Ruth Wooden

About Ruth Wooden

Ruth A. Wooden began her personal encore in January 2011, following her service as President of Public Agenda from August, 2003 to December, 2010. Founded in 1975 by former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and social scientist and author Daniel Yankelovich, Public Agenda works to help citizens better understand critical policy issues and to help the nation’s leaders understand the public’s point of view.

Before her appointment as Public Agenda’s President, she was Senior Counselor at the international communications firm, Porter Novelli, in Washington D.C. from September 2001 to August 2003, working with client business related to social marketing, social advertising, strategic philanthropy and cause marketing.

From July 1999 to March 2000, Ms. Wooden served as the volunteer coordinator of The Crystal Team, the volunteer “Madison Avenue” advertising team for the Presidential campaign of Senator Bill Bradley.

Ms. Wooden has over 30 years experience in marketing and advertising, and served for 12 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Advertising Council, the leading producer of public service communications programs in the United States. The Ad Council distributes national donated media campaigns for nonprofit organizations such as the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Environmental Defense and government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Transportation and The Department of Health and Human Services.

Earlier in her career, she held a variety of senior marketing and consumer brand management positions with N.W. Ayer, Inc. Advertising in New York and the Ralston Purina Company in St. Louis, Missouri.

Her encore career work includes communications consulting to various nonprofit groups and foundations as well as board governance and facilitation assignments. She is also a part-time graduate student at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

An active professional within both the commercial and nonprofit sectors, Ms. Wooden currently serves as Chair of the Board of Futures Without Violence, and is an emeritus director on the board of Encore. Org (where she was Board Chair from 2006 to 2012), and a direct on the boards of Public Good Projects Inc. and Public Agenda.  She is a former Director of Demos, CARE, Research! America, Independent Sector, the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, The Partnership at Drug Free.Org, The Harvard Business School Initiative on Social Enterprise, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and The U.S. Trust Company.

She has been the recipient of numerous business and philanthropic awards including the  Advertising Woman of the Year-1996 (Advertising Women of New York), Prudential Prize in Non-Profit Leadership, Maxwell Dane Humanitarian Award (United Jewish Appeal) and the Matrix Award-1994 (New York Women in Communications).  She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and has an honorary doctorate in Public Service from Northeastern University.

She lives in Manhattan and Callicoon, New York, and has a grown son, John.