SAN FRANCISCO — Porter Novelli has named sustainably expert Sandy Skees global head of its innovation and impact practice, the new incarnation of what was the agency’s traditional technology group.

A Porter Novelli alum, Skees joins most recently from the consulting firm BSI, whose sustainability practice she led. Before that, Skees was a Fenton Communications managing director and ran her own consultancy, Communications4Good. She also spent four years as a Porter Novelli partner, which she left in 2007.

Skees has built a career working with companies on to drive sustainability and social responsibility — all with the goal of promoting positive business and societal and environment outcomes simultaneously. 

“Tech in itself is remarkable and then we talk about customer benefit. Now what we’re layering on is the need for companies to be able to navigate the societal impact of whatever they are making or exploring,” Skees said.

Consulting companies on identifying and furthering those positive societal and environmental outcomes, and making them front and center of communications initiatives, is a key differentiator between the new innovation and impact practice and Porter Novelli’s former tech practice.

The creation of the innovation and impact practice has been in the works for more than a year, during which Porter Novelli has made working with companies around brand purpose a core component of its offerings. San Francisco managing director Karen Ovseyevitz has been serving as interim tech practice head since the January 2018 departure of Rich Cline, founder of tech agency Voce Communications, which Porter Novelli acquired in 2011.

“It’s not just (about) the innovation being created. We are at a place where business’ role in creating societal and environmental good has never been as high and critical.” Skees said. “Any company that is using technology (should be) driving benefit and impact. That’s what we are interested in.”