Director of Communications
The Ford Foundation
Alfred Ironside has been Director of Communications at the Ford Foundation since January 2006, where he guides a sophisticated strategic communications unit that supports the foundation’s diverse programs in the U.S. and in ten regions around the world.
He joined the foundation from the United Nations, where he served as Spokesman for Countries in Crisis and then as Chief of Media Relations for UNICEF. Over nearly seven years, Mr. Ironside traveled from East Timor to Ethiopia, North Korea to Liberia, acting as spokesman on breaking news and sensitive issues affecting children and women. Prior to joining the UN, Mr. Ironside was a member of the editorial team that launched the English edition of Ha’aretz, Israel’s leading newspaper, in conjunction with the International Herald-Tribune in 1998.
Mr. Ironside began his career as a news reporter at radio stations in Indianapolis and Philadelphia. In the late 1980s he spent three years in the U.S. Foreign Service as a press officer stationed in East Berlin, where he won commendation for his work during the Berlin Wall crisis. In the early 1990s he helped launch and served as Managing Director for the first Western advertising agency in Bulgaria, and in the mid-1990s he spent four years as a disaster spokesman for the Red Cross.
A native of Philadelphia, he holds Bachelors’ degrees in both political science and journalism from Butler University in Indianapolis, and a Master’s in Media Administration from the Newhouse School and the Graduate School of Business at Syracuse University.