Paul Holmes 28 Apr 2022 // 3:43PM GMT
Few US corporations seem quite so comfortable living the philosophy of “conscious capitalsm” as outdoor clothing company Patagonia, which was woke long before it became fashionable and which has become one of America’s most reputable companies as a result. Living such values obviously takes a company-wide commitment, but it also requires exceptional communications leadership of the type provided at Patagonia for the past six years by Corley Kenna
It is that leadership that earns her one of our SABRE Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement, to be presented at our SABRE Awards dinner at New York’s Cipriani 42nd Street next week.
Corley Kenna began her career in government and politics. She got her start with Congressman John Lewis (GA) and Senator Zell Miller (GA) and later worked for Senator Tom Carper (DE). She also spent election cycles with the New Hampshire Democratic Party, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Hillary for New York and Hillary for President before rounding out her time in government in the Obama administration, serving as a senior advisor in the US State Department in the office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
From there, she made the shift to the agency business, serving as managing director and chief of staff to the CEO of Burson-Marsteller, building and maintaining global client and media relationships at one of the world’s leading communication agencies. From there, she moved in -house, serving as vice president for public affairs and corporate communications at Ralph Lauren, where she led media response and strategy for corporate affairs and crisis situations, before making the move to Patagonia in September of 2016.
In her role at Patagonia, she leads the communication and policy team and is responsible for the development and execution of Patagonia’s global communication strategy and the advancement of key policy issues related to the company’s business and advocacy priorities. She leads strategy for the company’s environmental activism campaigns, advancing responsible business practices, and strengthening democracy/civil engagement.
In that role, she led the communications strategy to protect Bears Ears National Monument, including communications around the lawsuit filed by Patagonia against the Trump Administration. The company’s efforts culminated in President Biden restoring the monument last year.
She also oversees the strategy for Patagonia’s election efforts and is a leader in the Time to Vote movement, a nonpartisan, business-led initiative that she co-founded, aimed at increasing voter participation in US elections. The movement was started in 2018 and now has nearly 2,000 CEOs committed to ensuring their employees have the time they need to learn and cast their ballot.
Such efforts contributed to Patagonia’s number one ranking in the most recent 2021 Axios-Harris poll on corporate reputation. Similarly, just a month ago the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism report ranked Patagonia number one among brands that most effectively communicate their corporate purpose.
Corley is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Arthur W Page Society. She serves on the advisory board of the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire and is a board member of Regenerative Organic Alliance, The Outdoor Policy Outfit and Civil Rights Tours Atlanta.