Margaret Dunning, FINN managing partner, higher education to retire
December 14, 2023
NEW YORK — Global independent marketing and communications firm FINN Partners announced today that industry leader Margaret Dunning will retire effective Dec. 31, following four decades in communications and 10 years as managing partner of FINN’s Higher Education practice.
Dunning joined FINN Partners when the firm acquired leading education PR agency Widmeyer Communications in 2013. Over the past decade, Dunning led and grew FINN’s Higher Education practice, working with colleges and universities, nonprofits and companies, providing deep expertise in crisis communications, issues management, media strategy and long-term client positioning. At Widmeyer, Dunning led the Washington, D.C. office and was its Chief Strategy Officer. Her illustrious career spans PR, television production, public service advertising and government service. Dunning has served on numerous boards of trustees throughout her career, including Trinity Washington University, Federal City Council and The Economic Club of Washington D.C. She was an advisor to the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications and to the American Red Cross’ Office of Public Affairs. Dunning was the inaugural recipient of The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.’s Individual L.E.A.D (Learn, Explore, Achieve, Deliver) Impact Award for her efforts in support of the David M. Rubenstein scholars. Dunning also participated in Leadership Greater Washington and is a recipient of Washington Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” Award.
“As everyone who has worked with her knows, Margaret has not only been a fantastic colleague, but an embodiment of our values, helping to build and nurture the culture that defines and sustains FINN Partners. I hold her in the highest esteem and am deeply appreciative of her many contributions to our success,” said Peter Finn, CEO and founding managing partner. “Since Margaret joined the FINN Partners fold, we have worked with numerous high-caliber university and education clients. We are fortunate that she will continue as a crisis consultant for the firm’s college and education clients.”
FINN Education Practice Now Exceeds $10 Million, Making it One of the Largest in the Sector
FINN’s Higher Education team will merge with FINN’s PK12 Education practice, with staff primarily in New York and Washington D.C., and a global client roster. Managing Partner Marina Stenos, who also joined FINN in 2013 via the Widmeyer acquisition and is a globally recognized STEM and education equity expert, will lead the combined team. Jennifer Robinson, who joined FINN in 2014 via the acquisition of gabbegroup, a boutique firm specializing in higher education, health care and philanthropy, will lead higher education work and report to Stenos.
This combined team is part of the firm’s larger 70-person global education practice, with teams in New York, Washington, D.C., Nashville, London, Chicago, Madison Wis., and Los Angeles.
FINN’s global education team covers the entire education ecosystem with the top-ranked practice and an unmatched bench of expertise. The firm’s education services include strategic communications, advocacy and community engagement, public affairs, thought leadership, content development, advertising/digital marketing, CSR and social impact, crisis and issues management, brand strategy and research.
Clients cut across philanthropy, nonprofits and associations; PreK-12 school districts and charters, public and private colleges and universities; and public, corporate and advocacy organizations; government entities looking to communicate with parents, students and educators; and EdTech, as well as other businesses looking to market to and communicate with the education sector.
This peerless work has resulted in the practice passing the $10 million mark, making FINN’s education practice one of the largest among PR agencies.