Jennifer Walton

Senior Strategist

career accomplishments

Jennifer created and built the first Communication department and corporate communications program from the ground up for the $430M National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) – including hiring a team, developing all communications materials, web sites, and social media, developing a national-scale community relations program, and writing and executing internal communications and public relations plans. She also wrote and then deployed NEON’s first crisis communication plan in response to several major incidents, including a Congressional inquiry, shooting incident and the 2013 Colorado floods. 

Jennifer is the founder and lead of Girls Who Chase (GWC), a storm-chasing initiative to inspire and empower girls and women to pursue weather-related activities and engage in STEM. GWC has received international media coverage for its efforts, including from The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, National Geographic, The Weather Channel, The Weather Network, and the NBC Today Show.

Due to her unique combination of experience, Jennifer is a sought-after leadership advisor and strategic communications expert in the science and climate change fields. 

industry expertise

Science | Climate Change | Sustainability | Emergency & Crisis Response | Healthcare

As a strategic partner at Distinctive Edge, Jennifer brings deep experience at the nexus of communication, environmental change, and crisis response – in order to help organizations, prepare for and respond to the true nature of the issues we face today. She is a leader in strategic communication, risk and crisis communication, executive and leadership communication, and internal communication.

In addition to serving as a strategic partner at Distinctive Edge, Jennifer owns her own strategic communications consulting business, JAWalton Communications, where she serves clients primarily in the areas of communication program development, strategic communication planning and execution, internal communication, risk and crisis communication, and executive and leadership communication, in the fields of technology, severe weather, wildfire and climate resilience, sustainability, education, and healthcare. 

Jennifer spent nearly two decades crafting strategic communications and public relations programs for technical, scientific and climate change-oriented NGOs and non-profits. She is a valued strategic advisor to executive level management, and is a leader and a manager. She has special expertise in developing effective communication strategies and messaging to encourage understanding or behavior change around complex or technical topics, and in training technical leaders and experts in how to effectively communicate their knowledge and vision. 

She has worked on behalf of multiple large federal contracts in order to implement communications programming around messaging scientific research and findings, risk and crisis management priorities, and resilience and mitigation efforts. Contracts and efforts she supported included the ground-up creation of a comprehensive corporate communications program for a $430M observatory funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), a multi-million-dollar risk and resilience public relations contract with Ogilvy Public Relations, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the development and execution of a strategic communications program for a polar research institute supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 

Jennifer holds an M.S. in Technical Communication from Colorado State University and a B.A. in Environmental Public Relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.