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Susan Poulton

Vice President, Strategy and Communications

Susan Poulton is the Vice President of Strategy and Communications at Ocean Discovery League. She has over twenty-five years of digital media, communications, and strategy experience, working with both the for-profit and non-profit organizations to help transform their media and outreach strategies. From ocean to space exploration, her passion is inspiring and awakening curiosity in any audience and moving them to action through creative experiences and storytelling.

Most recently, Susan was the Chief Digital Officer of The Franklin Institute science museum in Philadelphia, where she conceived and developed a comprehensive digital strategy for the 8th largest science museum in the country. This strategy included website, social media, mobile app, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence applications and focused on the creation of science content for a global audience to support the educational mission of the museum and transform them into a digital leader among visitors, the community, and cultural institutions.

Prior to this, she managed digital and social media strategy and external media relations for Dr. Robert Ballard’s Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) and the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, implementing tactics for ocean science communication and storytelling resulting in thousands of viral media stories on ocean exploration and tens of millions of media hits.

Susan was Vice President of Digital Media for the National Geographic Society for seven years. In that role she oversaw the development of many of National Geographic’s first online content verticals, resulting in dramatic growth for the Society’s digital presence and monetization capabilities. She then focused on outreach and content strategies for the Society’s non-profit and exploration initiatives including James Cameron’s DeepSea Challenge, The Genographic Project, Big Cats, Freshwater, Oceans, and Explorers portal. Her work on the Genographic and Expedition: Genghis Khan projects developed success tactics for citizen science engagement and resulted in two Webby nominations. While at National Geographic, she spearheaded a personal project to document all remaining space shuttle launches from 2006-2011 and the decommissioning of the space shuttle program.

Susan also manages her own digital consulting firm, Door 44 Digital. In that role she develops digital strategies for multiple organizations in both the for profit and non-profit space and also conducts independent research on solutions to our current misinformation crisis and disaster communication tactics.

An avid traveler and photographer, Susan spends her spare time volunteering to provide media and digital training to nonprofit organizations around the world, including as an instructor for National Geographic Photo Camp. She is a certified Advanced Emergency Medical Technical (AEMT) and a member of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team providing volunteer support locally as well as in refugee camps overseas. She is currently working on a project to document her attempt to summit the highest points in all 50 states in the United States.

Susan Poulton
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