Ellen Wilson is a Principal and Managing Director of the global practice at Burness, which includes a branch office in Nairobi, Kenya. She has over three decades of experience providing strategic communications counsel to hundreds of global nonprofits, foundations and international agencies working in global health, on food issues, particularly focused on Africa; climate change, biodiversity loss and forest and ocean protection; and land rights of Indigenous People.

She leads high-impact, media-centered, multi-continent communications campaigns that deliver increased exposure for narratives, stories, research and solutions to improve health, protect the environment, reduce poverty and produce an equitable and sustainable food supply. She has directly carried out communications activities across Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

She has elevated the thought leadership of foundation presidents and executive directors, handled celebrity media appearances, advised on messaging and crisis communications and led media trainings for scientists and others in Geneva, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Kisumu, Accra, Dakar and Washington, DC. She has spearheaded dozens of high-level media events including at the Paris and Glasgow climate COPs, the UN General Assembly, the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York City in September 2014, the Global Climate Action Summit held in San Francisco in 2018, the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) held in Montreal in 2022 and at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Arctic Circle.

She served on the advisory committee of the Sabin Vaccine Institute Immunization Advocates program, is on the Public Policy, Public Service and Law Council of Honors Carolina and has been a guest instructor for Professor Andy Burness at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She has completed master’s level coursework at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.

Prior to joining Burness, Ellen worked at a public relations firm that represented Planned Parenthood Federation of America and civil rights leaders. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science-international relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has two sons and lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and dog, Riley.