“Putting on Blinders: There are always a million reasons not to start a new business and why successful entrepreneurs ignore all of them”
Joel Babbit is the CEO and co-founder of Mother Nature Network (MNN.com)—a leading provider of environmental news and information—ranked by Alexa Information Services as the most visited for-profit environmental website in the world.
Co-founded in 2009 by Babbit and Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for the Rolling Stones, MNN was selected as one of Fortune's "5 Great Green Ideas" and was one of Newsweek's "Top Picks" for 2009. It has been labeled as "The Green CNN" by Time, "The USA Today of Sustainability" by Fast Company, and "Green Machine" by the Associated Press.
Its corporate partners include AT&T, Dell, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, GE, MillerCoors, Procter & Gamble, and Clorox. It also partners with many leading non-profit organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and Ted Turner's Captain Planet Foundation. MNN content is distributed worldwide via arrangements with Gannett, The Weather Channel, Hachette, and Tribune – and attracts visitors from over 200 different countries.
Prior to launching Mother Nature Network, Babbit spent over 20 years in the advertising and public relations industry—creating two of the largest and most awarded advertising agencies in the Southeast—Babbit and Reiman (acquired by London-based GGT) and 360 (acquired by Grey Global Group). He also served as President of GCI, which was one of the world's 10 largest public relations firms with 40 offices in 22 countries.
His clients have included The Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Dell, USA Today, American Express, Holiday Inn, UPS, and Citigroup.
He is especially noted for his marketing work related to corporate transitions which have included the acquisition of RJR Nabisco by KKR, BellSouth by AT&T, Georgia–Pacific by Koch Industries, and numerous acquisitions during the formation of Coca-Cola Enterprises.
With Atlanta's selection as host city for the 1996 Olympics, Babbit took a leave of absence from the private sector to serve as Chief Marketing & Communications Officer for the City—responsible for all corporate and media relations, as well as serving on the mayor's cabinet and executive committee during this historic period.
A native of Atlanta, Joel was chosen Georgia Citizen of the Year in 1997 and was awarded the John Drewry Award for Outstanding Achievement from The University of Georgia where he received his ABJ degree from the Henry Grady School of Journalism.
He has been active in many civic and charitable organizations including Young Presidents Organization, the CDC Foundation, SafeAmerica, The Atlanta History Center, and the Anti-Defamation League and was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist in 1997.