KATE BOSWORTH: If you are given a photograph with a lot of history and it is significant to many people and it’s yours to frame, how would you frame it? IE: metal, wood, floating, simply floating between plexiglass? Or other?
COURTENEY MONROE: I would frame it floating simply between plexiglass so nothing would distract from its beauty and significance.
KB: National Geographic’s yellow borders are an iconic frame. How do you respect the restraint while also expanding them?
CM: That question actually taps into everything we are focused on at National Geographic. We are a revered brand worldwide, but we also want to be a fiercely relevant. And that can sometimes be a tricky balance. But being pioneering and visionary have long been hallmarks of the National Geographic brand. So, we are remaining true to our DNA and pushing creative boundaries in order to break through and ensure we are as relevant and vital now as we were at our inception.
KB: Coming from HBO, what was it about Nat Geo that inspired you?
CM: HBO and National Geographic actually have a lot more in common than one might think – both are incredibly strong, iconic brands. I felt—and still do—incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work on yet another brand known for quality and distinctiveness.
KB: How do you find creativity within such iconic borders?
CM: I take inspiration from the long legacy of creative excellence at National Geographic. The talent we are fortunate enough to interact with every day—explorers, photographers, filmmakers, scientists-is nothing short of awe inspiring.
KB: What initially attracted you to the entertainment industry?
CM: I have always loved surrounding myself with creative, inspiring people – it is what drives me.
KB: How did you arrive here?
CM: Hard work and a nice dose of good luck.
KB: Is there a person or an event that had a major impact on where you are today?
CM: Peter Rice, who believed in me and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to run and transform the National Geographic Television business.
KB: What excites you?
CM: New challenges, aiming high and getting outside of my comfort zone.
KB: Do you consider yourself a rebel?
CM: I wish, but no.
KB: Between the dream and the goal, what is your discipline to achieve them?
CM: Keep your eye on the prize and surround yourself with exceptional people.
KB: What is your personal ritual/routine in the morning or throughout the day that translates into your daily business routine?
CM: Wake up and look at my emails and then proceed to do so all day long. Not something I am proud of or recommend to anyone!
KB: What evaluations do you make before making a permanent decision?
CM: What impact will it have on my family.
KB: How do you decide to collaborate with someone? Are there essential qualities that are critical for you?
CM: One simple rule: No assholes allowed!
KB: What is the collaboration process like with you?
CM: My hope is that it is fun, inspiring, and respectful.
KB: How much doubt versus faith do you use in a percentage of a day?
CM: Faith all day, sometimes doubt at night.
KB: Do you have fear? How do you move through it?
CM: Not living up to people’s expectations of me. I move through it by doing the only thing I know how to do—which is to be my most authentic self.
KB: How do you feel being one of the leaders in television?
CM: Incredibly fortunate.
KB: What are you most proud of?
CM: My two greatest accomplishments without question are my children, Miles and Lola.
KB: What goals would you like to accomplish in the future?
CM: Transforming National Geographic into the very best version it can be, and living up to my personal full potential.
KB: So, to go back to the constraints of a border: You have six words to explain your life. What are they?
CM: Family, Love, Ambition, Creativity, Laughter, Happiness.
KB: What does a Citizen of Humanity mean to you?
CM: Somebody who believes in and works toward something greater than oneself.