Building Healthy, Equitable Communities & Ecosystems | Denielle Sachs


Denielle Sachs

Senior Director & Global Lead, 
APCO Impact

Denielle Sachs has been motivated by social impact and social justice for her entire life, creating a commitment and a sense of purpose that has been fundamental to everything in her career. She uses this inherent passion for driving real change and discerning between the people seeking answers to the world’s very real and pervasive problems and those who are just looking to check a box. At her core, she is relentless in her pursuit of truth and justice and motivated by the effects of her impact, leading her to a career focused on pioneering social and environmental impact. Growing up as the sole child of a single parent, she has spent her life forging connections and creating fulfilling networks of diverse perspectives. She believes the most lasting solutions come from bringing together different minds and intelligence and seeks to bring creative, expansive, and expert brains to every project she leads and every team she builds. 

Denielle currently oversees a team of nearly 20 established and emerging female leaders within a firm that is both women founded and majority women owned. Empowering women is at the core of the culture and entrenched in her team’s sense of purpose. As a leader, she works to equip her team with the tools to create lasting change and connect them with the leaders and resources they need to thrive. It is part of her foundation to empower women. Recently, Denielle spearheaded a partnership between APCO Impact and the Marshall Plan for Moms, culminating in a playbook for companies to better support moms and caregivers. As a single mother, she understands the universal challenges faced by moms exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic. Her work brought the perspectives and needs of caregivers and moms to the forefront for companies and was targeted at helping women across all industries thrive. Armed with these unique ideologies, the steadfast leader has been taking the company to new heights.

In her day to day, Denielle crafts different paths for progress through the often conflicting agendas, interdependencies, voices, and priorities of these stakeholders because she understands that truly impactful ideas are never simple and always require collaboration. According to her, “the thorny social and environmental issues we face are complex and crowded with an array of stakeholders.” At APCO, she builds coalitions that solve the world’s thorniest issues by acting as a neutral intermediary. She strongly believes in the role that consultants play in alleviating discord to drive outcomes. “Lots of good ideas fail because they didn’t have adequate action plans and a lot of action plans fail because the original idea wasn’t good. I have committed to ensuring that the best ideas and solutions to complex global issues succeed by helping them build a delivery plan to bring that idea to fruition.” – Denielle Sachs

According to Denielle, science and data are fundamental to understanding the problem and discerning between solutions, but convincing people to address the problem and adopt the solution requires creativity and art. During her time leading the Blue Sphere Foundation, an ocean conservation organization, this reality was visceral, “no matter how many times you share data about the devastating loss of species we’re facing (nearly 50% of all species are expected to be gone in 100 years), people don’t change even the most basic behaviors that would stop that loss. It takes stories and art vehicles that can personalize and build empathy to motivate people to action. Every day at APCO Impact, we are building strategies that leverage the power of art and creativity to change hearts, minds, policy and institutional behavior.” Denielle leads APCO Impact, the social impact and sustainability group at APCO Worldwide.

Denielle helped form this group after the acquisition of her agency, The Tembo Group, in January 2020 and later, Global Philanthropy Group in 2021. Her work helps clients be catalysts for progress and address the key issues of our time, including corporate purpose, ESG, climate and sustainability, racial and gender equity, and social justice. The work Denielle and her team lead in APCO Impact is diverse but singularly focused on building healthy, equitable communities and ecosystems. For example, their work ranges from helping companies begin their ESG journey, guiding philanthropists in establishing and running new foundations, to helping NGOs launch new program areas or far reaching campaigns and iconic pieces of research that shape the conversation around the world’s biggest issues as we did with the Marshall Plan for Moms. Her work is dogmatic in its focus on impact and equity and includes helping The George Floyd Memorial Foundation achieve its goal of creating programs that accelerate solutions to equity and justice, supporting companies like Carmax to deploy philanthropic capital toward antiracism efforts and driving insights for groups like the Global Business Coalition for Education that identify powerful engagement opportunities for companies.

In the last 18 months, there has been a sea change in the world of corporate philanthropy. Philanthropy had become a “dirty word” in business, especially with the emergence of concepts such as “shared value” and “triple bottom line.” But that is changing. According to Denielle, “in the wake of COVID 19 and heightened social consciousness after the murder of George Floyd, philanthropy has seen a bit of a renaissance. While ESG is driving much more integrated, holistic efforts to transform business towards a net positive impact in society, philanthropy can sometimes be the tip of the spear moving faster to correct market failures, generating immediate relief for communities and instigating R&D in areas that may be seen as too risky or experimental within the core business.” In light of these shifts, Denielle and her team have undertaken a new piece of research to look deeply into the best and highest purpose for corporate philanthropy and create best in class models for the future corporate foundation.,


" I have committed to ensuring that the best ideas and solutions to complex global issues succeed by helping them build a delivery plan to bring that idea to fruition"

Denielle Sachs

Senior Director & Global Lead, APCO Impact

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