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Home » Joel Johnson, co-founder of a D.C. marketing firm, named president and CEO of National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

Capitol Communicator reports that The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Silver Spring, MD,  announced that Joel R. Johnson has been named president and CEO.  

Joel Johnson, co-founder of a D.C. marketing firm, named president and CEO of National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

by | Jul 2, 2023

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Silver Spring, MD, named Joel Johnson president and CEO.  

Johnson, states a release, has a 20-year track record of big storytelling and fighting for ideas that equitably protect people and the planet at the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, Trout Unlimited, and at the marketing firm he co-founded.  He will join the Foundation to head its mission as the leading voice for U.S.-protected waters, working with communities to conserve and expand those special places for a healthy ocean, coasts and Great Lakes.  

“As a storyteller, I believe in the power of stories to unite people in common cause to address crises such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and systemic inequity. America’s national marine sanctuaries are beacons of hope for our planet, each one a unique treasure in our waters. Our maritime history, fisheries, biodiversity and the blue economy offer compelling stories for sanctuaries to tell in boardrooms, classrooms, in city halls, and the halls of Congress. I look forward to learning from those who know sanctuaries best, and telling their stories,” said Johnson.   

Johnson is an award-winning, executive conservation leader who was most recently Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation working on the global biodiversity extinction crisis and promoting the hopeful solution of Half-Earth. He was previously co-founder of Admirable Devil, an award-winning marketing firm based in D.C, with clients including Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, The Orvis Company, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company among others. 

He also was Chief Marketing Officer at the nation’s largest and oldest coldwater conservation organization, Trout Unlimited, from 2014 – 2016 and Senior Vice President of Strategy at GMMB, an advocacy and public affairs firm.  He has led brand strategy at advertising agencies in Chicago, New York and London, including Spike Lee’s ad agency, Spike DDB, where he created iconic campaigns for the NBA, Pepsi and MLB. 

He is a graduate of Northwestern University and Swarthmore College. 

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