brenda foster

“I’m energized by the endless opportunities to be creative and effective in this industry. Every single day, I discover a new way to deliver information to the audiences we need to reach. The growing use of images and storytelling in our business is particularly exciting, because it helps us personalize incredibly complex, but critical, human issues.”

Memorable professional moments:

  • Standing on a Virginia mountaintop with President Bill Clinton as he issued an Executive Order permanently protecting America’s national forests — the result of a year-long, strategic advocacy campaign.
  • Watching Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews celebrate 30 years of progress toward a family farm-centered food system, knowing that I’ve had a part in shaping that direction since Farm Aid’s 10th anniversary.
  • Seeing confidence grow among youth with mental health disorders and their families, as they learn new communications and public speaking skills to help them advocate for themselves and others in their communities.

People often find it interesting that …
I got my first “journalism” job when I was just 14 years old. I was the voice of Hickory the Elf for western Pennsylvania’s WWIZ-FM radio. I told jokes, recorded holiday commercials and read children’s letters from Santa Claus. One night I got to the studio too late to preview the letters, so I cracked up laughing on the air when a kid asked Santa for new underwear. Surprisingly, they decided I was too charming to fire.

What does people-first mean to me?
When I began my career, I knew that I wanted to do something that would make a difference. After transitioning from journalism to PR, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a job where people were more important than products. At exactly the right time, I learned about Vanguard. I’m often asked why I’ve stayed at this firm for so long. It’s because every single day, I work with people I care about while working to help people I care about. It’s a dream come true.

My credentials

  • M.P.A., George Mason University
  • B.A., Journalism, Penn State University
  • Chair, Manassas Park City School Board
  • Adjunct Instructor, American University

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