Natalie Adler

Photo of Natalie Adler

Senior Vice President
Washington DC
Posts: 8

Natalie brings over 20 years of social marketing, health communications, and public affairs experience to the management of large-scale campaigns for nonprofits, government agencies, and corporations. She has extensive experience in public health communications, crisis communications, and campaign planning through her oversight of prominent national and global programs on behalf of clients, such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Peace Corps, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Merck Vaccines.

Currently, Natalie serves as Project Director for Ogilvy’s BPA with USAID for Legislative and Public Affairs Surge Capacity Services. In this role, she led Ogilvy’s strategic planning, message development, creative materials development, and event productions efforts for the launch USAID’s new mission focus to end extreme poverty by 2030. On behalf of USAID’s Global Health Bureau, Natalie leads a separate project for USAID’s Global Grand Challenges which focuses on elevating the value of entrepreneurship and innovation to solve the most pressing global health problems in developing countries.

Natalie also serves as Senior Counsel to the Peace Corps’ marketing and communications efforts. In this capacity, she worked with the team to create a new brand strategy and identity that will serve as a roadmap for the Peace Corps’ future communications efforts—this includes realigning the organization’s brand platform in a way that strongly resonates with Millennials.

Innovating for a More Connected World

Feb 24

Through my work with USAID and the Peace Corps, I often have the opportunity to attend conferences that bring together key thought leaders on pressing international development issues. I thoroughly enjoyed a recent forum hosted by New America, “The Next Three Billion – Initiatives to Bring the Whole World Online.”

Experts from NGOs, and the public and private sectors, gathered to discuss how to more quickly bring 1.5 billion people around the world online by 2020. Attendees included representatives from the U.S. State Department, USAID, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and The ONE Campaign.

What’s at Stake?

Today, more than half of the world’s population (4 billion people) remains digitally disconnected, leaving them isolated and economically disadvantaged—especially in rural parts of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. There are several contributing factors including limited storage and memory on phones, unstable power sources, network congestion, bandwidth constraints, and cost-prohibitive data plans.

The development community understands that digital connectivity is a central issue for economic growth and development. In 2015, the State Department and the World Bank launched the Global Connect Initiative (GCI) with the goal of getting an additional 1.5 billion people online by 2020.


The conference focused on two key takeaways related to this issue.

Growing consensus to seize the moment. With the launch of GCI, there is growing acknowledgement among government leaders that Internet connectivity is as important as traditional infrastructure. In fact, 12 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals have directives around information and communications technology (ICT). In developing countries, this represents a shift in responsibility: until recently, finance ministers believed education ministers should address this issue. The need to help countries bolster their connectivity also has bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress and President Trump.

Public/private sector collaboration is critical. Tech evangelist Meghan Smith said, “…increasing connectivity is the most critical and extraordinary service work we can do, and every idea contributes to the greater good, whether it’s from industry, NGOs, local governments, high school students, or young children living in developing nations.” In other words, this is not just the responsibility of the tech industry; policy and advocacy are also needed, which includes:

  • Working with U.S. government and country leaders to institute policies that will catalyze the work that is happening overseas.
  • Urging national government officials from developing economies to prioritize connectivity. Mission-critical sites include rural schools and hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and South America.


Which Private Sector Projects Are Leading the Way?

Representatives from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and OneWeb discussed how their companies are bridging the digital divide.

Global wireless broadband strategies

Marian Croak, VP of Access Strategy at Google, discussed the company’s focus on creating more affordable and abundant access. She emphasized that there is no magical solution in technology or business—we must apply a variety of models to reach different communities in new ways. One of Google’s great successes has been working with Indian Railways and RailTel to increase WiFi access by layering in fiber along the tracks at train stations. To date, Google has built 112 WiFi hot spots that now have 6 million active users, including high school students who come to the stations to do their homework.

Google’s moonshot

Project Loon is another exciting project led by Google’s sister partner, X, which has built a network of balloons that travel at 20km within the stratosphere (above the weather) to provide connectivity for rural areas across the globe. To date, these balloons have flown over 16 million miles, transmitting high-speed Internet access to people’s handsets on the ground in Latin America. In 5 to 7 years, Google envisions that these balloons will provide sustained access to the most remote regions.

From fiber optics to satellite technology

Greg Wyler, founder of OneWeb, is building O3B (“other 3 billion”) Networks—the world’s fastest satellites connecting directly to homes and schools. OneWeb’s first goal is to connect every school in the world by 2022. Then, by 2027, they plan to completely bridge the digital divide by providing broadband access to anyone who wants it at a GDP-adjusted affordable rate. OneWeb expects to have launched at least 10 satellites by 2018.

