Susan Byrnes | Influence 100

Susan Byrnes 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 



 With $47bn in assets, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation may well be the world’s largest private foundation, and its ability to enhance healthcare and alleviate poverty has only been drawn into sharper relief in 2020. The organization’s high profile also brings unique communications challenges, 
which are now the responsibility of Susan Byrnes, who has spent more than a decade with the Foundation since 2007. 

Byrnes became CCO, possibly the sector’s top communications role, earlier this year, after previously leading external communcations. From 2015 to 2017 she oversaw strategic communications for Gates Foundation grantee Malaria No More. Prior to that, she spent seven years in a variety of communications leadership roles, overseeing all aspects of the foundation’s global communications functions.

Byrnes previously spent a decade in journalism, first as a news producer for Italian national television (RAI-Uno) and then as a reporter for The Los Angeles Times. She also worked as a reporter, columnist, and editorial writer at The Seattle Times.