Placed Leaders

Joel Johnson

Chief Executive Officer

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

We partnered with National Marine Sanctuary Foundation on the search for a Chief Executive Officer. The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official nonprofit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports America’s national marine sanctuaries through its mission to protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve cultural and maritime heritage. 

The search resulted in the recruitment of Joel R. Johnson to the role.

Johnson is an award-winning conservation leader with a 20-year track record of big storytelling and fighting for ideas that equitably protect people and the planet.

Johnson was previously 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.

Prior, he was a Co-Founder of Admirable Devil, an award-winning marketing firm based in Washington, DC with clients including Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, The Orvis Company, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, among others.

Johnson was previously Chief Marketing Officer at the nation’s largest and oldest coldwater conservation organization, Trout Unlimited, and Senior Vice President of Strategy at GMMB, the preeminent 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 lives outside Washington, DC, is a married father, has fly-fished over 50 of America’s rivers, and has been his family’s historian for nearly 20 years.

Johnson is a graduate of Northwestern University and Swarthmore College.

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