Executive Director, SeaWeb; board member, Environmental Media Services; Managing director, Communications Partnership for Science and the Sea; former senior vice president, Ruder Finn PR; former principal, Peabody Fitzpatrick CommunicationsIf you’re looking for proof that SeaWeb is all about food (and barely concerned at all with the health of our oceans), take a look at its leadership. When the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Natural Resources Defense Council decided to cut SeaWeb’s umbilical cord, observers might have expected them to choose on oceanographer, marine biologist, or deep-sea explorer to take the helm. By consulting with Fenton Commuications and putting a seasoned public-relations and advertising pro in charge instead (and one whose professional experience was in the food and restaurant industry), Pew tipped its hand early.
Prior to joining SeaWeb, Vikki Spruill’s job at Ruder Finn (and earlier at Peabody Fitzpatrick Communications) was to promote food products to shoppers, restaurants, and grocery chains. She was considered an expert in the fine art of monitoring consumer trends, and her office boasted openly about its wide “network of food industry professionals… who are expert at the various aspects of marketing communications.” Spruill helped launch products for Nabisco, Stouffer, Frazer Mints, Gloria Jean’s coffees, and Crown Royal. Put simply, if Fenton Communicatios was hoping to place someone at SeaWeb who knew how to influence restaurants and food suppliers, Vikki Spruill was a dream come true.
In addition to her role with SeaWeb, Spruill is Managing Director of COMPASS (Communications Partnership for Science and the Sea), a Pew- and Packard-funded Washington PR office for ocean issues. She was also apppointed to the board of directors at Environmental Media Services, the green-media-spinning arm of Fenton Communications, in February 2002.