Senior Director of Communications
Michelle Benham is the Senior Director of Communications at Duke’s Office of Durham & Community Affairs. She is an accomplished nonprofit leader, award-winning media producer, and communications expert. Her 15+ years of experience in marketing, media, and fundraising in the public and private sectors — including government, higher ed, and nonprofits — have contributed to her passion for amplifying diverse voices and co-creating storytelling opportunities with community partners.
Prior to joining DCA, Michelle led the marketing and communications team at Durham-based nonprofit Forward Cities. She also served as marketing director at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, an internationally renowned program of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Previously, she created award-winning content and campaigns at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Discovery Learning Alliance, and Discovery Communications.
Michelle is a Goodmon Fellow through Leadership Triangle and participated in the 2023 Regional cohort. She is an alumna of the esteemed Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program and was a founding board member of the Conservation Leadership in the Caribbean fellowship, a capacity-building, networking, and leadership development program for emerging climate science and wildlife conservation leaders in the wider Caribbean region.
Michelle holds an M.F.A. in Film & Media from the School of Communication at American University and a B.S. in Ecology from the University of Georgia. She and her family are proud residents of Durham, NC, with deep affection for the Eno River.