After more than thirty years in government, politics, and advocacy, Pam Hughes remains a trailblazer, bringing a new mindset to government and nonprofit clients. She invents fresh ways to reach and engage those disproportionately impacted by hardship, discrimination, or catastrophe. She also excels in issue advocacy, media relations, government relations, and strategic planning. A creative and prolific writer, Pam drafts articles, white papers, speeches, strategic plans, and major reports.
At Ward Circle Strategies, Pam developed the state of California’s innovative 2020 curriculum to promote equity in disaster resilience for vulnerable populations in response to record-breaking wildfires. Her transformative work for Listos California reimagined a rigid and ineffective preparedness tradition to teach readiness to millions of older adults and people with disabilities, low incomes, and language barriers. Through imagination and transadaptation, Pam’s framework has been translated into vibrant, multimedia formats in 26 languages, reaching such diverse populations as farmworkers, tribal communities, refugees, and people experiencing homelessness.
During the covid pandemic, Pam repurposed a voter engagement model to reach highly vulnerable Californians with life-changing and lifesaving resources to survive the triple threats of illness, economic hardship, and historic wildfires. Through the Social Bridging Project, Pam led her multicultural, multilingual team in pioneering a breakthrough, one-to-one “bridge” that connected Californians by phone with vital resources through culturally competent facilitators. Her team created 58 unprecedented county resource guides, in English and Spanish, that directed struggling Californians to free food, PPE, health care, mental health support, cash aid, and more.
During the pandemic, Pam also wrote California’s First Aid Kit for the Mind, a fresh take on mental health education and destigmatization for people with low literacy, low incomes, and cultural barriers to care. She continues to develop and adapt California’s disaster response and recovery content to meet the state’s abiding climate challenges and the moral imperative to help those at highest risk.
After launching her career in Boston politics and state government, Pam became communications director for prominent women’s rights organizations in Washington, DC. Pam served as Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s chief spokesperson, supporting his legislative priorities and reelection. She championed pathbreaking children’s literacy outreach through a national campaign for the U.S. Department of Education and an Emmy Award-winning, children’s literacy television series for PBS. Pam also played a lead role in the first national summit on military family mental health.
Pam attended Bowdoin College and the University of Edinburgh, and is a surviving member of the endangered species, English Majors.
- Ward Circle Strategies, Senior Advisor
- Social Bridging Project, Creator
- State of California, Senior Advisor for Disaster Readiness
- U.S. Department of Education, Presidential Appointee
- U.S. Senate, Senior Press Secretary
- Massachusetts Senate, Press Secretary and Legislative Aide
3 Fun Facts
- Pam has heard the call to prayer at dawn from atop the Great Pyramid of Giza.
- She forced Mattel to change a Talking Barbie doll that squealed “Math class is tough!”
- Heralding the message “Voting Is My Superpower”, Pam led a team of 30, in eye masks and satin capes, to promote voter engagement and registration at San Diego Comic-Con.