Matt Ribel has never known life without the Chesapeake. As a toddler, he split shells at family crab-feasts and fished for crustaceans off the pier. He trudged through fragile marshlands as a grade-schooler, silt slipping through fingers and menhaden gliding through legs. As a teenager, he was lulled to sleep by tides bludgeoning the now-eroded Fox Island.
At Conservation International, Matt works with CEO M. Sanjayan, Board Vice Chair Harrison Ford, and senior scientists to amplify the organization’s message that humans need nature to thrive. Previously, he worked at West Wing Writers, writing speeches, op-eds, books, and more for presidents and vice presidents, cabinet secretaries and union leaders, entertainment royalty and literal royalty. His client work has appeared in the pages of The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and Reuters.
A seasoned communications strategist, Matt first crafted viral messages while working alongside the world’s top viral scientists. At the Centers for Disease Control, he co-wrote the messaging playbook that pushed $1.1 billion Zika virus relief through a divided Congress and across President Obama’s desk. In 2018, he joined the communications team at Stacey Abrams for Governor, drafting speeches and editorials for high-profile surrogates. He later spent time with the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, writing for Senator Patty Murray as she led the national conversation on health care reform, universal childcare, and reproductive justice.
Matt graduated summa cum laude from Emory University, where he studied political science and cultural anthropology. Currently, he’s completing a master’s degree in creative nonfiction at Johns Hopkins University, and his longform writing is forthcoming in Slate and Scientific American. Matt is a lifelong Virginian, and currently lives in Washington, DC with his partner Madison and dog Cosmo. He enjoys climbing, mountaineering, kayaking, and Formula One racing. Ask him about losing on Jeopardy!, the bounties of home fermentation, and the many merits of living in corduroy.