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National Geographic CEO Gary Knell: 'We're Educating Folks From Cradle To Cane'

National Geographic Society
National Geographic CEO Gary Knell.

Gary Knell’s career as a CEO started on Sesame Street, wound through NPR, and now has landed at the National Geographic Society. He’s in town today to speak at a North Texas Commission luncheon in Irving.

Interview Highlights: Gary Knell…

…On transitioning from Sesame Street and NPR to National Geographic:

I’ve really spent a lot of my career working at this intersection of media and education, obviously for many years with early childhood and K-12 education with Sesame Workshop. To me, NPR was adult education, really educating people about the world and putting a context on issues of importance, so National Geographic really follows the same nexus. We’re trying to educate folks from cradle to cane, as we like to put it.  

…On what surprised him when he started at National Geographic:

The incredible amount of things we do [surprised me]. I had no idea that we have given out thousands of grants in science and exploration around the world…Just the amount of things we’re involved in: travel, we’re involved in presenting digital platforms, we’re the number one Instagram account in the world [and] we produce 41 local language editions of National Geographic.

…On National Geographic’s “explorer in residence” program:

These are incredibly talented people who we provide a home for. Spencer Wells has unlocked work on genes over the last decade or so, and [he’s] going to be talking about his work [at the North Texas Commission luncheon]. I’m very excited to be introducing him and welcoming him to North Texas.