As executive director of The Nature Conservancy’s program in Georgia, Monica Thornton leads a team of dedicated and passionate staff and scientists working to protect, manage and restore Georgia’s unique natural areas.
As a 7th generation Georgian, Monica’s passion for the environment began as a child. With relatives all over the state, she was exposed to Georgia’s diverse ecology early. Her passion met her experience when she took on leadership roles at the Piedmont Park Conservancy and later at the Georgia Conservancy, where she led teams that raised tens of millions of dollars for greenspace and conservation projects, including the historic 53-acre expansion of Piedmont Park. She also led communications efforts that were instrumental in conservation wins for Georgia, including the infamous interstate water wars litigation and the passage of the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act (GOSA).
Before joining The Nature Conservancy as the Georgia State director, Monica was director of Association Advancement at the Georgia Municipal Association, where she managed business development and provided consultation to its three 501(c)3 nonprofits with the development of their strategic and fundraising plans. Before that, she was a senior advancement officer at the CDC Foundation, where she managed its largest portfolio of global projects and led new initiatives to examine health equity, gun violence and climate change policy. Monica also held the role of executive director with Women In Technology (WIT) and leadership positions at United Way of Metro Atlanta, Fox 5 Atlanta, CBS Atlanta, WSB-TV and Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB).
Monica is very involved in the community and serves on several boards, including the advisory board of Earth Share Georgia and the International Women’s Think Tank, and she is a founding board member of Ventures Atlanta. She is often invited to speak and regularly volunteers as on-air talent for GPB during local and national PBS telethons.
Monica holds a bachelor of arts degree from Georgia State University in TV/film and an associate’s degree in marketing. She is a 2017 graduate of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership. When Monica is not hiking, biking or exploring the outdoors, she keeps busy with do-it-yourself home-renovation projects, writing or doing her number one job as a mom to three adult sons.