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The Legal Defense Fund (LDF) has appointed Natalie Thigpen to serve as its Chief Communications and Marketing Officer (CCMO). Thigpen joins LDF from Summit Health and CityMD, where she was Senior Vice President for Culture, Engagement, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging and previously served as Vice President of Marketing & Communication.

Thigpen’s vision, strategic counsel, and ability to build and lead high-performing teams make her a valuable addition to the LDF leadership team.

“We are thrilled to welcome Natalie to the LDF Senior Leadership Team. Her extensive experience and proven track record in driving innovative communication strategies make her the ideal candidate to ensure we continue to reach key audiences and give voice to the most pressing issues of racial justice facing our democracy,” said Janai Nelson, LDF President and Director-Counsel. “We anticipate that she will bring even greater visibility to our litigation, policy, research, organizing and public education work.”

“I am honored to join this legacy civil rights and racial justice legal advocacy organization, as LDF prepares to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Brown v Board of Education and protect and defend voting rights in the lead up to 2024 elections,” said Natalie Thigpen. “I look forward to collaborating with the dedicated team at LDF to amplify its impact, engage supporters, and further its public education function.”

Thigpen demonstrated exceptional skills in driving Summit’s brand and organizational growth through the development of successful marketing and messaging strategies that distilled complex concepts into clear accessible language for the healthcare organization’s patient groups, audiences, and service lines.  Thigpen’s achievements also include leading the charge for the creation of the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, where she successfully established a DEI department that resulted in measurable improvements in employee engagement, inclusion and belonging metrics.

Thigpen holds an MBA in Marketing from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and a BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania College of Arts and Sciences.


Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.