A Conversation on Diversity, Media and Kamala Harris | Brunswick Group

A Conversation on Diversity, Media and Kamala Harris

What might a Kamala Harris vice presidency look like? Will she play an integral role in policy and legislation in a Biden administration or will she be looking from the outside in on major decisions? What challenges might she face as the first woman of color in this position? And how will this shape the future for women in elected office?

A conversation on women in politics with leading Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator Karen Finney, Hampton University’s Assistant Dean of the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications Marisa Porto, and Brunswick’s Patti Solis Doyle. 

Despite facing continued systemic barriers, women are leading at nearly every level of government. They have been on major party presidential tickets in three of the last four elections, a record number of women are serving in Congress, and women are guiding states and cities through one of the most tumultuous periods in recent history. Following a historic vice-presidential debate, Brunswick convenes a conversation on diversity, media, and the public perception of these trail-blazing women who lead.

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Karen Finney, Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator 

A leading Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator, Karen Finney is an independent consultant working with political and corporate clients on crisis communications, branding, public affairs, polling and strategy. She was a Senior Advisor to Stacey Abrams’ Gubernatorial campaign, the Democratic National Committee and AL Media in the 2018 election cycle. Finney served as Senior Advisor for Communications and Political Outreach and Senior Spokesperson for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

From her experience working in media, national politics, political and communications strategy in both the public and private sectors, Finney brings a unique perspective to her work. She was a political analyst and hosted her own show on MSNBC, “Disrupt with Karen Finney.” Her experience includes work on four presidential campaigns as well as for both the President and First Lady during the Clinton Administration. Additionally, Finney served as the Democratic National Committee’s first African American spokeswoman, helping to lead the DNC’s communications strategy for the “50 State Strategy,” successful 2006 Congressional elections and 2008 presidential campaign. A former Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, Finney currently serves as Board Vice Chair for NARAL pro-choice America, Board Chair at Ultraviolet and a co-founder of Power Rising. Finney is also a Terker Fellow at George Washington University’s School of Journalism and Public Affairs.


Marisa Porto, Assistant Dean of the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, Hampton University 

Marisa Porto has an extensive background in financial, organizational and content leadership of media and business outlets as well as nonprofits and entrepreneurial journalism endeavors. She is an expert in content strategy, product development and product launch.

Before joining Hampton University in 2019, Porto was the business lead and editor of Tribune Publishing's Virginia Media operations, which was formed after the acquisition of Landmark Media news operations in Virginia. Her duties included news and business operations for eight sites, about 400 employees and more than 10 publications from Richmond, VA, to Morehead City, NC. The organization's largest publications include The Virginian-Pilot and the Daily Press.

An alumnus of the University of South Carolina, Porto has previously held leadership positions with news organizations in Florida, Delaware and Ohio. Porto is currently a member of the news advisory council of The Trust Project, a former executive in residence for the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the past president of the Virginia Press Association and a former member of Virginia’s Freedom of Information Advisory Council.

Patti Solis Doyle, Partner, Brunswick Group 

Patti Solis Doyle is a veteran political advisor and commentator, with more than 30 years of experience in politics, presidential campaigns, and public service. She served as an advisor to the Obama-Biden presidential campaign during the 2012 presidential election, and during the 2008 general election she was chief of staff for vice presidential operations. In that role, she built a national team of policy, communications, and political advisors before the nominee’s selection, and later managed day-to-day operations for vice presidential nominee Joe Biden. 

Solis Doyle was campaign manager for Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in 2007-2008 and managed her Senate re-election campaign before that. She also served as chief of staff to the First Lady’s first Senate campaign. Before that, she served as a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton throughout Governor Bill Clinton’s campaign and two terms in the White House.