With sites that attract more than eight million visits a month from 200 different countries, MNN is the world’s largest online network for environmental and social responsibility news and information. It was launched in 2009 by Joel and Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, and equity partners include both CNN and Discovery Communications. It has been labeled “The New Green CNN” by Time, “The USA Today of Sustainability” by Fast Company, and “Green Machine” by Associated Press; selected “Best New Idea” at Fortune Magazine’s Green Summit; and chosen as a “Top Pick” by Newsweek.
Prior to launching Mother Nature Network, Joel spent over 25 years in the advertising and public relations industry. He co-founded and served as CEO of Babbit and Reiman Advertising (acquired by Gold Greenlees Trott) and 360 (acquired by WPP’s Grey Global Group). His prior experience also includes serving as President of WPP’s GCI, which was one of the world’s ten largest public relations firms. He began his career at McCann-Erickson, working on the Coca-Cola account. Other clients have included AT&T, Home Depot, RJR Nabisco, Dell, UPS, Holiday Inn, USA Today, and General Motors.
Following Atlanta’s selection as host city for the 1996 Summer Olympics, Joel took a leave of absence from the private sector and was appointed the City’s first Chief Marketing and Communications Officer. He also served as a member of the mayor's Cabinet during this historic period. He has been active in many civic and charitable organizations including Young Presidents Organization, The CDC Foundation, The Anti-Defamation League, The Atlanta History Center, and SafeAmerica and serves as a Director of Primerica (NYSE; PRI) and The National Health Museum.
A native of Atlanta, Joel is a graduate of The University of Georgia.
Thomas D. Bell, Jr.
Chairman of Mesa Capital Partners, a real estate investment company focused on multi-family assets. Bell has held top positions with some of the world's leading companies, including President and Chief Executive Officer of Cousins Properties (NYSE:CUZ); Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Young & Rubicam Inc. (NYSE:YNR); CEO of Burson-Marsteller and Young & Rubicam's Diversified Communications Group; and Vice Chairman of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. He serves on the boards of Emory Healthcare, Regal Entertainment Group, AGL Resources, Inc., and Norfolk Southern Corporation. He was elected Chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2010 and chaired the Committee on the Next Agenda during the Reagan administration.
Gerald R. Benjamin
Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Atlanta Equity Investors, LLC, a middle market private equity firm focused on control and growth capital investments in the Southeast. Prior to co-founding Atlanta Equity, he served as a Managing Director at Navigant Capital Advisors, LLC, the corporate finance practice group of Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI), where he directed the firm’s national Investment Banking Practice, along with leading the firm’s Private Equity Advisory Practice. He currently serves as a Director of Marshall Physician Services, LLC, Consumer Financial Services, LLC, National Dental Services, Inc., Office Images, Inc. along with serving on the Board of Trustees of The Woodward Academy, The University of Kentucky College of Business and Economics, and also serving as Chair of The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.
A.D. "Pete" Correll
Co-Founder and Chairman of Atlanta Equity, a private equity firm focused on control investments in middle market companies throughout the Southeast. He previously served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Georgia-Pacific Corporation from 1993 until his retirement in 2006. He is the Chairman of the Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation’s Board of Directors, as well as an outside Director on the boards of Norfolk Southern Corporation, SunTrust Banks, Inc. and The Georgia Aquarium.
President and CEO of United Distributors, Inc., one of the leading beverage distribution companies in the U.S. and ranked as one of the 25 largest private companies in Atlanta. He also serves on the boards of The Marcus Foundation, Inc., SunTrust Bank of Atlanta, Mayer Electric Company and Tulane University. In 2007, he was named Chairman of the Board of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the largest pediatric healthcare system in the country and is the Founder and Chairman of Camp Twin Lakes, a camping facility designed for chronically ill and disadvantaged children. He is also part owner of the Atlanta Falcons.
In addition to his musical career, Chuck is one of the nation’s most respected voices for land conservation and the environment. He has been a board member of several important and influential organizations including the American Forest Foundation and The U.S. Endowment for Forests and Communities. Well known on Capitol Hill, his testimony to the U.S. Congress played a critical role in forming the past two U.S. farm bills. In 1999, Chuck and his wife Rose Lane were named National Tree Farmers of the Year for the management of Charlane Plantation, their 2,500-acre farm near Macon. In 2012, the U.S. Forest Service appointed him an Honorary Forester, only the second person to ever receive that honor. He is the author of four books – "Forever Green: The History and Hope of the American Forest," "Between Rock and a Home Place," "Growing a Better America," and "The Tree Farmer," which received the American Farm Bureau’s Book of the Year award.
In 2009, Chuck co-founded Mother Nature Network.
Advisor to the Board
James D. Robinson III
Mr. Robinson served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express Company from 1977 to 1993. Mr. Robinson held several executive positions within the Company. Prior to American Express he was a general partner with White Weld & Co., and Assistant to the Chairman and President of Morgan Guaranty Trust Company.
He was a director and Chairman of the Executive Committee of First Data Corporation until FDC was taken private by KKR in 2007. Mr. Robinson was Non Executive Chairman of Bristol-Myers Squibb from 2005 to 2008 and is a former director. A former director of Novell, Mr. Robinson is now an Advisor; he is also an Advisor to Mother Nature Network.
Mr. Robinson is Presiding Director of the Coca-Cola Company. He serves on the boards of PrimeRevenue and On Deck Capital.
Mr. Robinson is an Honorary Trustee of the Brookings Institution, a member Council on Foreign Relations and Honorary Chairman of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Partnership of New York City and the World Travel and Tourism Council. He is a former member of the Business Council. Mr. Robinson served as Co-Chairman of the Business Roundtable and as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations.
Mr. Robinson has an M.B.A. from Harvard University (1961) and a B.S. from Georgia Tech (1957). He was an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1957-1960.