Brett Jenks


The President and CEO of Rare, Brett Jenks has been a champion of behavior change for nearly 20 years. He leads Rare’s international mission to equip people in the world’s most biologically diverse countries with the tools and motivation needed to sustainably manage their natural resources.

Under his leadership, Rare has grown nearly 3,000 percent since 2000. He is now focused on helping the organization expand climate-smart conservation solutions on a global scale – “solutions at the scale of the challenge” – including sustainable management of small-scale fisheries and coastal habitats and ensuring reliable clean freshwater supplies.

As a 22-year-old chief political correspondent for the Hudson Reporter, Jenks published a series of articles detailing horrific conditions in the Hudson County Jail. The expose was eventually covered by the New York Times and his reporter led to the closure of the facility.

As a filmmaker, Jenks helped create television commercials for Fortune 100 companies including Dunkin’ Donuts and American Express, and he also helped produce some of the first music videos to be broadcast on MTV.

He ultimately quit the film business and traveled to Costa Rica, where he built an award-winning eco-tourism program, training local people as guides. His career in conservation had begun.

Jenks served as the Costa Rica field coordinator for WorldTeach, a nonprofit based at the Center for International Development at Harvard University. He is a Catto Fellow, Braddock Scholar and McNulty Prize laureate with the Aspen Institute, a member of the Closed Loop Fund’s investment committee, an advisor to the Grantham Trust, and was awarded the Rose-Winner Prize in 2017.

Tune in to watch a virtual version of Brett's SXSW talk on the 7 most impactful actions that individual Americans can take to reduce our carbon footprint:

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.