March 24, 2009

March 24, 2009 | News Releases on Internet And Technology

Veteran Foreign Editor, D.C. Media Pro Guide Communications, Initiatives

Washington, March 24, 2009 --A veteran foreign correspondent and editor for The Wall Street Journal and a Washington media relations specialist are leading The Heritage Foundation's refocused communications and strategic marketing operations.

Mike Gonzalez

Michael M. Gonzalez, who covered the stock market for the Journal before editing its opinion pages in Europe and Asia during 11 years at the newspaper, joined Heritage yesterday as vice president of communications.

Genevieve Wood

Genevieve Wood, a familiar face in D.C. media, policy and political circles, was promoted earlier to vice president of strategic initiatives. Wood has honed strategic planning at the leading Washington think tank since 2006.

"Mike and Genevieve, and their departments, shoulder a big part of Heritage's mission to persuade the arbiters of tomorrow's political and pop culture that only conservative principles will build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish," Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner said in announcing the appointments.

Under Gonzalez, Communications will focus on day-to-day messaging and media relations across domestic and foreign policy fronts, as well as internal communications issues, Feulner said.

"Mike is a communications pro who is adept at analyzing the daily nexus of domestic politics, international relations, corporate strategy and global finance," Feulner said. "As a journalist, he has real-world experience on some of the fiercest frontiers of freedom, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and China."

Feulner noted that Heritage and the Journal, Gonzalez's former employer, co-publish the annual Index of Economic Freedom, which ranks nations by how free their peoples are to prosper.

Under Wood, Strategic Initiatives (a new department) concentrates on developing marketing plans and tools, especially to promote the 10 initiatives of Heritage's long-term "Leadership for America" campaign. They include reforming entitlements, improving health care and protecting America from its enemies.

"Genevieve brings formidable insight and media savvy," Feulner said. "She knows the turf better than most."

Wood, 40, oversees the Strategic Marketing, Strategic Operations, Creative Services and Online Strategy divisions. Gonzalez, 48, oversees Editorial Services, Broadcast Services and Strategic Communications.

Gonzalez is only the third communications chief in Heritage's 36-year history. He succeeds Rebecca Hagelin, who, after shepherding the organization into the new media age in six years as vice president, is focusing on selected projects as senior communications fellow. (Hagelin took over in 2002 from Herb Berkowitz, whose 25-year career at Heritage included creating and building the communications shop.)

A native of Havana, Cuba, Gonzalez emigrated to Queens, N.Y., with his mother and sister at age 14. He has a bachelor's degree in communications from Boston's Emerson College and a master's in business administration from Columbia Business School.

Gonzalez cut his teeth as a journalist with the Agence France-Presse wire service from 1987 to 1993, covering uprisings and warfare in such hot spots as Pakistan, Cyprus, Panama, Afghanistan and South Korea.

With the Journal, he was posted to Hong Kong in 1995 as deputy editor of the editorial pages of the Asia edition for three years. He then went to Brussels in 1998 as deputy editor of the editorial pages in Europe for five years before returning to Hong Kong in 2004, this time as editor of the pages.

While at the Journal, Gonzalez conceived of and commissioned the "Letter of Eight" -- a commentary by European leaders backing American action against Iraq. Published around the world in January 2003, it encouraged a pro-U.S. coalition led by Britain, Spain and Italy to challenge France and Germany's dominance of the European Union. The pundits both praised and criticized him.

Inspired by President George W. Bush's call for America to end tyranny around the world, Gonzalez left the newspaper in 2005 to take a speechwriting job at the Securities and Exchange Commission. He moved to the State Department in 2006 as communications adviser and speechwriter on European and Eurasian issues. He is fluent in Spanish and French, and reads Italian and Portuguese.

In 2008, Gonzalez became director of corporate affairs at First Solar, an Arizona-based manufacturer of solar-power modules. He and his wife, Siobhan, and their three children are in the process of moving to Bethesda from Long Island.

Wood, previously Heritage's director of strategic operations, was promoted to vice president late last year as she assumed responsibility for coordinating strategies to convey conservative policy solutions to Capitol Hill and Main Street alike.

Her priorities include promoting the new Heritage documentary on missile defense, "33 Minutes: Protecting America in the New Missile Age," and partnerships with talk radio giants Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity dubbed "Ask Heritage."

A native of Texarkana, Texas, Wood's 15 years of media experience include positions with NBC News in New York, National Public Radio in Los Angeles and the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.

Wood began to specialize in teaching public officials and others how to communicate before a camera or audience, and in 2005 formed W Media, a media training and video production company. Her clients included Heritage, American Legislative Exchange Council, Focus on the Family and Manhattan Institute. She also has conducted workshops for grassroots groups across the country.

A resident of Washington, Wood has appeared on the major cable networks and broadcast public affairs shows, including C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" and PBS' "To the Contrary." She holds a bachelor's degree in history from the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

The Heritage Foundation is the nation's most broadly supported public policy research institute, with more than 400,000 individual, foundation and corporate donors. Founded in 1973, it has a staff of 244 and an annual expense budget of more than $60 million.

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