Chief Executive Officer and co-founder
With sites that attract more than 10 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.
Director of Environmental Affairs and co-founder
Chuck has been the keyboardist for The Rolling Stones for more than 30 years. Prior to joining The Stones, he was a member of The Allman Brothers Band – receiving a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2012 for his tenure with the band. Chuck was also a founder of the critically acclaimed band Sea Level and has performed and recorded with many of the world’s most prominent musicians, including George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and John Mayer. A solo artist in his own right, his latest CD, "Back To The Woods,” is a tribute to the pioneers of blues piano.
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.
Chief Operating Officer
Emily was hired as Managing Editor in 2008 to launch MNN.com. She was previously an award-winning multimedia producer at USATODAY.com and nationageographic.com, where she helped launch National Geographic for Kids magazine and the accompanying web site in 2000. She started her career at CNN, where she was an Emmy Award-winning producer. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and a Ted Scripps Fellow of Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado. Emily is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Online News Association.
Vice President and Director of Community and Social Networking
Before coming to MNN, Hope Dlugozima was Vice President of Community & Social Networking at WebMD, where she launched the Web’s largest health message board community, blogging initiative, and live chats along with WebMD’s Facebook and Twitter presence. Hope's more than 20 years of editorial experiences includes serving as community leader at iVillage, producer at Time Warner, creative director at Creative Multimedia in Portland, OR and features editor of the Prague Post in the Czech Republic. She was also named one of the top 100 Multimedia Producers in the U.S. by Multimedia Magazine.
Chief Financial Officer
Michael Jacobson has over twenty-five years of experience assisting numerous companies in strategic planning, financial procedures, financial statement preparation, business and marketing plan creation; and operation analysis and implementation. He previously held management positions with the international accounting firm KPMG Peat Marwick. Michael is a member of the Georgia Society of CPA’s and the American Institute of CPA’s. He holds an MBA from Georgia State University and a BSBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Chief Technology Officer
Mr. Tanzella has led strategy, development and marketing of large scale enterprise and commercial software applications across multiple industries. Mr. Tanzella was the Executive Producer and VP of Publishing at Kaneva, a Massively Multiplayer Online Game platform and video distribution company, and has been successful in a wide variety of senior management positions at EAS, Critical Logic, i2Go, Air2Web, BEA Systems and Motorola AirDefense in roles that included CTO, Chief Security Officer, VP of Engineering, and VP of Product Management. Mr. Tanzella holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia Tech. He is the Founder and Chairman of Glick Interactive and Chairman of Colocube.
VP of Product & Engineering
Ben is a 10-year software development veteran and graduate of the University of Georgia with degrees in Computer and Political Science. While at UGA, Ben worked for the Institute for Disaster Management, building out the emergency operations center to support the nation's first state-wide pandemic simulation. He joins MNN from Discovery Communications, where he spent several years leading the tech team behind TreeHugger.com
prior to managing Discovery's mobile engineering efforts.
Director of Media Relations
Dan Beeson was formerly Senior Vice President and Director of Media Relations for the worldwide public relations firm Porter Novelli and served in a similar role with GCI Group. He specializes in creating high impact media communications programs and has counseled blue-chip clients including Dell, Coca-Cola, Sony Ericsson, Holiday Inn, Safeco, Equifax, Hewlett Packard, AT&T, Aflac and IBM.
Vice President and Director of Sponsor Relations
Travis joined MNN after a successful stint as the Director of Marketing for the Shop At Home television network, where he was responsible for all on-air, direct, and online marketing for the network. Prior to Shop At Home, Travis was the Director of Channel Operations at WebMD where he led the development of new publishing tools and oversaw the creation of dozens of sponsor programs for Fortune 1000 Pharmaceutical, Biotech, and CPG companies.
Director of Sponsor Relations
Dan brings to MNN over 15 years’ experience in digital content and marketing communications. Previously, Dan led delivery of consumer sponsorships at WebMD, where his clients included leading marketers in healthcare, retail, consumer packaged goods, and food & beverage. Dan’s outdoor interests include running, cycling, and amateur astronomy.
Before coming to MNN, Sarah Hicks worked in a wide variety of roles at ajc.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, including planning, design and management roles. Most recently, she was part of a team that launched a successful channel aimed at the Atlanta luxury home market. In her 11 years the AJC newsroom, she managed the online entertainment site, accessAtlanta.com, served as the newsroom planning editor and designed the front page of the newspaper.
Senior Account Director
Andrew Golubock brings a broad background in advertising, marketing and production to MNN. Before joining MNN, he worked for a social networking startup where he was responsible for sponsor campaigns and digital marketing initiatives including search, email and display advertising. Prior to that he spent eight years at global advertising agency, Grey Worldwide, on their account planning & management team working on campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the world including Dell, AT&T, MillerCoors, Coca-Cola and Georgia-Pacific. He began his career producing TV commercials at CNN after graduating Cum Laude from the University of Georgia.
Jenna has diverse work history that includes leading multiple projects for firms of all sizes across multiple industries. Some of her previous employers include Discovery Communications, HowStuffWorks.com and Allconnect, Inc. Jenna has a degree in psychology from UCLA. She is most noted for her easy-going attitude and sarcastic sense of humor.
Vikash brings 10 years of experience to MNN in digital advertising, marketing, and sales. He got started in sustainable business through Biodiesel and was part of the original group that started the first independently owned biodiesel production facility in the Bay Area. Soon after he found himself as one of the original team members of treehugger.com and through acquisition by Discovery Channel worked on the launch of Planet Green, a network dedicated to green living. Vikash holds a BA in liberal studies from the University of Long Beach, CA. Originally hailing from the Bay Area, Vikash can be found perusing local farmers markets, riding his bike, hiking, yoga, and attending local events.
