Environmental nonprofit names Benenson CCO

The Natural Resources Defense Council has named US Fund for UNICEF SVP of marketing and communications Lisa Benenson as its CCO.

NEW YORK: The Natural Resources Defense Council has named US Fund for UNICEF SVP of marketing and communications Lisa Benenson as its CCO.

She has replaced former communications director Phil Gutis, who left the nonprofit in January to start his own communications consultancy.

Benenson, who started in the role on Tuesday, is reporting to NRDC president Frances Beinecke and executive director Peter Lehner.

Based in New York, Benenson is responsible for the group's brand and marketing, digital presences, and communications strategies and initiatives globally, leading a team of 40 across its US offices.

“The CCO is a new title here and points to the importance the NRDC sees in reaching the broadest possible public at this moment in time to galvanize them around health and environmental issues,” said Benenson. 

Benenson joined the environmental nonprofit from the US Fund for UNICEF, where she has worked as SVP marketing and communications for the past year. She began working at UNICEF in April 2012 as VP of marketing and communications.

Previously, Benenson served as consulting editor for Newsweek and The Daily Beast and was was editor-in-chief at Hallmark Magazine from 2005 to 2009. Before that, she worked as editorial director and VP at Rebus for two years. Benenson also held editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Working Woman Network, Good HousekeepingNewsday, and The Denver Post.

She added that in the early stages of her job, she will focus on listening, getting to know the large organization and its members, and learning about their issues.

“We have come out of an era where the environmental challenges, like rivers on fire, are perhaps not as visual, but our challenges are equally as serious,” Benenson said. “At this point in time, there have been other challenges top of mind, like economic challenges, but we believe these things are related.”

She added that as the world's environmental challenges expand, the organization's communications must become “more thoughtful and strategic.”

This story was updated on October 15 with comment from Benenson.

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