Will Lead Institution’s Work in Communications, Marketing, Policy and Influencer Outreach, and Corporate Responsibility
Makini Nyanteh, a veteran communications leader who has worked in the private, public and non-profit sectors, has been named senior vice president and chief communications officer for the American Institutes for Research (AIR).
For the past six years, Nyanteh has been AIR’s vice president for communications and public affairs, leading a reimagination of AIR’s mission, vision and branding; improving efforts to elevate the institution’s work and expertise; and serving an integral role in the expansion of its philanthropic efforts. In her new position, Nyanteh will continue to lead AIR’s corporate communications, marketing and engagement, and strategic communications functions across all of AIR’s business units, while leading AIR’s expanded focus on policy and influencer outreach and corporate social responsibility.
“Makini Nyanteh has been a game changer for AIR. She has brought a strategic mindset and focus to our communications functions and eminence-building activities and has helped AIR navigate a time of tremendous change,” said David Myers, AIR President and CEO. “With her expertise and guidance, AIR is well positioned to increase its profile as an advocate for rigorous evidence, a thought leader, a corporate partner, and a workplace of choice.”
Nyanteh joined AIR in 2017 and has driven AIR’s brand and content strategy, public affairs, digital media, government outreach, internal and executive communications, publications and marketing. Under her leadership, AIR undertook a complete rebranding effort, launched a new institution website, and expanded its social media footprint. She has provided essential counsel through crises, emerging issues, and change, including the sale of AIR’s assessment division in 2019; the acquisition of two research and technical assistance companies in 2020; the effects of the pandemic; reverberations from an ongoing racial reckoning and political upheaval across the globe; and the successful launch of the AIR Equity Initiative, a $105 million investment in research and technical assistance to address the underlying causes of systemic inequities, explore viable solutions, and increase opportunities.
“It is exciting to work at an institution whose mission and values align so authentically with my own,” said Nyanteh. “I look forward to continued collaboration with our management team, the AIR Board, and our outstanding staff in making a real difference in the communities we serve in the U.S. and around the world.”
As chief communications officer, Nyanteh will lead efforts to position AIR as a resonant voice in the policy landscape, raising its profile as an honest broker and purveyor of evidence across a range of topics, including education, health, workforce development, human services, justice and equity. She will also lead AIR’s enhanced corporate social responsibility efforts, building partnerships with charitable organizations and operationalizing the institution’s connection with communities through outreach and employee volunteerism.
Nyanteh, reporting directly to the President and CEO, is a member of AIR’s executive leadership team and serves as the most senior communications advisor to AIR’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining AIR, she held communications leadership roles in the public and private sectors across several industries, including pharmaceuticals, utilities, consumer goods, consumer packaging, financial services and the federal government.
Nyanteh earned her bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and received a graduate certificate in Leadership Development from Johns Hopkins University. She enjoys adjunct teaching at the collegiate level and serves on several industry boards, including Washington Women in Public Relations, the Public Affairs Council, and the Greater Washington Boys and Girls Clubs, Montgomery County Chapter. She is also a past president of the International Association of Business Communicators, DC Metro Chapter.