Susan Trabucchi provides counsel to philanthropies and mission-driven organizations on strategic planning, communications, marketing and audience engagement. She brings to her consultancy more than two decades of experience in philanthropy and nonprofit management, with a special expertise in brand strategy, digital media, alliance–building, and large-scale community engagement campaigns.
Before launching her business, Trabucchi worked for the Fetzer Institute, where she directed a multi-million dollar program that invested in media, technology, and civic engagement projects to help advance the foundation’s mission. She built effective and sustained partnerships with leading and emerging media/technology innovators, including NPR’s StoryCorps, On Being with Krista Tippett and PBS’s Bill Moyers Journal. She also forged an innovative partnership with TED – the first such collaboration with a U.S. foundation for the technology and media powerhouse. Thanks to Fetzer’s support of the launch of Karen Armstrong’s TED Prize project, the Charter for Compassion, Trabucchi played a central role in the design and oversight of a multi-year, global outreach campaign that included more than 175 nonprofits and NGOs in 32 countries. The alliance with TED also established the model for TED’s subsequent partnerships with private foundations.
Prior to philanthropy, Trabucchi worked on behalf of public-interest media and education. She served as director of marketing and brand strategy for PBS’s flagship history series, American Experience, where she directed more than 24 national publicity and education campaigns on a range of film topics. She also planned national press conferences, special events on Capitol Hill, and the series’ annual presence at the Sundance Film Festival. Most notably, Trabucchi designed and directed the most extensive marketing and community engagement campaign in the series’ history. In support of We Shall Remain, a five-part documentary on Native history, she forged national partnerships with the Heard Museum, the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian, the American Library Association, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She also created a national network of community-based coalitions that included public libraries, schools, museums, state humanities councils, cultural institutions, Native associations and tribes, as well as public radio and television stations across the country. Through the success of this We Shall Remain, Trabucchi established an integrated model for American Experience‘s approach to marketing and community engagement that continues to guide the series work.
Trabucchi also directed communications and external relations for MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, producer of PBS’s The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, where she developed and managed relationships with the national press corps, U.S. policymakers, White House staff and corporate underwriters – as well as senior leaders at PBS and 300+ local public television stations around the country. She also create created an innovative alliance between Random House and PBS by designing and managing an 18-city publicity tour for Jim Lehrer that connected – for the first time – the publication of Lehrer’s novels with stewardship events for PBS donors across the country. This fruitful collaboration served as the template for similar work over the next 13 years; ending only with Lehrer’s retirement.
In higher education, Trabucchi managed fundraising programs for Georgetown University, Macalester College, and the Minnesota Private College Fund. She began her career on Capitol Hill, where she served as a legislative assistant to then-Congressman Judd Gregg. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she holds a master’s degree in American Studies from Georgetown University.
An entrepreneurial and creative leader, Trabucchi is also a writer, photographer and digital artist – and a principal in the South Haven, Michigan-based design firm Ruby Shoes Media.