Sarah Culvahouse Mills, a seasoned communicator, is The Heritage Foundation’s director of communications and media relations.
Mills is responsible for promoting Heritage’s policy priorities in print, broadcast and cable, and digital media. She leads the think tank’s broadcast and editorial services managers and teams to define, frame, and drive policy debates with high-impact communications campaigns.
This is Mills’ “second tour” at Heritage. In her first one, beginning in 2010, she stood up an initiative to deliver conservative messages to outside-the-Beltway audiences.
She led a regional media outreach team to raise awareness of Heritage research, analysis, and commentary among print, broadcast, and social media in targeted areas of the nation, producing over 5,000 broadcast interviews and more than 1,000 print placements in 2012. She managed the launch of the first Spanish-language website in Heritage’s history.
Mills was the communications team member responsible for delivering the think tank’s first-ever hosting of a presidential debate. The 2012 event featuring the Republican candidates, in partnership with the American Enterprise Institute, focused on national security and won 4 million viewers on CNN.
Before returning to Heritage in 2015, Mills was director of communications and brand program manager for the digital multimedia outlet PJ Media LLC. She also was Washington content strategist for the company’s brands, a community of more than 12.8 million readers and viewers.
Mills’ professional experience also includes service in the White House, work on political campaigns, and positions in broadcast and print reporting.
Before first joining Heritage in 2010, she created integrated advocacy campaigns, specializing in media and rebuilding reputations for Powell Tate | Weber Shandwick, the Washington-based communications and public affairs firm.
During the administration of President George W. Bush, Mills was an on-the-record assistant press secretary in the office of first lady Laura Bush, overseeing her regional press advance work and events for two years. Mills’ portfolio included policy initiatives such as global diplomacy, the Gulf Coast recovery, the Heart Truth campaign’s Red Dress Project, Helping America’s Youth, and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
Mills also was responsible for communications planning and implementation for the first lady’s social events, including production of the first-ever network morning show in the White House kitchen, media coverage of state and formal dinners, and holiday events such as the White House Easter Egg Roll.
Before going to work at the White House, she was part of a Republican National Committee broadcast team that coordinated, booked, and produced more than 300 surrogate interviews for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign with television stations in key markets.
She worked for two newspapers in metropolitan Washington, the Mount Vernon Gazette-Packet and Alexandria Times, as a staff and freelance writer from 1999 through 2008.
Mills was born Sarah Culvahouse in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Alexandria, Virginia. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in English language and literature from the University of Virginia.
Mills began a master’s degree in international affairs at Georgetown University, a project that sputtered after her first child joined the world.
She and her husband Jim and their three children currently reside in Alexandria, Virginia.