Washington (July 16, 2015) — Lisa Osborne Ross, a former senior Clinton administration official and 20-year public relations agency veteran, is joining APCO Worldwide as the managing director of its Washington office, effective August 10.
Ross is the latest in a series of bold moves for the firm this year, beginning with the naming of Brad Staples as CEO; the formation of a new, more geographically and culturally diverse Global Leadership Team; the appointment of Nelson Fernandez as chairman of North America; the hiring of John Stauffer as lead digital strategist; and the addition of Gadi Dechter as head of public affairs.
“Lisa’s deep appreciation of the fusion of public affairs and corporate communications to address today’s communications challenges, intimate knowledge of Washington, dedication to building better communities through philanthropy and devotion to placing a premium on people are just some of the many reasons why we’re happy to have her join APCO,” said Brad Staples, CEO of APCO. “As our corporate headquarters and our first office, Washington is a very special market for APCO. Naturally, we wanted only the best in the industry to lead it as the new managing director. With Lisa, we found exactly that person.”
A native Washingtonian, Ross is deeply familiar with the city’s local government, federal industry and people. Ross served in the first and second terms of the Clinton administration, specializing in policy development and issues management. During this time, she was communications director for the U.S. Department of Labor’s effort to create and promote high-performance workplaces, deputy director of the bipartisan Federal Glass Ceiling Commission and chief of staff for the White House’s Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach. Ross also created and directed the Office of Public Liaison at the U.S. Department of Labor under Secretary Alexis Herman.
Over her 20-year career at Ogilvy Public Relations, from where she joins APCO, and Fleishman-Hillard, Ross held senior management positions and consistently delivered award-winning work for clients, helping to build and strengthen some of the most iconic brands in the United States including America’s Promise, the United Way of America, Reading Is Fundamental, the Children’s Defense Fund, the United Nations Foundation, Pfizer, Cricket Wireless, MetLife and the USO. She also led several complex public affairs and government relations efforts, having worked closely with governments, such as the Netherlands, Switzerland and Mexico, to advance commercial and diplomatic relations between these countries and American audiences.
“I've always believed in the importance of a public affairs foundation and mindset to create communications solutions that matter – ones that deliver lasting impact at the global, political and industry level. They are the hallmark of effective public affairs,” said Ross. “APCO is a fantastic place for me since it has used this approach from the start. For years I've watched APCO deftly maneuver the intricacies of this dynamic and fascinating market. The honor of leading the Washington office at APCO is an exciting chance to shape not just the future of APCO, but also the future of this market and our industry. As I take on this new role, I look forward to leveraging APCO's industry-leading corporate branding and reputation research, powerful digital and creative teams, and incredible depth of native expertise in many of the most important sectors in today's economy.”
Ross also devotes considerable amounts of time to philanthropic endeavors, especially with efforts to build a better Washington and to empower women. She co-founded and led the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to fund grassroots organizations addressing the critical needs of women and young girls through essential services and training throughout the Washington metropolitan area. She continues to serve on the Foundation’s Honorary Council. She also helped establish a scholarship fund at Howard University for students seeking careers in public relations.
“I’m very excited to have Lisa join APCO as managing director for Washington,” said Nelson Fernandez, chairman of North America at APCO. “Lisa has the perfect mix of skills and personal passion to build upon APCO’s 30-year leadership in public affairs and strategic communications. With her exceptional skills and outstanding track record achieving solutions that matter for clients, I look forward to working with her as we leverage our strengths to help grow APCO in the region."
Ross also served on numerous school boards and commissions, including Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School Board of Trustees, Marquette University Centennial Celebration of Women, LeMoyne College School of Communications and Film Studies, and the Catholic Charities of America. In 2012, Ross was the recipient of the Marquette University Alumni National Award.
She joins other senior leaders at APCO in Washington, including: Gadi Dechter, head of public affairs and former senior advisor at the White House National Economic Council and National Security Council; Alicia Peterson Clark, deputy managing director for Washington, D.C., and former special assistant to the president under President George W. Bush; Tim Roemer, senior director and former U.S. ambassador to India and member of Congress; Cliff Stearns, executive director and former member of Congress; Melissa Musiker, global chair of APCO’s Food, Consumer Products and Retail practice and former USDA economist; and Marilyn Fancher, chief creative officer at APCO.
“There’s no question about the importance of Washington in today’s marketplace or the passion I have for this office. As a business that is also majority women-owned and committed to growing through the strength of our diversity, I’m even more proud to welcome Lisa to APCO and have her lead the Washington office,” said Margery Kraus, founder and executive chairman of APCO. “Knowing that a truly successful, caring and inspiring woman will be leading Washington makes me very excited for the future of this office and APCO.”