The Ford Foundation today announced the appointment of Alfred Ironside as its next vice president for Global Communications. Mr. Ironside will report directly to the foundation’s president, Darren Walker, and serve as an officer of the Board of Trustees. He joins an executive leadership team that includes the foundation’s seven other vice presidents.
Mr. Ironside has served as Ford’s director of communications since 2006, and has been integral to developing and executing a strategic vision that advances the mission and impact of the foundation and the organizations it supports. During his tenure as director, he built a robust and forward-thinking communications team, helped to develop the foundation’s global brand standards, guided a renewal of its online presence, and introduced social networking and strategic events. His strategy work with program teams and grantees in the U.S. and internationally has helped lead to important progress by organizations working on migration, human rights, poverty, and other issues.
Prior to joining Ford, Mr. Ironside served as chief of global media relations at the United Nations Children’s Fund, with spokesman duties during critical news events. Earlier, as UNICEF press officer for countries in crisis, he was dispatched to war and disaster zones in more than 30 countries. He is widely respected in the nonprofit communications sector for his ability to convey complex ideas to a wide audience.
“Alfred is a dynamic and trusted leader, a strategic thinker, and a forceful advocate for justice in societies around the world,” Mr. Walker said. “He implicitly understands my philosophy—that smart and strategic communications are essential to the foundation’s effectiveness, relevance and impact.”
Mr. Ironside’s experience in strategic communications spans many settings and situations: He served as a press attaché in the East Berlin Embassy for the United States Foreign Service, managing press relations during the Berlin Wall crisis, and later as a regional communications director for the American Red Cross. As a journalist, Mr. Ironside was a member of the team that launched the English edition of the Ha’aretz newspaper in Israel, and in the United States, he produced stories for ABC and NPR national networks from newsrooms in Indianapolis.
He earned his master’s degree in media administration from Syracuse University and received his B.A. in in political science and B.S. in communications from Butler University. He serves on the board of the Communications Network.