Moving from scarcity to abundance

Bob Pepper, Head of Global Connectivity Policy & Planning at Facebook, discussed the need to identify and fill the gaps where people are still not connected or are “under-connected.” Facebook is testing the use of large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with the wingspan of a 737. These UAVs will use lasers to connect remote areas, or cities such as Mumbai, where fiber will not be installed in the near future. Another dimension to this issue is community awareness. To that end, Facebook launched Free Basics—a “skinny version” of Internet access that is non-exclusive to mobile partners. A key learning from this effort is that as soon as people get introduced to the basics, they want to ramp up for more sophisticated information, including video and imagery.

Moving forward—can we move even faster?

Cecilia Kang, National Technology Correspondent for The New York Times, asked an important concluding question: “You are all competitors with proprietary projects. Are there ways to work together to ensure greater efficiency?”

The collective response was optimistic: The tech industry recognizes that expanded connectivity also expands business opportunity. So the private sector has a vested interest in developing a sustainable business model that ensures universal access. These new technologies and innovations are not sold as a service and the business goal is simply to recover their costs.

The speakers adamantly agreed that there is also a genuine passion to achieve this goal. This mission is part of “doing good by doing well” and according to Facebook, creates a “virtuous cycle of growing the economy and creating more vibrant, educated societies.”

In just a few years at most, these innovations and collaborations will culminate with a flip of switch in expanding access to many more great minds. As a result, economic development and growth across the globe will get an unprecedented boost.

Top Picks from Day 2 of the Social Good Summit

Sep 20

Day 2 of the Social Good Summit was also very uplifting and attendees walked away with the clear directive to aim high and use your voice to affect change. Every talk was inspiring, but here are my top picks:

The Summit began with a big salute to the 17 UN Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) who were selected from more than 18,000 nominations. These leaders will work with the Office of the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth to engage young people on the most pressing SDGs. Winners included:

  • Ankit Kawatra, Founder and Chairman of Feeding India, founded Feeding India in 2014 to address two issues at once – hunger and food waste.
  • Trisha Shetty, Founder and CEO of SheSays, a platform to educate, rehabilitate and empower women to take direct action against sexual assault in India.
  • Samir Mezghanni, a Tunisian-Iraqi author of over 100 short stories for children and 14 books focused on advocating for youth empowerment in Tunisia.


Actor Alec Baldwin and activist Patricia Gualinga at the Social Good Summit. Image: Mashable

Actor Alec Baldwin and activist Patricia Gualinga at the Social Good Summit. Image: Mashable

Actor Alec Baldwin spoke with Ecuadorian advocate Patricia Gualinga about the dangers of de-forestation on climate change. Patricia explained that in order to reach our SDGs on climate change, as well as follow the Paris Climate Agreement, we must focus on protecting our forests. Indigenous people from countries such as Ecuador are not receiving enough support from their government to protect against illegal logging and extracting industries, and as a result, carbon will release into the atmosphere at faster rates. Indigenous people don’t want their trees destroyed.

You could hear a pin drop as Vice President Joe Biden delivered a passionate speech on the Cancer Moonshot. He stated, “at no time in history have we had so much power… available to make a difference for so many people.” Biden believes that “we can double the rate of progress towards curing cancer in if we all work together.” So here’s what governments, cancer research centers, drug companies and health care systems around the globe must do:

  • Data sharing and technology: Standardize data and make it easily accessible to researchers around the globe. Example: The Department of Energy will work with Norway to share cervical cancer screening data. Technology systems like IBM Watson can help researchers and clinicians work more efficiently.
  • Redesigning cancer clinical trials: Bring the FDA and the private sector together to design smarter and more efficient clinical trials by modifying the criteria for who can participate and by sharing control groups across studies.
  • Join with other nations to strengthen cancer research and treatment: To that end, Biden announced the creation of regional hubs funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), focusing on the cancers that pose the greatest problems in that region.
  • Continue research on more targeted treatments: Immuno-oncology drugs have significantly advanced the way we treat the most intractable cancers, such as melanoma and lung cancer. These treatments work in ways never imaginable – by boosting immune systems instead of killing healthy cells.


I am looking forward to next year’s Summit and hearing about the amazing progress we have made across a number of critical issues, especially in the areas of global cancer control, antibiotic resistance, gender equality and climate change. Ultimately, almost everything discussed over the course of the Summit is rooted in behavior change programs that work at the individual, community and policy levels.

