Casey Pola

Casey Pola

Casey Pola (ΦΒΚ, University of Maine) is the Director of Corporate Partnerships and Cause Marketing with National Parks Conservation Association, where she leads the organization’s cause partnerships program – connecting mission-aligned brands to support the protection and preservation of our national parks. Prior to joining NPCA, Casey held marketing and social impact focused roles at Rebuilding Together and Cone Communications.


As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

I think I went through the typical phases most kids do when they’re learning about jobs and careers – marine biologist was one of those. As I turned a bit older, I actually was very much interested in becoming an Egyptologist. I’ve always been fascinated by ancient history and cultures, which ultimately inspired my Anthropology minor in college.
While those dreams didn’t pan out, I do remember telling my parents back in Topsham, Maine (a small town of 8,000), that when I was older I would have a job taking airplanes to important meetings. I’m pleased to say, that dream did in fact turn out to be very much a reality!

What was the most transformative course from your undergraduate education?

I’m not sure I can isolate any one particular course, but more of a collection of courses, and that was through the education track within the Honors College at the University of Maine. The classes were smaller format (12-15 people maximum), and we were very much encouraged to participate, to challenge our thinking, and to discuss. The opportunity to interact at that level with my peers, as well as with our educators who truly did serve as mentors, very much shaped my learning experience and began to set me up with important post-graduate skills.
I also appreciated the opportunity, through this program, to conduct an honors thesis (which would not have been part of my curriculum otherwise). My thesis was titled “Indigenous Politics in the Andes: A Comparative Study of Ethnopolitics in Ecuador and Peru.” I had the fortune to be able to research this field at length, draft a 70-page study and defend it in front of several faculty members.

You currently serve as Director, Corporate Partnerships & Cause Marketing at the National Parks Conservation Association. What types of projects do you work on in this position?

In my role at NPCA, I have an incredible opportunity to support an important cause – the protection of our national parks – by connecting brands and corporations to our mission, not only to drive revenue for our organization, but to also educate, inspire and empower their consumers to take action.
As the lead of this department, my work predominantly centers on growing the program and its revenue – from identifying new corporate partners, to strengthening our partnership marketing strategies and assets as well as stewarding our existing relationships.

What role has your liberal arts education played in the development of your career? Why do you think a well-rounded arts and sciences education are important in today’s society?

Well, as you can see, I’m working in a career field wholy separate from what I studied. I leaned into international affairs, political science mostly, believing that perhaps I’d end up in the nonprofit world in Washington, DC. While I made it there, I took a detour to become a marketing professional, with a focus on social impact and corporate social responsibility, and ended up working for nonprofits related to entirely different fields/causes than international affairs.
But I believe that’s the magic of it. Throughout my liberal arts education I could explore many interests, and I learned I could do so without the need to pigeonhole myself into one specific area. I very much believe that gave me the confidence to make the career jumps that I have, that have landed me here now.

Phi Beta Kappa’s motto is “the love of learning is the guide of life,” and we are dedicated to life-long learning. What do you want to learn next?

Italian! I’m currently pursuing my dual citizenship, and my husband and I were married in Sorrento, Italy. We dream of retiring there, but either way, it’s an absolutely beautiful language and it would be incredible to learn in honor of my heritage.

What was the best advice you were ever given and who gave it to you?

I’ve been fortunate to have many great mentors, particularly during my time at Cone Communications in Boston, MA. I worked with numerous strong women at the agency, and one of my greatest takeaways from their collective mentorship and advice is the importance of self advocating. In any scenario, you are your best advocate and biggest champion.

What book(s) are you reading right now? Are you listening to any podcasts or watching any shows? Anything you'd recommend? 

I’ll refrain from mentioning Bravo or Real Housewives here! My husband and I recently subscribed to Masterclass and I have been very much enjoying their programming, particularly their food, wine and mixology classes from the greats like Thomas Keller, James Suckling and Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr. Lyan).

Published on May 9, 2023.