Brett Jenks has championed behavior change in the conservation community for more than 20 years. As CEO, he leads Rare’s international mission to equip people in the world’s most biologically diverse countries with the tools and motivation needed to sustainably manage their natural resources.
During his tenure with Rare, Jenks has created large-scale, global partnerships with Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Oceana, Environmental Defense Fund, UNESCO, AVEDA, Encourage Capital, National Geographic and the ministries of environment and fisheries of many nations.
Under his leadership, Rare has grown 3,000% since 2000. He is now focused on helping the organization expand climate-smart solutions at the scale of the challenge. These include Fish Forever, the world’s largest philanthropically supported coastal fishery recovery effort; the Meloy Fund, a $25M impact investment fund; Lands for Life, an emerging climate-smart smallholder agriculture program in Colombia; conservation’s first Center for Behavior & the Environment; and Climate Culture, a breakthrough climate strategy designed to get the US back on track to hit its target under the Paris agreement.
Jenks’s professional career began as a 22-year-old political correspondent for the Hudson Reporter, when he published a series of articles detailing horrific conditions in the Hudson County Jail. His coverage was eventually picked up by the New York Times and credited with eventually closing the infamous facility.
After his time in journalism, Jenks worked in film production, creating television commercials for Fortune 100 companies including Dunkin’ Donuts and American Express, and some of the early music videos on MTV. He ultimately quit the film business and traveled to Costa Rica, where he built an award-winning eco-tourism program, training local people as guides.
Jenks is a Catto Fellow, Braddock Scholar and McNulty Prize laureate with the Aspen Institute, a member of the Closed Loop Fund’s investment committee, a trustee to the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Trust, and, in 2017, he received the Rose-Walters Prize for Global Environmental Activism.