Chief Digital Officer
The Franklin Institute
Susan Poulton is currently the Chief Digital Officer at The Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia and is the principal in the consulting firm Door 44 Digital.
Poulton has seventeen years of digital media strategy experience, working with organizations in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors to help them meet their content, outreach, and audience building goals. From science to entertainment, her passion is inspiring and awakening curiosity in any audience and moving them to action through digital experiences and storytelling.
Before founding her current consulting firm, Door 44 Digital, Susan was Vice President of Digital Media for the National Geographic Society for seven years. In that role she oversaw the development of many of National Geographic’s first online content verticals, resulting in dramatic growth for the Society’s digital presence and monetization capabilities. She then focused on outreach and content strategies for the Society’s non-profit and exploration initiatives including James Cameron’s DeepSea Challenge, The Genographic Project, Big Cats, Freshwater, Oceans, and Explorers portal. Her work on the Genographic and Expedition: Genghis Khan projects developed success tactics for citizen science engagement.
Prior to joining National Geographic, Susan held various content positions over nine years at AOL. As the Director of Programming and Content Production, she was responsible for revamping AOL Time Warner’s approach to celebrity content online, with a special focus on live event production. Susan used creative methods to build consumer engagement around high profile events in the news and entertainment space including the use of multi camera angle live video, interactives, polls, and chat for events including the 2000 and 2004 elections, Space Shuttle Return to Flight, XPRIZE, and Oscar and Golden Globe Award coverage. She was one of AOL’s lead producers for Live 8 in 2005, the first digital experience to receive an Emmy Award and set the world record for concurrent online live event attendees. She produced the first inter-species chat with Koko the gorilla, first chat with the International Space Station, first online events with reporters in combat zones, and the Dalai Lama’s first webcam event in 1999.
She has participated on numerous panels and advisory boards and was an Innovator in Residence at University of Nebraska, Lincoln lecturing on tactics for maximizing consumer engagement to create meaningful digital experiences.
An avid traveler, photographer, and space enthusiast, Susan spends her spare time practicing Muay Thai kickboxing and photographing rocket launches. When she’s not looking skyward, she volunteers to provide media and digital training to non profit organizations around the world and works to empower young people through a variety of photographic and media projects, including as an instructor for National Geographic Photo Camp. She’s currently working on a project to document her attempt to summit the highest points in all 50 states in the U.S. to share her personal journey of health and fitness.