3 Themes from Day 1 of the Social Good Summit

Sep 19

Social Good Summit logo

I am very excited to be attending the Social Good Summit at the 92nd Street Y. Day One of the Summit–which examines the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world–focused on the following themes:

  1. To address core problems facing the globe, change must happen at the individual, community, policy and corporate levels.
  2. Steps taken now that result in positive change will ensure our children and grandchildren live better lives.
  3. We cannot see lasting change here in the U.S. unless we all work together to help address issues affecting developing countries around the globe. The U.S. has an obligation to lead the charge; this is no different from how we helped Europe and Japan rebuild after WWII.


Against these themes, experts, thought leaders and entrepreneurs shared the specific ways we can make a difference and reach our Sustainable Development Goals, which in total, are a fundamental promise to save and protect lives around the globe. Here are some highlights:

Addressing Gender Equality Has a Positive Impact on Developing Nations

Societies benefit when women who have access to education, health care and food. However, in order to truly tackle gender equality issues, we must do several things:

  • Ensure there are more women in top government leadership positions. Said UNDP Helen Clark and Former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda: “Women in leadership have to be tougher. We need to roll out the carpet ourselves and kick down the door. And when you get to the top, drop the ladder down for others to follow.”
  • UNF’s Emily Courey spoke about the need to improve access to better data that provides a more complete picture of issues affecting women in developing countries.
  • Jean Case, founder of the Case Foundation, encouraged investment by VCs to fund female entrepreneurs to tackle the most daunting challenges around gender inequality.


Using Technology for the Sake of Humanity

In order to truly seed innovation at a rapid pace, film producer and entrepreneur Mick Ebeling says we must embark on a “Revolution against the absurd.” That means following this simple rule: “Elect to commit and then figure it out.”

In other words, say “yes” to tackling an issue even before you have a solution. That philosophy has already resulted in major breakthroughs. Just recently, Mick lead the creation of an eye writer for an ALS patient who was completely paralyzed and created a 3-D prosthetic for a young boy in Sudan who lost both his arms in a bombing.

Teddy Goff, Chief Digital Strategist for Hillary Clinton, spoke of the importance of storytelling through video. Video shared via social media reveals injustices. The downside: the rapid pace of profiling injustices fuels feelings of slowness to address society’s greatest problems.

Launching behavior change programs that spark a global movement can turn the tide around key issues affecting developing nations, including climate change and antibiotic resistance.

We heard the head of the GAVI Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, discuss how fighting anti-microbial resistance (aka the emergence of super bugs) – requires the collaboration of policy makers, people, pharmaceutical companies and physicians on the proper use of antibiotics to treat infections. Otherwise bugs will continue “to have sex” at a crazy pace.

According to Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy for El Nino and Climate, we need a global movement not for climate change, but for climate justice. This means elevating climate change as a social issue because it must occur in a way where land rights are respected and gender equality is ensured.

More to come! On today’s agenda Vice President Joe Biden, Alec Baldwin and Jane Goodall.


Social Marketing in Europe

Apr 13

On day two of the WSMC, in addition to many thought provoking sessions, we were surprised (and elated) when some of us got to meet the Dalai Lama in the lobby! But, back to the conference…this morning I attended a very interesting session on Social Marketing initiatives in Europe, featuring Professor Jeff French, founder and organizer of the conference, and Dr. Christine Domegan of the National University of Ireland, Galway. I caught up with them after for a quick interview on some of the session’s key takeaways. Check them out:

The 4Ps of Social Marketing: Are They Still Relevant?

Apr 12

The Marketing Mix, also known as the 4Ps of Social Marketing, is the combination of Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.  Yesterday, we heard  a very dynamic debate at WSMC on whether the 4Ps are still an important intervention tool for Social Marketing practitioners.

Sue Nelson, Social Marketing Director, Kindred (UK), and Clive Blair-Stevens, Director, Strategic Social Marketing (UK) argued to abandon the 4Ps, as they believe it has lost its practical application as technology and social media 2.0 have evolved.  Mark Blayney Stuart, Head of Research, the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK) and Nancy Lee, President, Social Marketing Services, Inc. and University of South Florida/University of Washington, argued to  retain the 4Ps as they believe it is an important tool that enable practitioners to speak in one voice and in one language.  A vote was taken at the end of the debate in favor of keeping the 4Ps.  Hear both sides of the debate below:

From WSMC: What is Social Marketing 2.0

Apr 12

Today marked the start of the of the 2nd World Non-Profit & Social Marketing Conference.  Matt Escoubas and I had the opportunity to conduct FlipCam interviews with several presenters at the conclusion of their presentations.  We’ll be posting our interviews on the Social Marketing exChange this week; I kick it off below with Dr. Jay Bernhardt on Social Marketing 2.0.

