Samantha Fennell joins Purpose as Partner & Managing Director in North America
août 28, 2023
We are delighted to announce that Samantha Fennell is joining the Purpose team as Partner & Managing Director in North America, based in New York City.
Samantha will spearhead our impact in the region, forging new partnerships, and leading Purpose’s strategic growth. As an integral member of our global senior leadership team, Samantha’s arrival marks an invigorating new chapter in our mission to advance the fight for a more open, just, and habitable world
Samantha brings over 15 years of multi-sector leadership, including roles at esteemed global agencies and media organizations such as Condé Nast, Hearst, Time Inc., and Huffington Post. She has navigated Fortune 500 partnerships, fostering growth and orchestrating multidisciplinary teams.
Before joining Purpose, Samantha founded Athari Collective—an equity-driven social impact consultancy—advocating inclusive marketing, community outreach, and strategic partnerships with Uber, Airbnb, The Bruce Museum, and more. Her commitment to fostering tangible, positive change in diverse communities shines through.
“I am so excited to welcome Samantha to Purpose. Samantha brings an entrepreneurial and founder spirit, commitment to social impact, and energy that will have a huge impact here and for our clients and partners. Her unique blend of experience, passion, and dedication to fostering positive change perfectly aligns with Purpose’s ethos.”
– Simon Goff, CEO of Purpose
Getting Acquainted with Samantha Fennell: A Conversation with Purpose’s New Managing Director in North America
In an exclusive conversation with Samantha Fennell, we had the privilege of discussing her career and vision, which are intrinsically intertwined with her role at Purpose in North America. Read on for more details!
Q1: Can you share with us some of the most impactful experiences from your career that have fueled your passion for driving creative positive change and social impact?
Samantha: While most of my career has been in marketing communications, over the last two decades, I have actively engaged in political campaigns and social movements whose agendas center around equity.
As a Black woman recognized for being “the first” many times in her career, I gravitate towards equity-centered entities that raise and center those at the margins. Examples include my volunteer consulting work on the Obama ‘08 campaign, fundraising for New York State Senate candidates leading on criminal justice reform, and, as a mom of a 7-year-old, my commitment to education reform.
Over the last few years, I’m proud to say I’ve been able to integrate my passion for advocacy into my profession. Marshaling the skills of my corporate career towards social impact.
I collaborated with Uber, resulting in one of their top programs to support Black businesses in 2022, by building a strategic partnership with a community-based nonprofit.
I facilitated a product collaboration between a leading Benefit Corporation and a major global fashion brand, supporting the economic empowerment of artisans and their communities while honoring their craft traditions in three developing countries.
I tripled the annual funding of a Black-founded nonprofit organization in less than six months by creating the largest corporate partnership in its history, providing the resources it needed to expand its impact.
These experiences showcase my track record of driving positive change and social impact through strategic partnerships, inclusive marketing strategies, community engagement, and revenue growth initiatives.
Q2. As you step into your role at Purpose, how do you envision fostering meaningful partnerships in North America to amplify our collective efforts toward social good and create lasting, positive change?
Samantha: There is an old adage in sales and business development: The key to success is reaching the right person at the right time with the right message. It’s a quip that is easy to say, but we have work to do when you unpack each component.
We need to 10X our market presence, bring clarity and precision to our capabilities internally and externally, position ourselves as trusted advisors around key issue trends on an upward funding trajectory, leverage the invaluable body of research and insights we have garnered, and embed our unique selling proposition in decision-makers minds.
We must articulate our values, mission, and the positive impact we aim to create with our partners. Demonstrating our expertise and the value we deliver will help establish trust and create a strong foundation for collaboration.
My vision: Purpose becomes the default agency that anyone who wants to create lasting and meaningful change thinks of when considering partners in the (increasingly crowded) social impact space. Let’s claim our name!
Q3. What inspired you to join Purpose, and how do you see your leadership contributing to advancing our mission of driving social impact and igniting positive change alongside our valued partners across North America?
Samantha: I was inspired to join Purpose for four key reasons: its credibility, its history of commitment to facilitating initiatives with demonstrable impact, its transnationality, and what I like to call mission/market fit. In combination, this set of unique traits is powerful, unique, and highly relevant for the times we live in.
My leadership style is centered around the importance of building strong and meaningful partnerships through establishing trust and leveraging the collective strengths of the team and our capabilities. I have consistently fostered partnerships throughout my career to deliver tangible results and drive growth.
I understand the dynamics of working with diverse stakeholders, from Fortune 500 companies to nonprofit organizations. By aligning their goals with our capabilities and expertise, we can create synergies that lead to impactful outcomes.
Lastly, while we are a global organization, our future success requires a deep understanding of the North American landscape and how opportunities stemming from this region can benefit the entire organization. Over the last two decades, I have developed a strong network and a solid understanding of the ever-changing business environment in this region – working with clients from a wide range of sectors. Over the course of my career, I have spent half of it creating global initiatives rooted in North America. This knowledge will enable me to identify opportunities and navigate challenges effectively, advancing our mission across this region and beyond.
for Equity & Evidence