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 digital tech policy and on women’s leadership.
She is a distinguished fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, focused on transatlantic digital policy. She also is a distinguished fellow at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where she convened the Transatlantic High Level Working Group on Content Moderation and Freedom of Expression.
Commissioner Ness served on the Federal Communications Commission from 1994 to 2001, where she played a leading role on spectrum policy and international diplomacy, championed competition, 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. She was the senior FCC official at three ITU World Radiocommunication Conferences and represented the FCC at many international 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 telecom and media 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 owning 62 television stations nationally. She previously served on the board of two other publicly traded companies. She is a board member of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an NGO that identifies and invests in extraordinary women worldwide. She is an affiliated expert of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and a steering committee member of the World Economic Forum Project on Advancing Global Digital Content Safety.
She previously served on the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, and was elected FFSB Vice Chair in 2012 and 2013. Formerly she was a member of the European Institute Board of Advisors and the U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy, and 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.
She earned an MBA in finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; a JD, cum laude, from Boston College Law School; and BA in political science/international relations from Douglass College (Rutgers University).