly fun.”
“Nana’s back,” added Horning. “She is one of the backbones of this community.”