David Yarnold

National Audubon Society

Since September, 2010, David has been Audubon's 10th president, charged with executing a full-scale turnaround for a legacy brand. He restored it to a leadership role among environmental non-profits while demonstrating its relevance in a digital world. His vision for building America’s most effective conservation network aligned Audubon’s conservation work along migratory flyways, the “superhighways in the sky” that millions of birds travel across geographic and political boundaries. Audubon protects America’s most important ecosystems focuses on its most pressing environmental issues, from climate change to water scarcity. Using cutting-edge science, Audubon protects these places and promotes bipartisan policy solutions across the Western Hemisphere. With a membership of 1.5 million (and 463 chapters — representing every state) that is 55% Democratic and 45% Republican and Independent, Audubon occupies a unique place on the political landscape.

A Pulitzer Prize winner and advocate on America’s most pressing environmental issues, David is a regular contributor to publications from The New York Times to POLITICO to Forbes as well as to numerous regional publications. He has become a spokesperson for change, experimentation and better business practices in the NGO world, making Audubon the subject of a noted Harvard Business School case study. Audubon’s investment in digital and social communications and marketing set it apart from its peers, including a national social media movement called “Conservation Has No Party.” He has shown that non-profits can become both more relevant and more effective, growing Audubon’s revenue from $73M to $127M, while growing Audubon’s reach to more than five million. Known for his unconventional career arc, David began as an award-winning photojournalist, rising to executive editor during 27 years at The San Jose Mercury News. He moved to the environmental world in 2005 as executive director of the Environmental Defense Fund. He tripled its corporate partnership program, working with Walmart, the Carlyle Group and dozens of high-tech companies. He was EDF’s U.S.-based leader for its China program, which brought carbon trading to the most populous nation on earth. David has a track record as an influential civic leader with a steadfast commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. He’s a marathoner, a father of two and his only remaining vice is golf.


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