Elysha’s eureka moment around the power of strategic communications came while reading a book about Edward Bernays, the “godfather of public relations.” She learned how Bernays used branding and influence marketing to upend how companies sold products and wondered: If strategic communications could sell products so effectively, could it do the same for social justice causes?
For the last nearly 15 years, she has worked to answer that question with a definitive yes, working on issues ranging from LGBT rights to sustainable development.
Prior to joining Wonder, Elysha served as head of communications for Climate Policy Initiative. There, she supported marketing and development for new business models that have mobilized billions of dollars for climate action in emerging economies. She also led public affairs for economic analysis that played a key role in the lead-up to the Paris Climate Agreement, as well as for work that has influenced clean energy and environmental conservation policy globally.
Elysha lives with her family in northern Michigan where she is active in her local community. She serves on the board of her municipal electric utility, Traverse City Light & Power.
Why are you a strategist for good?
“I grew up, and now live, in northern Michigan. It’s easy for those of us in rural areas to be isolated, only getting exposure to other ways of thinking through media and experiences that we directly seek out. I am a strategist for good because I want to help to bridge political and cultural divides caused by lack of exposure and empathy for each other’s beliefs, values, and experiences.”
What’s your superpower?
“Strategy development and planning. I have played chess since a very young age. Sometimes I feel like I have giant chessboard in my mind when I start considering different angles for policy or advocacy work. I’m most at home when reading technical research and turning it into actionable insights.”
Who is your intellectual crush?
“Most recently, Greta Thunberg. She has mobilized a new social movement and utilized her platform to speak truth to power. I just hope the movement can focus on the effective, win-win solutions to climate change and environmental conservation that will move these issues forward next, and create the lasting change that’s really needed.”