ChangeMakers: David French, Memphis Brand Initiative

David French is the President and Chief Marketing Officer of the newly formed nonprofit The Memphis Brand Initiative. The organization has been launched to lead Memphis brand stakeholders in well-coordinated, best-in-class brand, marketing and communications practices, which spark civic pride and attract talent, tourists and business investment to Memphis.

Prior to this role, Mr. French was Senior Vice President, Marketing, Communications and Corporate Partnerships at the National Park Foundation where he was responsible for overseeing the strategic brand development and key fundraising businesses. This included the Foundation's corporate partnerships and direct marketing programs, which generated millions of dollars in support, as well as leading the Foundation’s overall marketing and communications strategic planning and operations. In 2015, Mr. French also served as the Foundation’s Interim President & CEO, leading the National Park Foundation through a successful leadership transition.

Mr. French joined the Foundation in May of 2009, and was responsible for growing the National Park Foundation community into the millions, introducing new audiences to the work of the organization through strategic brand initiatives, multi-channel marketing campaigns, nationally televised events, new online platforms and social media campaigns. He created several formidable partnerships across media, corporate, government and non-profit institutions to strengthen America’s national parks through collaboration. Notably, Mr. French lead the “Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque” public engagement campaign for the National Park Service Centennial, credited with driving park visitation to all-time records of more than 305 million in 2015 and 325 million in 2016.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Mr. French was Vice President of Communications for MTV: Music Television, where he directed the network’s day-to-day communications operations, spanning programming, events, public affairs, ad sales, partnerships, social media, digital, research and more. During his tenure Mr. French oversaw successful communications strategies for landmark programming such as “TRL,” “Punk’d” and “Pimp My Ride,” along with global media events including the “MTV Video Music Awards” and “MTV Movie Awards.” Mr. French also oversaw the launch of mtvU, MTV’s college network, and was responsible for communicating key pro-social initiatives including “Choose or Lose,” “Fight for Your Rights” and “Break the Addiction” among others.

French graduated cum laude from Villanova University. He is an instrument-rated private pilot and a drummer, having recorded two albums. He loves to travel with his wife Melanie, daughter Josephine, and their dog Jackie, especially to America’s national parks! His family now proudly calls Memphis home.

WeAreMemphis is powered by the Memphis Brand Initiative, a collection of organizations and individuals – people from every background and every aspect of our community excited to tell our story – together. Working as one, we utilize best-in-class marketing and communications strategies and tools to have a catalytic positive impact on our entire community.

In 2019, our community will experience a unique moment: celebrating the past through our 200th anniversary while embracing the next 100 years. More than an anniversary, we extend an invitation to people locally and globally to join us as we honor our story, and the powerful next chapter that is about to be written.

That story is profound, yet simple. Memphis has changed the world… and we’re not done yet. We are a city of doers, dreamers and believers. We create, we invent, we experiment. That’s what drives this unstoppable city.

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