Comms head Elizabeth Weinreb Fishman exits Sesame Workshop

Fishman will work at a super-popular Brooklyn bakery while she mulls over her next move within the comms industry.

Fishman has worked at Sesame Street for seven years.
Fishman has worked at Sesame Street for seven years.

NEW YORK: Sesame Workshop communications leader Elizabeth Weinreb Fishman is leaving the organisation at the end of the month.

While she mulls over possibilities for her next role in communications, she is temporarily working as a baker at L’Appartement 4F, a breakout bakery in Brooklyn, one day a week. Fishman, who refers to herself as a "serious amateur" baker, won first place in a baking contest judged by celebrity chef Julia Child when she was in college. 

She called the Brooklyn Heights bakery a "viral sensation" that frequently has lines around the block and is sold out of popular items by 10 a.m.  

“It is fun to be part of this magical place and fulfilling one of my great passions,” Fishman said.

Fishman has no intention of permanently donning an apron. She fully plans to remain in communications. 

"There are some incredibly compelling purpose-driven brands and organizations that I have been speaking with," she said. "I am enjoying all of the conversations I’ve been having and also taking my time to decide what I do next." 

Fishman is exiting her role as VP of strategic communications and head of communications at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, after seven years. Instead of being directly replaced in her position, Fishman’s responsibilities are being divided between Beatrice Chow and Hallie Ruvin. 

The nonprofit promoted Chow to VP of PR and publicity from assistant VP of strategic communications and named Ruvin as VP, overseeing brand narrative and thought leadership, from senior director of strategic communications. 

Chow and Ruvin will report to CMO Samantha Maltin until the organization creates an SVP role, overseeing brand marketing, publicity, narrative and events to create a more holistic global brand management team. 

Fishman said she is leaving because she is ready for a new challenge.

“Sesame Workshop is in a category of one,” said Fishman. “It has been an incredible honor to work here. The purpose, people and passion are unparalleled. Our work is needed now more than ever and because of that it has been incredibly rewarding.” 

Before joining Sesame Workshop, she worked at Columbia Journalism School for 12 years, managing strategic communications, media relations and special events. Fishman also was an associate producer for 60 Minutes at CBS News from 1997 to 2003.

“I look at a story through the lens of a journalist,” said Fishman. “I can deliver something like a 60 Minutes story because I understand what is needed and the elements you need for good storytelling.” 

She added that one of her “great joys” at Sesame Workshop was successfully pitching a story to 60 Minutes in 2017 about a muppet named Julia, who has autism, joining Sesame Street

“Sesame Street had never been covered by 60 Minutes before and they actually ended up producing two stories about Sesame – one was a general piece with Julia as the hook, and the second was about our humanitarian work with refugees,” said Fishman.

Sherrie Rollins Westin, president of Sesame Workshop, said in an emailed statement that Fishman has made a significant impact on the organization over the past seven years.

“Her strategic thinking and deep understanding of communications has earned powerful attention for our work around the world,” said Westin. “Another part of [Fishman’s] lasting legacy is the team she built, who have delivered extraordinary results and whom she has elevated to succeed her. We will miss her.”

Sesame Workshop’s website describes its mission as helping children “grow smarter, stronger and kinder.” The nonprofit has a presence in more than 150 countries, where it works with children through media, formal education and philanthropically funded social impact programs.

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