National Geographic Society Names Mara Dell Chief Human Resources Officer

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Chelsea Kopta
Director, Corporate Communications
ckopta@ngs.org
202-807-3898

WASHINGTON (Aug. 13, 2019)The National Geographic Society today announced the appointment of Mara Dell to the newly created role of chief human resources officer, effective Sept. 9, 2019. Dell will lead all aspects of the global nonprofit’s talent and culture strategy. In addition, she will oversee the day-to-day operational needs of all human resources (HR) functions, including talent acquisition, talent management, diversity and inclusion, succession planning, employee relations, performance management, HR information systems, policy, compliance, and compensation. Dell will join the Society’s senior leadership team. 

“National Geographic Society employees are a critical force for change, helping to achieve our mission to illuminate and protect the wonder of the world. It is why we took great care to find an experienced HR leader with a strong background of building high-talent teams and cultivating a culture of performance—qualities we found in Mara,” said Michael Ulica, executive vice president and chief operating and financial officer at the National Geographic Society. “Mara’s expertise and leadership will play a defining role in advancing the Society’s culture, values, and vision.”

Dell joins the Society with 20 years of experience leading global human resource functions in the nonprofit and private sectors. Most recently, she served as chief people officer at Conservation International, overseeing more than 1,000 employees in 30 countries. Previously, she led the HR team at Women for Women International, a humanitarian organization that provides support to marginalized women in countries affected by conflict and war. Dell also spent six years with the Atlantic Media Company (now Atlantic Media), where she established and led the organization’s HR function, serving as executive director of human resources and administration.

“I am immensely honored to return to the National Geographic family for the same reason I was first inspired to join the team almost 30 years ago: The Society’s strong legacy of science, exploration and storytelling is a testament to its talented, innovative and passionate team.” -Mara dell

Earlier in her career, Dell worked with the Advisory Board Company and Corporate Executive Board where she served in leadership roles in human resources, events, and revenue management. She began her career at National Geographic as a production assistant in the audiovisual department.

“I am immensely honored to return to the National Geographic family for the same reason I was first inspired to join the team almost 30 years ago: The Society’s strong legacy of science, exploration and storytelling is a testament to its talented, innovative and passionate team. I am thrilled to build on the Society’s momentum,” said Dell. “I care deeply about investing in employee growth and developing the organization’s culture in support of its vision and values—ensuring that talent remains at the heart of our efforts.”

Dell is a graduate of Mount Vernon College (now part of George Washington University) where she earned a bachelor’s degree in arts and humanities. 


About the National Geographic Society The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate the wonder of the world, define critical challenges and catalyze action to protect our planet. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature convenings and content. To learn more, visit www.nationalgeographic.org or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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