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StoryCorps Appoints Mary Beth Smith as CMO and Promotes Lisa Kennedy to CDO

PRESS RELEASE · Brooklyn NY, United States ·

StoryCorps, an award-winning nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing humanity’s stories, announces the appointment of Mary Beth Smith as the organization’s chief marketing officer (CMO) and the promotion of Lisa Kennedy (formerly managing director, development and principal gifts) to chief development officer (CDO). Despite the pandemic, StoryCorps has continued to evolve into an increasingly multifaceted organization and strong leadership in the areas of marketing and communications, as well as development, is critical to sustaining StoryCorps’ growth. Since its inception in 2003, over half a million people have participated in StoryCorps interviews and its ever-growing archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress represents the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered.

StoryCorps Founder & President Dave Isay says, “Lisa is an accomplished professional and she has distinguished herself at StoryCorps with her skilled stewardship of our development efforts. Mary Beth’s proven track record in building audiences, heightening brand awareness, and driving revenue makes her a great addition to our team. I have no doubt that Lisa and Mary Beth’s collective leadership and extensive experience will help propel StoryCorps forward as we expand our important work in the years ahead."

As chief marketing officer, Smith will lead StoryCorps’ marketing and branding strategy, overseeing the organization’s audience expansion, content distribution, revenue growth, and customer service initiatives, with an emphasis on growing national awareness of StoryCorps’ work and content. She will work to further position StoryCorps as an enduring national institution, fostering a culture of listening across the nation and emphasizing that every life and every story matter equally. Leading the marketing and communications department’s team of eight, Smith will be responsible for: StoryCorps’ overall messaging across all of its external communications; driving participation in StoryCorps programs; supporting institutional efforts to grow earned and contributed revenue; growing engagement and reach on StoryCorps’ digital platforms; and envisioning, and brokering, high-visibility content partnerships for Storycorps.

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Prior to joining StoryCorps, Smith served as chief marketing and audience engagement officer at Oakland Museum of California and as director of marketing, communications, and audience engagement at San Francisco Ballet. Mary Beth has also held executive-level marketing positions at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Smith holds an M.B.A. from University of San Francisco and a B.A. from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

As chief development officer, Kennedy will provide strategy and oversight for all fundraising efforts, leading a team of experienced fundraisers. Under Kennedy’s guidance, the development department, with a staff of nine, will raise funds across public and private sectors and generate support from national foundations, government sources, and individual contributors toward StoryCorps’ $13 million operating budget. With 20 years’ experience in development and law, Kennedy began her career at a litigation firm in Minneapolis before transitioning to fundraising in New York City. Prior to joining StoryCorps in 2018, Kennedy’s fundraising experience included work at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where she contributed toward a successful $1 billion campaign. Kennedy is a graduate of St. Thomas University, where she also earned her law degree.

In recent years, StoryCorps has amplified the brand, and the stories it collects, through a combination of distribution partnerships and key engagement moments. For example, StoryCorps’ award-winning September 11th Initiative—which honored the 20th anniversary of the tragedy this fall—garnered national press coverage on the PBS Newshour Weekend and CBS News, while reaching millions of viewers through strategic partnerships with NPR, Roku, and Apple Podcast, among others. In recent years, StoryCorps has cultivated a diverse range of key partners that have included Google, POV, National Geographic, the Chicago Public School District, the Museum of the City of New York, Apple News, and the Ad Council. In 2020, StoryCorps was honored to be an early recipient of a $7 million grant from MacKenzie Scott.

About StoryCorps

Founded in 2003, StoryCorps has given more than half a million people, in all 50 states, the chance to record interviews about their lives. The award-winning organization preserves the recordings in its archive at the Library of Congress, the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered, and shares select stories with the public through StoryCorps’ podcast, NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms, and best-selling books. These powerful human stories reflect the vast range of American experiences, engender empathy and connection, and remind us how much more we have in common than what divides us. StoryCorps is especially committed to capturing and amplifying voices least heard in the media. The StoryCorps MobileBooth, an Airstream trailer that has been transformed into a traveling recording booth, crisscrosses the country year-round gathering the stories of people nationwide. Learn more at storycorps.org.

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