Vanessa Wakeman is a bold visionary and futurist in the world of social change. Since launching The Wakeman Agency in 2003, she has been recognized as a champion for nonprofits and progressive organizations. Her deep knowledge about the politics of social change, and mastery at advancing the efforts of nonprofits, has made her a trusted advisor to organizations around the country.
Vanessa has spent more than a decade as an advisor, counseling organizations on approaches to generate revenue and build influence for mission-driven causes. She provides powerful insights into the challenges facing the nonprofit community, identifying opportunities to leverage their social capital and the emotional pulse of stakeholders, to drive change. As a futurist, Vanessa helps organizations evaluate the past and present, to develop strategies and study trends, to shape a desired future.
Through her work, Vanessa has been consistently recognized by the public relations and special events industries, for evangelizing innovation and disruption in the nonprofit sector. This year, PRNews named her as one of 50 PR Game Changers of 2017 and she earned a spot on PRWeek’s list of 2017 Champions of PR, amongst a prestigious group of other female PR professionals. Most recently, she was honored by 914Inc. magazine, as one of 22 key “Women in Business” in the New York City region. Vanessa has been quoted by Crain’s, The New York Daily News, Black Enterprise, ABC Eyewitness News, Smart Money, Westchester magazine, Philanthropy Journal, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and other key media outlets. She is a Huffington Post contributor, writing on issues related to thought leadership and the nonprofit sector. Vanessa also hosts the weekly podcast, The Social Change Diaries, where she interviews influential leaders about today’s most relevant issues in the nonprofit sector. She is also a member of the PRSA Foundation Board of Directors.
Consistently acknowledged as an innovative leader with a proven track record of shaping the trajectory of organizations, Vanessa’s career milestones began as early as high school, where she organized workers at her after-school catering job to advocate for better working conditions. At The Wakeman Agency, Vanessa has led highly impactful campaigns for U.C.L.A.’s Civil Rights Project, Metropolitan College of New York, YWCA of New York City, YWCA of Silicon Valley, New York Urban League, The Africa America Institute, ROC-NY, Real World Scholars and other nationally recognized organizations.
In 2016, as a natural extension of her years of PR coaching for nonprofit executives and leaders, Vanessa launched http://thewakemanagency.com/sheroars, the first thought leadership program for women in the social change sector. Through her writing, speaking, and leadership, she seeks to create a revolution that amplifies the voices of women working in the nonprofit world, with the goal of developing 2,020 female thought leaders by the year 2020.