SEO and Social Editor
Before joining MNN, Lisa was Sr. Manager of Organic Search at The Home Depot. She’s been an online marketing & communications professional for more than a decade in industries from non-profit to retail to telecommunications. Lisa has a degree in Psychology from West Virginia University. She’s a dog lover, blog writer and certified yoga instructor.
Technical Team Lead
Abhi Goel has held senior professional service positions at Accenture, IBM Global Services, Axelerant, and Core Concept. He has managed large projects for clients that include MCI/Verizon, General Electric Power Systems, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Sikorsky Aircraft, Cousins Properties, BellSouth, and Roche Pharmaceuticals. He serves as Vice President for Professional Services for Glick Interactive.
In addition to being an Earth Matters blogger, Russell creates infographics, special projects, and features for Translating Uncle Sam. Prior to working at MNN, he was the copy editor for Creative Loafing in Atlanta, where he edited the alternative newsweekly and wrote for its news blog. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 2005 with degrees in magazine journalism and environmental anthropology. While at UGA he spent four years working for The Red & Black independent student newspaper as a writer, editor and editorial cartoonist.
Executive Assistant to Joel Babbit and Associate Editor
Ashley Chase manages the MNN office and serves as Joel Babbit's executive assistant. She also contributes to social media and various editorial projects. Before coming to MNN in 2008, Ashley studied at the University of Georgia and earned degrees in both telecommunication arts and Spanish.
Senior Writer / Editor
Before coming to MNN, Melissa Breyer was the senior editor at Care2.com, as well as a contributing writer for TreeHugger.com and Feature Shoot. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic, 2009), Build Your Running Body (The Experiment, 2014), Extreme Weather Survival Guide (National Geographic, 2014) and a contributing photo editor for Black and White Street (Solaris Studio, 2014). Her work has appeared across the web and in regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine.
Writer / Photographer
Jaymi Heimbuch received her degree in English and creative writing from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and married her loves of writing and green technology while working as managing editor of EcoGeek.org. She spent five years as an editor and writer for TreeHugger.com where she covered technology, ocean and water, and wildlife conservation issues, and where she gained experience as a wildlife photographer. Jaymi's writing has appeared on TreeHugger.com, Discovery.com, PlanetGreen.com, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Alternet, Gizmodo and more. She also wrote the text for "The Ethiopian Wolf: Hope at the Edge of Extinction," published by Lobelia Press in 2013.
Benyamin Cohen was the founder and editor of the award-winning national magazine American Jewish Life and the online magazine Jewsweek. He was founder and editor of JW, a national niche news site. He is also the author of "My Jesus Year: A Rabbi's Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith," published by HarperCollins in 2008.
Interactive Visual Designer
Barry Cantrell is a former web developer for Middle Tennessee State University. He also graduated from MTSU with a B.S. in electronic media communications and a minor in art. Prior to graduation, Barry worked as a graphic designer for the Shop At Home Network. He specializes in design, motion graphics and web development.
Nicole previously worked as the Video Editor and Motion Graphics Artist for Cars.com
in Chicago. She was also the Production Manager for a green screen facility for clients including Pepsi, Discovery Channel Kids, Olympic Champion Kristin Armstrong and The XXI Century Kids First Foundation, among many others. She has a Masters degree in Digital Video Production from De Paul University and was an honorary guest lecturer for The Illinois Institute of Art and a teaching artist for Marwen Art Institute. One of her photos, "The Oldest Feet in the World" was published on Nat Geo's "The Daily Dozen" photo site. Nicole also writes and illustrates children's books in her spare time.
Bill joined the MNN video team after previously working on projects ranging from documentaries in Haiti and Peru to shoots for TruTV, Comedy Central, and Vh1 reality TV series. He’s created, produced, edited, and directed award winning comedy short films, sketches, and pilots. Starting at the age of ten, Bill worked with his brother on videos such as “Robbers” (a parody of the show COPS). He was a program manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Atlanta for 5 years, and then took to the highs seas as a project manager for the musical festival cruise company Sixthman. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Bill has degrees in Communication and Psychology. In his extra time, he performs and records sketches with Automatic Improv, a comedy troupe he helped found in 2008.
Writer / Editor
Laura frequently writes about pets and animals and has developed a reputation as an aspiring cat lady. She spends her free time camping and hiking, reading and writing young adult books, and indulging her addiction to Korean dramas. She has worked as an editor for HowStuffWorks.com, VacationPlanning.net and several travel publications. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in journalism and political science and a master’s in mass communication.
Associate Photo Editor
Catie contributes to MNN's Photo Blog
and is a freelance photographer
, moonlighting petsitter and a media studies para-academic who loves cats, science fiction, bicycles, hiking and crafting. She is a graduate of Georgia State University with a B.A. in journalism and a minor in photography.
Noel edits third party and freelance content for MNN. He is an advocate of standing desks, works as a freelance television critic in his spare time, and is a recovering would-have-been academic. He is a graduate of Georgia State University with a B.A. in film & video with a minor in journalism.
Anna Norris contributes to MNN's Photo Blog
and is a graduate of Georgia State University with a B.A. in journalism and a minor in psychology, with a passion for nature photography. She was the Web Managing Editor for Georgia State's independent student newspaper and has interned with Georgia Aquarium as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Media Relations Assistant
A Georgia State University graduate with a degree in journalism, Edwin works behind the scenes in research, social media, and web administration. When he isn't swimming in research, Edwin obsesses over narrative plot holes in TV shows and movies.