Susan Tonassi is a trained journalist with nearly two decades of international communications experience. A member of the global practice, she designs, manages and carries out complex global media promotions that secure top-tier coverage. Her work focuses on a wide range of topics, including forestry, ocean health, biodiversity, agriculture, land rights, and human rights. She has secured placements for clients in nearly all major media outlets, including the Financial Times, Economist, BBC, Guardian, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Time and NPR. She also oversees and collaborates on digital projects, and serves as the team’s European media expert. 

She comes to Burness with a wide-ranging background in communications. She started out as a reporter and writer. After graduating from Boston University with a journalism degree, she covered economics for the Washington, D.C., bureau of the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s largest daily newspaper. She spent a year in Germany as a Fulbright Young Professional Journalist, which gave her the opportunity to work at Deutsche Welle and other German outlets. She also worked as a freelance writer and editor. 

Her stint in Germany inspired her to earn a Master’s in German and European Studies at Georgetown University. From there, she joined the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), where she worked closely with CGIAR researchers, which made her fluent in hot-topic agricultural issues — from biofuels and GMOs to climate change and desertification. She organized IFPRI’s communications work at international conferences and also blogged prolifically for the organization.