- Adjunct Professor
Employer: Public Affairs Council
Title: Vice President
Chris Bender is Vice President at the Public Affairs Council, the leading international association for public affairs professionals with more than 700 member companies and associations. His nearly 20-year career spans the public, private and non-profit sectors and includes leadership roles in strategic communication, policy and advocacy. He sees public affairs as an essential business function, shaping the political and policy landscapes and guiding public perception. His approach includes quantifying public affairs work in financial terms and linking advocacy and communications strategies to organizational targets.
Chris and his team lead the Council’s growing executive education and research programs, develop customized training and benchmarking services for clients and expand the Council’s networks for international, political involvement, corporate social responsibility and association public affairs professionals. Chris and his colleagues conceptualize and host more than 100 annual events, including conferences, seminars, webinars and industry forums for public affairs professionals on public affairs management, lobbying, digital advocacy, global public affairs, corporate responsibility, PACs and campaign finance, crisis communication and other related functions.
Chris joined the Council from Adfero, one of Washington’s leading strategic communications and public affairs firms, designing and executing policy, regulatory and public relations strategies to grow, maintain or expand markets critical to customers. Before joining Adfero, he led North American public affairs for the global biotech company Novozymes, focusing on its energy, agriculture and household care portfolios. He helped craft the company’s external narrative, turning complex science into compelling stories, and expanding connections with key third-party stakeholders from NGOs to academic institutions. Chris previously served as press secretary and speechwriter for United States Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). He also served as communications director for Washington, DC Deputy Mayor Eric Price and speechwriter for Washington, DC Mayor Anthony Williams.
Chris is a member of the National Press Club, former chair of the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s communications committee and former vice chair of the American Cleaning Institute’s communications committee.
When not at work, you can find him doing yoga in a 106-degree room, cooking meat on his smoker or hoping the Los Angeles Chargers will make the playoffs.
M.P.S., The George Washington University, The Graduate School of Political Management
B.A., University of California, Los Angeles
Corporate Public Affairs