The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) announces the selection of Michael D. Murphy as vice president for communications. As the senior communications executive, he will lead strategic communications – both domestic and international – in service of the foundation’s mission, vision, values and strategic direction, and provide strategic counsel to the president and CEO, executive team and staff. Murphy will join the foundation on Oct. 4, 2021, and will report to La June Montgomery Tabron, WKKF president and CEO.
“Michael is a thoughtful leader with a breadth of experience in strategic communications. He brings a strong, authentic, collaborative spirit, with dedication to what WKKF calls our DNA – racial equity, racial healing, community engagement and leadership development,” says Tabron. “After a nationwide search, we are confident that he will partner with our leadership team, our staff and, most importantly, our grantees to advance meaningful change for children, families and communities.”
Since 2013, Murphy has been leading strategic communications, community engagement, public affairs and issues management for the Cleveland Foundation, the world’s first community foundation. As chief marketing officer, he was responsible for the foundation’s reputation and brand strategy, while leading the integrated marketing and communications team to articulate the mission, vision, values and goals of the Cleveland Foundation. A member of the executive committee, he collaborated with city, county, public and private officials to convene, catalyze and lead the community to strengthen Greater Cleveland’s movement toward equity and prosperity for all. He created award-winning community engagement efforts to align donor and civic interest with philanthropic opportunities, supported the development of a place-based public policy framework and was instrumental in establishing the new strategic direction and new headquarters of the Cleveland Foundation.
Previously, he held various positions in international communications firms, including managing director for Burson-Marsteller’s corporate/financial practice. He served as a senior counselor for Fortune 100 corporate and financial clients and launched corporate social responsibility and thought leadership platforms in various sectors.
He was a senior vice president and partner for Fleishman-Hillard (FH), implementing reputational campaigns and establishing coalition and community partnerships on behalf of national and grassroots clients. He managed the agency’s global FH Out Front practice group, focused on developing authentic engagement strategies connecting corporations to the growing influence of the LGBTQ+ community.
In 2007, he was senior manager, media relations at Fox News Channel, serving as the primary spokesperson for the Washington, D.C.-bureau, managing media relations for three 2008 presidential debates.
He began his career at Ketchum Public Relations in New York and Washington, D.C., in corporate and social marketing practices, managing external and internal communications campaigns, and served as the day-to-day client counselor on the Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Part D launch public awareness programs.
Murphy was a member of Class 37 of the Leadership Akron Signature Program and a Crain’s Cleveland Business: 40 under 40 honoree. His leadership of Telefonica’s millennial campaign with the Financial Times earned recognition as one of the World’s 50 Best PR Campaigns and a Gold SABRE award by The Holmes Group. He was also a recipient of The Greater Cleveland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America Gold Award and Best in Show. He is a member of The Communications Network, CommA, Independent Sector, Funders for LGBTQ Issues, The Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative, Philanthropy Ohio and the Council on Foundations.
An Ohio native, Murphy holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Relations and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Ohio University.