Bridgett Wagner, one of the conservative movement’s best-known and well-connected leaders, is vice president for external relations at The Heritage Foundation.
Wagner oversees the leading think tank’s Coalition Relations, Lectures and Seminars, Young Leaders, and Strategic Outreach programs, among other duties. All are focused on spreading conservative principles, policies, and ideas among allies, public audiences, interns and young professionals, and new audiences.
Her responsibilities also include advising and consulting with fellow leaders in the private and public sectors.
Wagner previously was Heritage’s director of coalition relations since 1998, a position in which she drew respect for motivating, supporting, encouraging, counseling, and otherwise helping to build a vital network of conservative think tanks and issue-based organizations in the U.S. and around the world.
Wagner, who was promoted to vice president of external relations in May 2016, joined Heritage in 1981 as a research assistant and speechwriter for Ed Feulner, the think tank’s longtime president.
Her other roles at Heritage include director of development, director of business relations, and director of events for the think tank’s 25th anniversary “Leadership for America” campaign. As head of coalition relations, Wagner served as Heritage’s liaison to policy organizations, experts and activists at the state, national, and international levels. She advised other think tanks on ways to advance their policy prescriptions and built support for Heritage’s policy research agenda “beyond the Beltway.”
She organized Heritage’s annual Resource Bank meeting, a gathering of hundreds of conservative groups from across the nation and around the world to meet and discuss strategy. She also oversaw publication of Heritage’s quarterly magazine, The Insider.
Wagner’s work growing and strengthening the conservative movement, and her success at building diverse coalitions around key policy initiatives, were recognized internally with Heritage’s President’s Award.
The State Policy Network presented her with its Roe Award for achievements that advanced the free market philosophy, and the National Taxpayer Union presented her with its Happy Warrior for Taxpayer Freedom Award.
Outside Heritage, Wagner serves as a trustee at the University of Dallas and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. She is a director of the State Policy Network, the Foundation for Government Accountability and the Steamboat Institute. She is a member of the advisory boards of Docs4Patient Care Foundation, Talent Market, and the National Civic Arts Society. She is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and the Philadelphia Society.
Wagner, originally from Richardson, Texas, holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Dallas. She and her husband, Steve, live in Washington, D.C.