Paul Holmes 24 Apr 2022 // 3:22PM GMT
Former Clinton administration advisor Lisa Osborne Ross has held senior roles at APCO, Ogilvy, and currently at Edelman, managing a host of complex public affairs and corporate reputation issues in Washington, DC, and beyond, and earning her this recognition with one of our SABRE Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement.
Ross currently serves as Edelman’s US chief executive officer, leading the firm's largest region with 13 offices and more than 2,300 employees. She is known as an in-demand counselor to senior executives at Fortune 500, higher education, and government institutions, but also for her ability to nurture and develop talent—people now holding senior positions at Fortune 500 companies, in government, in media, and in the nonprofit world.
Priorities at Edelman have included building a culture based on the principle that if a business puts people first, profits will follow, furthering the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and helping employees balance work and life needs—drawing on her own experience building a successful career while caring for a sick mother or raising her two children.
Richard Edelman cites several factors that have contributed to her success at the firm: “She leads from the front, she runs clients,” he says, singling out her work with clients from Starbucks to Howard University, and adding: “She speaks truth to power and pushes for change that matters. She is an inspirational leader, a role model in balancing work, family, faith, culture, and fitness.”
And finally, he says: “She has made me a better CEO with accountability of senior people and connectivity to the middle and junior staff. I listen better because of her intervention.”
Prior to Edelman, Ross served as managing director of APCO Worldwide’s flagship office for more than two years, arriving there after a 15-year career at Ogilvy Public Relations. During her tenure at Ogilvy, she was founder of the agency’s multicultural practice, head of the public advocacy group and practice, and head of the public affairs division.
Earlier, Ross held several roles in the Clinton Administration. At the US Department of Labor, she served as communications director for the Department’s effort to create and promote high-performance workplaces, and later created and directed the Office of Public Liaison under Secretary Alexis Herman. She also served as the deputy director of the bipartisan Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, and was a member of the inaugural team of the White House Office of Women’s Initiatives & Outreach.
In her early career, Ms. Ross spent time at FleishmanHillard and at the Tobacco Institute.
Ross is active in the philanthropic arena, with a particular focus on 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 needs of women and young girls throughout the Washington metropolitan area. At Howard University, she helped establish a scholarship fund for students seeking careers in public relations.
She has 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, Catholic Charities of America, and the Washington Jesuit Academy. In addition, she serves in the board of the PRSA Foundation.
Ross will receive her outstanding Individual Achievement Award during the sold-out SABRE Awards ceremony at Cipriani 42nd Street, New York, on May 4.