FORMER ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR IN THE WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION; SOCIAL IMPACT CREATIVE; POLITICAL STRATEGIST
Before joining Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die as Managing Director and Executive Producer, Brad Jenkins spent four years serving as President Obama’s Associate Director in The White House Office of Public Engagement. From The White House, he brought together creative executives, thought leaders, and some of the world’s biggest stars to advance the President’s agenda—culminating in the Emmy-award winning “Between Two Ferns” interview on the Affordable Care Act. Brad recounts this story in depth in West Wingers: Stories from the Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White House, a collection of personal stories by Obama Administration staffers.
Brad recently launched Enfranchisement Productions, a new DC-based creative and consulting agency. The agency will work with electoral campaigns, non-profits, start-ups, and brands, and will be involved in creative and political strategy: breakthrough messaging, videos, live events, and longform storytelling.
At Funny Or Die, Brad produced over 40 social impact campaigns with organizations, foundations, PACs, IEs, and committees. Most notably, he produced history-making campaigns for the start-up non-profit Rise which was founded by Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Amanda Nguyen. For his work at Funny Or Die, Brad was featured on CNN’s History of Comedy and he has won numerous awards including a Grand Clio, Halo Award for CSR, the Humanitarian of The Year from the Venice Family Clinic, and the Spirit of Innovation Award from the Asian American Victory Fund. Brad also served on the AAPI Board of Advisors for the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016.
In 2008, Brad served as the Deputy Director of Special Projects for President Obama’s election campaign, specializing in the intersection of youth media and grassroots engagement helping Obama turn out one of the largest youth vote totals in history. His campaign work was documented in MSNBC’s “Story Of Cool” - executive-produced by LL Cool J. Prior to joining the White House, he was the founding Vice President of Business Forward, a non-profit that brings entrepreneurs into the policymaking process. Before the 2008 campaign, Brad worked on the trading desk for the asset management firm, Farallon Capital in San Francisco, CA.
A proud New Jersey native, Brad graduated from the University of Virginia and now resides in Washington D.C. where he spends most of his spare time doing living room comedy sets for his 5-year old daughter, Sadie and 3-year old son, Oscar. Brad appears on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, CNBC, and is a board member of the Georgetown University Institute of Politics and Public Service.
THE POWER OF LAUGHTER: HOW COMEDY SAVED MILLIONS OF LIVES
As Associate Director for the Obama White House, Brad's job was to reach as many Americans across the aisle by breaking through misinformation and partisanship. Unfortunately, there was nothing more divisive than Obamacare. And, when healthcare.gov opened to millions of Americans there was a slight problem: it didn't work! In this talk, Brad recounts his background in the power of "laughing at yourself" growing up as a Half-Black / Half-Korean outsider in Trenton, New Jersey. That formative experience helped him produce an award-winning comedy campaign with Zach Galifianakis and President Obama that reached millions of Americans and inspired them to get healthcare for their families. At a time when people's trust in institutions are at an all-time low, comedy has become the last refuge for speaking truth to power. Learn how you can use the power of comedy for your company, organization, or mission.
THE SLEEPING GIANT HAS FINALLY AWOKEN: HOW THE YOUTH VOTE WAS ACTIVATED IN THE 2018 MIDTERMS
Millennials are the largest eligible voting bloc in America. Yet, year after year, millennials vote the least -- only 12% of Young Americans voted in the 2014 midterms. Instead of dissecting campaigns' failed strategies to reach young Americans, critics and pundits routinely blamed millennials for "not caring," being "self-absorbed," and "disconnected." So, consultants continued to double-down on older voters - wasting billions of dollars on television ads. That all changed in 2018. Youth vote totals broke records. What happened? This talk focuses on how young people and disruptive campaigns realized the power of positive and entertaining storytelling. In this talk, Brad recounts how Obama used digital culture to uplift communities and how new candidates and organizations followed suit. They met young people where they are -- on social media and in-person -- instead of through attack ads on television. Hometown heroes from Parkland to Flint to Brad's own White House intern (Amanda Nguyen) who is now a Nobel Peace Prize nominee -- brought unprecedented urgency and inspiration to democracy. Learn how you can use the power of digital storytelling for your work.