Ruth A. Wooden

Ruth Wooden, who was president of Public Agenda from 2003 through 2010, remains a committed member of the Public Agenda family, serving as a senior adviser to the organization and on the Board of Directors.

In addition to her work here, Ms. Wooden serves as chair of the board of Civic Ventures, which works to define the second half of adult life as a time of individual and social renewal. She is a board member of the Family Violence Prevention Fund, Teachers Count, Independent Sector and Demos. Ms. Wooden is also a former director of CARE and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

Ms. Wooden has often written and spoken on issues including obstacles to college completion, the need for less partisanship and more true dialogue in addressing the nation's most difficult public policy problems, new approaches to retirement, and the challenges and choices facing the American people as a result of the federal budget deficit and national debt.

Ms. Wooden was a member of the Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States. Its January 2010 report is a key part of the continuing Our Fiscal Future initiative, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which includes, a Facebook site and Twitter feed, the latter two both produced by Public Agenda.

Prior to joining Public Agenda, Ms. Wooden was Executive Vice President-Senior Counselor at the international public relations firm of Porter Novelli, where she led the Advertising and Cause-Related Marketing Practice. Before joining Porter Novelli in 2001, she served as volunteer President of the National Parenting Association, and from 1987 to 1999, she was president of The Advertising Council, the nation's leading producer of public service announcements. During Ms. Wooden's tenure, the Ad Council collaborated with Public Agenda on the groundbreaking study "Kids These Days: What Americans Really Think About the Next Generation," which was named by Congressional Quarterly as one of the 50 most important documents of 1997.

From 1978 to 1987, Ms. Wooden worked as Account Supervisor, Senior Vice President and Managing Director at N.W. Ayer Advertising in New York. She began her career as a research brand analyst at the Ralston Purina Company in St. Louis. Ms. Wooden attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and she received a B.A. in Sociology and History from the University of Minnesota. In 1994, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Northeastern University.

Ms. Wooden is the recipient of United Jewish Appeal's Maxwell Dane Humanitarian Award; Advertising Woman of the Year; the Prudential Prize in Non-Profit Leadership and the Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications.


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