Melissa Waggner Zorkin CEO and Founder WE Communications | PR Agency and Integrated Marketing

Melissa Waggener Zorkin

Global CEO

Global CEO

Melissa Waggener Zorkin is the founder and Global CEO of WE Communications, one of the largest independent communications agencies in the world. With more than 1,500 employees, WE Communications is a powerhouse agency in over 100 international markets and has made a substantial impact in the communications industry across the globe.

Melissa has cultivated partnerships with revolutionary brands, including Microsoft, Pfizer, General Mills, Nike and others, while keeping purpose at the center of the agency and her career. She uses a simple yet powerful formula for success, putting people and purpose at the heart of every decision. Melissa stays true to the agency’s mission to use the gift of communication to inspire positive action, for clients and the world.

She is an inductee of the PRWeek Hall of Fame, as well as the PRWeek Hall of Femme and the ICCO Hall of Fame. Under her leadership, WE has been recognized as PRovoke North America’s Technology PR Agency of the Year. PRWeek named WE as one of its Best Places to Work since 2020. And since 2019, the Human Rights Campaign has designated WE as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.

Mentoring the next generation of communications professionals ranks high on Melissa’s list of priorities. She serves on the boards of the University of Southern California Annenberg Center for Public Relations and ColorComm. In 2021, WE Communications launched the Young Changemakers award in partnership with PRovoke Media to celebrate women from underserved communities who have the power to revolutionize the industry. WE also has established the WE Communications Catalyst Scholarship Fund in partnership with the United Negro College Fund to provide financial resources to BIPOC students in Washington and Oregon. 

Through work with local and global non-profits, Melissa has helped women entrepreneurs start their own businesses, lifted female voices, and voices of color, across industries and championed numerous social impact initiatives that serve communities across several regions, most notably in North America and Africa.

Melissa speaks regularly about her commitment to purpose-driven leadership, addressing audiences and events such as Cannes Lions, Mumbrella360, ColorComm, SHEQUALITY, Global ICCO PR Summit and the Indie Summit. She also shares her insights on current events, ethics, and innovation through WE’s blog.
When she’s not working, Melissa enjoys traveling and outdoor activities, around her home in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.


Speakerships & Interviews

Colour Me PR Podcast Episode #3: #ColourMeEnough, Interviewee, Colour Me PR, Mar. 14, 2024

Igniting the Industry - Making Change With Purpose, Moderator, PRovoke (Young Changemakers), Mar. 7, 2023

Celebrating National Mentoring Month With Insights from Past Mentors, Panelist, ColorComm, Jan. 20, 2022

What Do Customers Want From Brands in Uncertain Times?, Interviewee, PRWeek, Sept. 22, 2021

Bellwether Survey: Comms In Command, Interviewee, PRWeek, Sept. 9, 2021

CEO Round Table: Cannes Condensed, Speaker, PRovoke Media, June 24, 2021

WE Global CEO Joins Luminaries Salon Series, Interviewee, Communication Leadership University of Washington, Apr. 9, 2021

Make Business Better, Interviewee, Quartz, Feb. 12, 2021

The Power of Communication in Uncertain Times, Speaker, USC Annenberg, Feb. 2, 2021

The New CEO Is All About 360 Degrees of Respect, Speaker, Mumbrella 360: Reconnect, Dec. 8, 2020

The New Leadership Principle: Inside Is The New Outside, Speaker, ICCP PR Global Summit, Nov. 4, 2020

Building a Global Agency is an Epic, not an Episode, Interviewee, PR Council Agency-Ready Certificate Program, July 23, 2020

Allyship Panel: How to Become Effective?, Panelist, ColorCommCon, June 29, 2020

Keeping Communications Fresh, Interviewee, ColorComm Office Hours, May 1, 2020

Fireside Chat: Leading With Purpose In An Age Defined By It, Panelist, PRWeek's PRDecoded, Oct. 17, 2019

The New Brand Loyalty For The Purpose Age, Speaker, ICCO Global Summit in Holmes Report, Oct. 14, 2019

Respect 360°: Meet the New CEO, Speaker, PRAXIS in Reputation Today, Oct. 10, 2019

Diversity, Technology & Fake News, Interviewee, Euronews, June 28, 2019

Why purpose matters and not just for marketers, Interviewee, CNBC, June 19, 2019

SHEQUALITY: Total Transparency for Leadership, Interviewee, PR Council, August 2018



Navigating the Boundaries: Charting the Course for AI Governance & Responsibility, PRovoke, Mar. 25, 2024

Creativity, Collaboration and Our New Partner: Generative AI, USC Relevance Report, USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations, Dec. 15, 2023

PR Industry Leaders Join CEOs Call for Gun Control, PRovoke, June 1, 2022

Are We Using Our Inside Voices?, USC Annenberg, Nov. 30, 2020

How A Resilient Purpose Can Help Your Business Thrive, Quartz, July 13, 2020

PRWeek US Power List 2020, PRWeek, July 7, 2020

Making Us Better, PRovoke Media, May 11, 2020

Together, We Rise, Thrive Global, Mar. 6, 2020

Brands can close the Thunberg/Trump DividePRWeek, Jan. 23, 2020

Purpose is the new bottom lineQuartz, Dec. 18, 2019

Microsoft's 'three-part test' for getting involved, PRWeek, Oct. 17, 2019

A New Brand Loyalty For the Purpose Age, PRovoke Media, Oct. 14, 2019

Global study: Women in PR want action to improve gender diversityPRWeek, Oct. 14, 2019

Respect 360°: Meet the New CEOReputation Today, Oct. 10, 2019

GWPR Calls For Action On Gender Inequality, GWPR, Oct. 10, 2019

Informed consumers creating perfect storm for brands, 360 degree respect way ahead says WE's Brands in Motion report 2019PRMoment, Oct. 2, 2019

WE study: Consumers are Ready to Keep Brands in Check, PRWeek, Sept. 17, 2019

PRWeek US Power List 2019, PRWeek, July 1, 2019

Most Influential Business Leaders in PR, Industry Leaders Magazine, July 2019



Why I'm Eager to Make Toast in 2023, Feb. 21, 2023

What's Your Version of a Patagonia Moment?, Oct. 20, 2022

Protecting Equal Healthcare Access for All, May 9, 2022

To Support Press Freedom and Our Planet, Take a Stand for Truth, May 5, 2022

To Create Change for Women, Unleash Your Bravery, Mar. 7, 2022

Full Visibility: The Importance of Truly Seeing Others, July 8, 2021

IWD 2021: This Year, Women Unleash Their Superpowers, Mar. 4, 2021

Inside Is The New Outside, Jan. 26, 2021

The Power of People's Voices in Action, Oct. 30, 2020

The Urgency of Climate Change, Sept. 29, 2020

A Demand For Equality This Pride Month, From A "Pushy Girl", June 2020

UPDATE: Speaking Truth to Power on World Press Freedom Day, May 2020

An Earth Day Call to Action, April 2020

Can Brands Be the Change we Crave?, September 2019

A Commitment to Purpose - For All: ColorComm 2019, August 2019

Cannes Lions 2019 Through Fresh Eyes, June 2019

Speaking Truth to Power on World Press Freedom Day, May 2019

AI and the Future of PR, March 2019


E4M Global PR Leader of the Year - Women Achievers Awards 2023 

PRWeek Power List 2023, 2022, 2020

PRWeek Hall of Fame 2022

Ragan Communications: Communicators of the Year 2022

ICCO Hall of Fame 2020

PRWeek Hall of Femme 2017

PRWeek 50 Most Powerful Women in PR 

PRNews Top Women in PR 2014 

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