BerlinRosen’s Principal and Co-Founder Valerie Berlin was on the 2020 Out 100 list honoring the most impactful LGBTQ+ leaders of the year. She appears alongside trailblazers such as artist Janelle Monáe, Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson, journalist Rachel Maddow, and Vice-Presidential Chief of Staff Karine Jean-Pierre.
Having founded BerlinRosen, a strategic communications firm, with Jonathan Rosen 15 years ago, Valerie Berlin has elevated marginalized voices through targeted campaigns, initiatives, and elections across many intersections, including racial and criminal justice, women’s health, and immigration reform. This year, BerlinRosen played an integral role in supporting Democratic candidates like Pete Buttigieg, helping recruit 500,000 new poll workers ahead of the election through its work with the nonpartisan initiative Power the Polls, shaping the national communication strategy for the multiyear Flint water crisis litigation, and much more.
“I’ve learned a ton in this moment about resilience, creativity, and humor,” she says. “First, people are incredibly resilient — in spite of everything, our team shows up, gives their all, and supports each other, and the outpouring of compassion in the face of evil is sustaining. Secondly, crises force us to be creative. If someone told me a year ago that we couldn’t leave our homes and will need to do our work from 200 separate locations, I would have said it couldn’t be done. But here we are, doing it, and finding new ways for clients to reach their audiences, tell their stories, and move their issues forward, all while being there for one another in this isolating environment.”
As for what lies ahead in the communications industry overall, she says it’s never been more important to meet people where they are. “Communicators need to be versatile, well-rounded pros who know how to tell stories across every platform — from The New York Times to an individual journalist’s Substack account to a niche podcast to an Instagram Live with a celebrity in another field,” she says. “We need to look everywhere to tell stories and tell them well.” Of course, one should always make time for a laugh. “Without finding something to laugh about amidst all the pain, I don’t know how we would survive. Thank the lord for Sarah Cooper videos!”
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