Ruth Wooden

Vice Chair, The Public Good Projects; former President, The Advertising Council and Public Agenda

Ruth Wooden began her encore life stage in January 2011, following her service as President of Public Agenda from August, 2003 to December, 2010. Founded in 1975 by former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and social scientist and author Daniel Yankelovich, Public Agenda works to help average citizens better understand critical policy issues and to help the nation’s leaders better understand the public’s point of view. 

Before her appointment as Public Agenda’s President, she was Senior Counselor at the international communications firm Porter Novelli from September 2001 to August 2003, working with client business related to social marketing, social advertising, strategic philanthropy, and cause marketing. Prior to joining Porter Novelli, she served as volunteer President and Chief Executive Officer of The National Parenting Association, a non-profit research and advocacy organization in New York.  

From July 1999 to March 2000, she served as the volunteer coordinator of The Crystal Team, the volunteer “Madison Avenue” advertising team for the Presidential campaign of Senator Bill Bradley.

Wooden has over 30 years experience in marketing and advertising, and served for 12 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Advertising Council, the leading producer of public service communications programs in the United States. The Ad Council distributes national donated media campaigns for non-profit organizations such as the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Earlier in her career, she held a variety of senior marketing and consumer brand management positions with N.W. Ayer, Inc. Advertising in New York and the Ralston Purina Company in St. Louis, Missouri.  

An active professional within both the commercial and non-profit sectors, Wooden currently serves on the boards of Demos, Futures Without Violence, TeachersCount, and Public Agenda. She is a former director of Encore.org (formerly Civic Ventures), CARE, Research! America, Independent Sector, the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, The Harvard Business School Initiative on Social Enterprise, and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

She has been the recipient of numerous business and philanthropic awards including the Maxwell Dane Humanitarian Award (United Jewish Appeal); Advertising Woman of the Year-1996 (Advertising Women of New York); Prudential Prize in Non-Profit Leadership; and the Matrix Award -1994 (New York Women in Communications).