40 Under 40 2017: Jonathan Rosen

Principal and cofounder, BerlinRosen, 38

Jonathan Rosen was only 26 when he cofounded BerlinRosen with Valerie Berlin in 2005. The duo built an agency on the idea there was a market for companies, organizations, and candidates looking for a PR firm that operates with the speed and intensity of political campaigns.

Over the past 12 years, BerlinRosen has grown from a two-person shop started in an NYC apartment to a 110-person firm with offices in New York; Washington, DC; and Los Angeles. It also touts a client base composed of the world’s top companies, nonprofits, foundations, and candidates.

Few, if any, agency founders or principals Rosen’s age are running firms the size of BerlinRosen or achieving the same level of success. He led public affairs and comms strategy for the 13 leading philanthropies, including the Ford Foundation, where he was behind the Detroit "Grand Bargain" to settle the city’s bankruptcy. He also guided the rollout of Ford Foundation CEO Darren Walker’s program strategy focused on inequality.

The agency leader helped win a living wage for more than 20 million Americans through the Fight for $15 campaign, including planning and implementing a comms campaign that prompted Wal-Mart to raise pay for 500,000 workers. Rosen also launched the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance alongside corporate partners such as Google, Discovery, and Ralph Lauren.

His work has impacted conversations around global sustainability through activations for The Nature Conservancy, Southern Environmental Law Center, and National Geographic. He has also left a mark on health issues with the research and global communications program and message platform he developed for UNICEF, which elevated the benefits of breastfeeding.

Rosen has continuously recognized the needs of the market and expanded BerlinRosen beyond its roots in politics and public affairs to become a strategic, one-stop shop for clients looking to elevate their profiles and advance their causes. The firm, which has 12 consecutive years of double-digit growth and is on track to hit the mark again in 2017, now offers its clients a full portfolio of services from media relations and political campaigns to a creative services division and robust digital practice.

  • Through the launch and leadership of BerlinRosen’s real estate, hospitality, and lifestyle practice, Rosen has led groundbreaking campaigns for iconic hospitality and mixed-use developments.
  • He launched Alphabet (formerly Google) Sidewalk Labs with CEO Dan Doctoroff and continues to serve as AOR for the company.
  • Over four election cycles, Rosen worked with partner Valerie Berlin for candidates and party committees in one of the toughest media markets in the world.

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