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Denise Burgess ’84

An award-winning, former American diplomat, Denise Burgess is a national security and communications expert, and an experienced general manager with a successful track record of initiating reform, developing comprehensive reorganization plans, and leading change. A 17-year veteran of the Foreign Service, Burgess represented the U.S. in multiple African countries, Europe, Mexico and India.  Among other responsibilities, she led U.S. public diplomacy abroad, delivering effective programming to promote U.S. policies to foreign decision-makers, opinion-leaders and the general public. A seasoned, global crisis communicator, Burgess served on the front lines of the State Department’s media management and internal information flow during numerous international emergencies, including the African Embassy Bombings. As a general assignment, on-air correspondent for CNN, Burgess covered national and international news, reporting live from Baghdad during the war. Following her work as a reporter, Burgess launched Burgess Belgrave, a strategic planning and communications consulting company. Her clients included a luxury-clothing start-up, an established Italian winery, as well as a variety of non-governmental and governmental organizations. Burgess was a trusted, senior advisor to the Director of the Pentagon’s Afghanistan Reconstruction Group and to the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  As the Senior Advisor to the Undersecretary of South Sudan’s new Ministry of Defense she   drew upon her diverse experience to provide organizational development expertise and strategic analysis. In the Democratic Republic of Congo she served as an international non-profit Director for the International Republican Institute and the Carter Center, where she was responsible for field operations, staff security, financial management, and long-term planning.  For the Carter Center she led a staff of 30 professionals through a violent political period that directly challenged the Center’s programming. In both assignments she reprogramed development funds to address equality for women. Most recently, as the CEO of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, Burgess focused her efforts on promoting diversity and inclusion throughout the organization. A Boston native, Burgess holds a BA in Politics from Princeton University and a MS in Communications Management from Syracuse University.


Global Rights of Girls and Women

Saturday, October 6


Denise Raquel Dunning *01, Founder & Executive Director, Rise Up


Denise Burgess ’84, CEO, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts

Cynthia L. Drakeman ’02, Chief Executive Officer, Double X Economy

Bindiya Patel *02, Senior Director of Planning and Design, Global Health Programs

Suman Sureshbabu *07, Associate Director, The Rockefeller Foundation