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Mark Penn

President & Managing Partner, The Stagwell Group
  • Advised top corporate and political leaders including former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair, and Menachem Begin
  • World-renowned strategist and thought leader whose work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal,, POLITICO, and more
  • Author of the new book Microtrend Squared: The New Small Forces Driving the Big Disruptions Today
  • Shares insights on cultural and business shifts driving disruption across industries and how to get ahead of it

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Throughout the course of his 40-year career in market-research, advertising, public relations, polling, and consulting, Mark Penn has advised top world leaders and led Fortune 100 corporations through periods of major disruption. He is the author of the new book, Microtrend Squared: The New Small Forces Driving the Big Disruptions Today, which is a follow-up to his New York Times best-selling book, Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes.

He is the president and managing partner of The Stagwell Group, a private equity fund that invests in marketing services companies and reinvents the traditional holding company model. Before founding The Stagwell Group, he served in senior executive positions at Microsoft, where as executive vice president and chief strategy officer, he was responsible for working on core strategic issues across the company, blending data-analytics with creativity to help set the company on a new course.

A globally-recognized strategist, Mark has advised corporate and political leaders in the United States and internationally. For six years, he served as White House Pollster to President Bill Clinton and was a key advisor in his 1996 re-election. The Washington Post remarked that no other pollster had ever become “So thoroughly integrated into the policymaking operation” of a presidential administration. Penn later served as chief strategist to Hillary Clinton in her Senate campaigns and 2008 Presidential campaign, devising her successful NY “upstate strategy” and creating the “3 AM” ad in the 2008 primaries. Internationally, he helped elect more than 25 leaders in Asia, Latin America, and Europe, including Tony Blair and Menachem Begin.

Penn is also an internationally-known thought leader whose writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal,, POLITICO, The Hill, and the Huffington Post. In a cover story, TIME Magazine called him “Master of the Message.”

Penn’s experience in growing, building, and managing agencies is well-documented. As the co-founder and CEO of Penn Schoen Berland, a market research firm that he built and sold to communications behemoth WPP, he demonstrated value-creation in a crowded industry, serving clients with innovative techniques from being first with overnight polling to unique ad testing methods used by presidents and major corporations. At WPP, he also became CEO of Burson Marsteller, and managed the two companies to record profit growth during that period.

Penn earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and attended Columbia Law School. He is a visiting lecturer at Harvard College, where he teaches courses on Public Opinion.

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Mark Penn: The Small Forces That Drive Business, Politics, & Culture

Mark Penn | The Rise of the Fringe Voter at TEDxHarvardCollege

Microtrends: The New Small Forces Driving the Big Disruptions Today. Mark Penn offers audiences a fast-paced and thrilling look at the rise of trends that are on the cusp of exploding into the mainstream conversation. From looking at the increase of personalization in business models to lifestyle changes and cultural shifts—including the rise of “Social Millionaires,” “The New Factory Worker,” and “2nd Fiddle Husbands”—Penn documents changes happening at a granular level and the ripples they’re making across swaths of society and industry. Hitting on everything from technology’s impact and why data is the new gold, to why businesses must think of themselves as experiences instead of products, this former Presidential advisor and Microsoft executive takes audiences on a roller coaster ride through the trends they need to know about now, plus how to begin taking advantage of them before it’s too late.

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