Director of Communications | Surdna Foundation
Ellen Braune brings over two decades of strategic communication, advocacy and strategic planning experience to the Foundation. Prior to her position at Surdna, Ellen served as the Director of Communications at The Opportunity Agenda, a social justice communications lab.
For 11 years Ellen worked in network television where she was an editor and producer for programs including CBS’s 60 Minutes, NBC’s Today Show, and PBS’s Frontline. She left broadcast journalism to provide affordable strategic communications and public relations support to social change organizations. Since then, she has created and implemented strategic communications and advocacy plans for grassroots, regional, national and international organizations on issues ranging from the death penalty and mass incarceration to immigrant rights, and economic and reproductive justice.
Ellen has built successful communications departments for four national social justice organizations, including serving as Vice President of Communications at the Ms. Foundation for Women and as the first director of communications at Demos and The National Labor Committee for Worker and Human Rights. In the 1990’s Ellen launched the New York City office of Fenton Communications and co-founded and directed New Channels Communications, a non-profit communications firm focused on international policy in El Salvador, Haiti, and the Middle East.
Ellen is a frequent guest lecturer at colleges and universities and has taught both graduate and undergraduate classes in strategic communications, media analysis; and broadcast journalism. She regularly conducts strategic communication, framing, and media outreach trainings and workshops for national, regional, and community-based social justice organizations and presents at conferences for social justice advocates, and briefings for policymakers and journalists.
Ellen’s high visibility communications efforts have played a significant role in reframing policy debates, ranging from U.S. policy in El Salvador to the Gap, Kathie-Lee Gifford and Nike sweatshop practices. She is committed to injecting too-often marginalized voices for change into mainstream discourse to support their leadership and long-term movement building for sustainable change.
Ellen has a MA in Media Studies from The New School for Social Research and a BA in English Literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo.