Name: Natalie Zensius (rhymes with benches)
Born: Liverpool, England 
Residence: San Francisco Bay Area, California
Occupation: Marketing communications consultant

Past Chairs and Boards: Friends of the River, Chair, Communications Committee.

A Quick Summary of Natalie's Professional Background: Movie industry artist/producer, then freelance artist/producer, then marketing/multi-media producer at B2C brand strategy agency, then project manager at custom publishing/marketing agency, then nonprofit/for profit marketing communications strategy/writing.

What Natalie Does: Natalie helps for profit and nonprofit organizations with brand strategy development and marketing communications execution. Her skills include: integrating the latest trends in social media for any size organization and budget, organizational and program strategy planning, client, funder and partner relationship management, vendor and project management, engaging writing/editing that is message appropriate/audience aligned, public speaking, business/budget development, event planning. Natalie also helps organizations manage their reputations online and offline, and establish leadership in their markets.

Professional Summary: Natalie is a marketing communications strategist with 15+ years experience in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors.

Classically trained as an illustrator, she launched her career from art school as a special-effects artist and later producer in the motion picture industry. Natalie worked for almost eight years on numerous feature films, television programs, and commercials for companies such as Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, ABC and Miramax. She then transitioned from film and television to the corporate workplace and spent over five years as corporate marketing manager driving key marketing and strategic internal branding initiatives for the brand strategy firm AddisCreson.

Natalie next gained valuable experience in publishing as senior project manager at the San Francisco Bay Area's leading custom publisher, Diablo Custom Publishing. While there she managed complete print and online custom publishing services for a diverse group of organizations; creating brand and marketing communications aimed at product positioning and execution of customer acquisition and retention strategies.

Natalie worked in the healthcare sector as director of marketing and communications for The Center for Health Design, a non-profit that improves the quality of healthcare globally through research informed building design. As a result of her leadership, The Center’s marketing efforts helped move the organization to international prominence in healthcare design.

Before becoming a full time consultant, Natalie worked at ISIS,Inc., (now YTH), a non-profit that uses social media and mobile technology to support and empower youth in their health decisions. As a member of the executive team, she helped drive day to day operations, served as one of the strategic advisors to the Executive Director and provided leadership to all areas of the organization’s marketing and communications efforts.

Natalie served on the board of directors of Friends of the River, a California-based non-profit that protects and restores California rivers by influencing public policy and inspiring citizen action; she chairs the communications committee. Currently, she's a search and rescue volunteer, and travels throughout California, searching for lost persons.

Education: Natalie holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and a graphic design certification from the Center for Electronic Arts in San Francisco.

What people say about Natalie on LinkedIn:
“From the first moment I met her, I've found Natalie to be an extremely quick and thorough study, very sensitive to the dynamics in groups, and incredibly creative and strategic in her thinking. She's a hard worker, has a can-do attitude and is very insightful. Her marketing skills are topnotch. All in all, Natalie is a pleasure to collaborate with -- fun, smart, perceptive and effective.”
“Natalie quickly established herself as a excellent strategist with brilliant communication and collaboration skills and, most important to me, she did what she promised on time and with true professionalism. I depend on her for expert advice on strategic planning, press relations and the internal function of our non-profit organization.”
"Recipients of Natalie’s work are uniformly impressed; they enjoy working with her and consistently rely on her for innovative solutions to complex problems." 
“Natalie constantly challenges you to go beyond your typical thought process and really engages you to help in big picture strategy. Even on a shoestring budget she found ways to bring new and creative marketing techniques to our small organization. ” 
“I find Natalie to be extremely thoughtful in balancing the needs of business and strategy with creativity and design. She has also been tremendously helpful as an unbiased set of eyes when reviewing complex research-related materials and developing a message appropriate for the layperson. ”
“Natalie is always able to connect every project or program to the “big picture”. She identifies creative solutions to complex challenges through collaboration with staff, strategic outreach to the media, and thoughtful communication with partners. ”
“Natalie brings to the table a shrewd marketing insight and on every occasion has challenged standard operating procedure with innovative ideas and forward thinking approaches. That she is a gifted marketing writer and editor goes without saying and she continually produced new, fresh copy and collateral pieces that were message appropriate and audience aligned. Another core-strength is her ability to broker and establish org- to-org relationships that build connections between professionals and advance mutual goals. Finally, Natalie does this with an intelligent and upbeat wit that somehow makes it all fun.”
Natalie is extremely competent, highly web literate, and very organized. I would recommend her highly to anyone looking for a "get the job done right once" professional. As a tech person frequently frustrated by end users' incapacity to adapt, I was very impressed with Natalie's web skill set and willingness to collaborate.

“I was fortunate to work with Natalie as part of a team to launch the peer-reviewed Health Environments Research & Design Journal. Shortly thereafter, we collaborated on the publication A Visual Reference for Evidence-Based Design by Jain Malkin. In these and all instances in which we've been associated, Natalie demonstrated intelligence, professionalism, and humor--all in the service of the work at hand. She is a skilled and accomplished marketing professional whom I recommend highly.”

Other Interests: Design, building things, reading, studying, backpacking, hiking, marathon running, cycling, adventure travel, writing, painting, cooking, film and documentary.

Random stuff: I have always been fascinated by the power of authentic communication in all of its forms, both at the individual level and on a larger scale and am passionate about brand strategy.

I lived in England until the age of 18. Today I live more than 7,000 miles from where I grew up. I’ve moved several times and started over more than once, something that taught me resilience and tenacity; it’s a trait I find very useful in the business world. I grew up in a working class culture that values hard work, integrity and down to earth honesty. With me, what you see is what you get.

After art school, I worked in the film industry and then moved into the corporate world, all the while serving as a conduit for the information people needed to make choices and get the job done. Following that, I transitioned into the non-profit world. I draw from my time in these different industries with every thing I do and consider my creativity, coupled with my strong business acumen, to be my greatest assets.

I’ve held increasingly senior roles over the last ten years and I’ve seen the challenges marketing communications professionals face change dramatically in that time. As someone who loves communications, I'm fascinated and invigorated by the new demands placed on us in today's marketplace, but I also know that the basic principles of communication remain the same. New tools are just that–tools. I know how to integrate new and emerging media seamlessly with more traditional marketing methods.

In the past I volunteered my marketing, communication and strategic planning skills as a board member for Friends of the River, a California-statewide river conservation organization because I care passionately about non-profits. I'm also committed to protecting the beautiful, wild places in California where our water comes from. Plus, rivers in California desperately need friends. Now I am a search and rescue volunteer and spend the majority of my free time, outdoors, in the wilderness.