Dr. Jay Bernhardt (@jaybernhardt), Professor and Chair of Health Education and Behavior at the University of Florida, spoke at the opening plenary session on Social Marketing 2.0: the emergence of social marketing 2.0 strategies and the changing paradigm of “place” within the social marketing mix.  According to Dr. Bernhardt, these channels and platforms such as participatory social media and mobile devices allow for increased and sustained reach and have the potential to revolutionize distribution channels by leveraging location and personalization.  In other words, this allows us to put the “Product” it the “Right Place” and the “Right Time” for every customer.  Here’s a quick recap from Dr. Bernhardt:

Stay tuned for more posts throughout the day and week. Join the conversation below or on Twitter with #WSMC.

Ogilvy Hosts July 15 Panel Discussion: “How Social Change Happens in the 21st Century”

Jul 12

On Thursday, July 15 from 8-10 am, Ogilvy’s Social Marketing Group will host a panel discussion titled, “How Social Change Happens in the 21st Century.” The event will be held at Ogilvy’s office in Washington, DC (1111 19th Street, NW, 10th Floor).

Social change happens across multiple levels—among individuals and their networks, within social and economic environments, and through social policy. The panel will explore questions such as: How can marketing and communications professionals bring stakeholders together from all levels (e.g., communities, policy-makers, corporations) to inspire action and create public health programs that have a lasting effect? What are the most significant challenges and opportunities professionals face in bringing about change today, and how has this shifted over the past decade? How do we craft clear, compelling, and consistent messages when the science behind the messages is always changing? How will recent developments in health reform influence the goal of creating a “prevention culture?”

We have brought together some of the nation’s leading experts to debate these public health issues:

• Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, Director, Heart Failure Program at Long Island Jewish Hospital, and frequent contributor to The New York Times
• Bill Novelli, Professor, McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University
• Mary Grealy, President, Healthcare Leadership Council
• Robert Davis, President and Editor in Chief of Everwell TV, Adjunct Professor at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, and author of “The Healthy Skeptic.”

If you are unable to attend, we encourage you to submit questions through this site. Submitted questions will be posed to panelists and their answers will be posted on this site following the session.

How Social Change Happens in the 21st Century

Jun 03

I am excited to report that on July 15, Ogilvy’s Social Marketing Group will be hosting an important and timely panel discussion entitled, “How Social Change Happens in the 21st Century.”  Social change happens across multiple levels – among individuals and their networks, within social and economic environments, and through social policy.  Our panel will explore the following questions:  As marketing and communications professionals, how can we bring stakeholders together from all levels (e.g., communities, policy-makers, corporations) to inspire action and create programs that have a lasting effect?  What are the most significant challenges and opportunities professionals face in bringing about change today?

We have brought together some of the nation’s leading experts to discuss these issues. Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, director of the Heart Failure Program at Long Island Jewish Hospital, as well as author and contributor to The New York Times, will address the complexities around why individuals make certain health decisions, and the implications those decisions have on our health care system.  Bill Novelli, professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, will discuss how the intersection of social marketing and policy affects change, and the need to put new policies in place that change how we live and plan our communities. Debbie Witchey, executive vice president of the Health Leadership Council, will address the implications of health care reform and the importance of cultivating public-private partnerships and increasing collaborations among government, community, policy, industry, and academic organizations.

Dr. Jauhar’s latest opinion piece was featured in the Health and Science section of The Times.  Dr. Jauhar asks one of the toughest questions we are grappling with today: who should pay for bad health habits?  He weighs the value of punitive measures to force healthy behavior versus incentives for good behavior, and says the proof so far is that neither work.  Instead, social marketing offers the best solution:  “Healthy living should be encouraged, but punishing patients who make poor health choices clearly oversimplifies a very complex issue. We should be focusing on public health campaigns: Encouraging exercise, smoking cessation and so on. Of course, this will require a change in how we live, how we plan our communities.”

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing additional insights from our panelists and other leading experts on this topic.  I will also post some key insights shared by panelists and the audience on July 15. Stay tuned!