Susan Ness is a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission and the founder of Susan Ness Strategies, a communications policy consulting firm. She is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). She frequently lectures on domestic and global communications policy and on women’s leadership.
At the SAIS Center, she focuses on information and communications technology policy issues and the transatlantic partnership. She also created the SAIS Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom, and launched the website www.boardroomdiversity.org as a repository for research, articles and documents on boardroom diversity initiatives around the world. The SAIS Center will host its fourth Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom on Friday, September 20, 2013.
Commissioner Ness served on the Federal Communications Commission from 1994 to 2001, where she played a leading role on spectrum policy issues, 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 standard for digital television. Internationally, she was FCC's senior representative at three ITU WRC conferences and participated in many bilateral and multinational negotiations on trade, spectrum, and standards.
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 Gannett Co, Inc (NYSE-GCI). She is vice chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which oversees the Fulbright scholarship program. She also is a member of the board of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an NGO that identifies and invests in extraordinary women worldwide, and is an affiliated expert of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). She previously served on two other publicly traded company boards. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, the Federal Communications Bar Association, and Women Corporate Directors (WCD). Her prior Montgomery, Maryland civic leadership positions include: 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 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 received a B.A. in political science/international relations from Douglass College, and served on the board of directors of WRSU Radio (Rutgers University). She studied multilingualism in Geneva, Switzerland with Sarah Lawrence College during her junior year. She earned a J.D., cum laude, from Boston College Law School, and an M.B.A. in finance from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania. Languages: French; limited Spanish, German & Dutch.