Senior Fellow, SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations
Susan Ness is a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission and the founder of Susan Ness Strategies, a communications policy consulting firm. She frequently speaks on domestic and global communications policy and on women’s leadership.
At SAIS, she focuses on information and communications technology, innovation, regulation, privacy, data flows and the transatlantic partnership. She convened the SAIS Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom, and launched the SAIS website www.boardroomdiversity.org as a repository for research and articles on global boardroom diversity.
Commissioner Ness served on the Federal Communications Commission from 1994 to 2001, where she played a leading role on spectrum policy, championed competition and spectrum auctions, and fostered new technologies, including PCS, digital television, digital satellite and terrestrial radio, wireless broadband, and unlicensed services. She worked to connect schools and libraries to the Internet and forged stakeholder consensus on a digital TV standard. Internationally, she was the senior FCC official at three ITU World Radiocommunication Conferences, and participated in many bilateral and multilateral meetings.
From 2005 to 2007, she was the founding president and CEO of GreenStone Media, LLC, which produced talk programming targeting women for syndication on radio and other platforms. At its peak, GreenStone Media produced 63 hours per week of original, award-winning programs.
From 2001 to 2002, Ms. Ness was Distinguished Visiting Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, where she taught graduate seminars on domestic and global communications policy, and was Director of Information and Society at the Annenberg Public Policy Center. Prior to the FCC, she was vice president and group head of a national bank, funding communications sector companies, and was assistant counsel to the Banking Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Ms. Ness serves on the board of directors of TEGNA (NYSE-TGNA), a media and information company (previously Gannett Co, Inc.) owning 46 stations nationally. She has served on the board of two other publicly traded companies. She currently is a board member of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an NGO that identifies and invests in extraordinary women worldwide. She serves on the European Institute Board of Advisors, is a member of the U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy, and is an affiliated expert of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). President Obama appointed her to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for a three year term from 2011 to 2014. She was elected board Vice Chair in 2012 and 2013. She previously was a trustee of the Committee for Economic Development.
Ms. Ness is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, the Federal Communications Bar Association, and Women Corporate Directors (WCD). Her prior Montgomery County, Maryland civic leadership positions included: Charter Review Commission chair, Commission for Women president and Community Access TV Task Force vice chair.
Among the many honors and awards she received for her work are: the 2014 WICT (DC) Public Service Award; the International Radio and Television Society 1999 Achievement Award; the Digital Television Pioneer Award; Electronic Media’s “12 to Watch in 1997;” the Annenberg School for Communication’s Edward L. Palmer Award; the National Association of Broadcasters’ Engineering and Technology Achievement Award; American Women in Radio and Television’s first “Advocates” Award; the District of Columbia AWRT Leadership Award; and the Wireless Women’s Network’s first Leadership Award. Rutgers University inducted her into its Hall of Distinguished Alumni and Douglass College inducted her into the Douglass Society.
Education: MBA in finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; J.D., cum laude, from Boston College Law School; and B.A. in political science/international relations from Douglass College (Rutgers University), junior year in Geneva, Switzerland with Sarah Lawrence College.