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Mark Penn is Corporate Vice President, Strategic and Special Projects at Microsoft.
Penn has been called “The Master of the Message” by Time magazine and “The Guru of Small Things” by The New York Times. He is credited with inventing both the overnight poll, now standard in high-profile elections; and the “mall test” – a method of showing shoppers prospective ads and learning their reactions in real time.
Penn has helped to elect over 25 leaders in the United States, Asia, Latin America, and Europe in addition to serving as chief adviser to President Bill Clinton in the 1996 presidential election and to Hillary Rodham Clinton through her Senate and presidential races. Penn also serves as strategic consultant to top Fortune 500 companies, including Ford Motor Company, Intel, McDonald’s, Merck and Microsoft and has been a key adviser to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer since 1998. In 2000 and 2004, Penn was awarded the highest honor in his profession, the American Association of Political Consultants’ “Pollster of the Year” Award.
Penn is the author of Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller about the impact of small groups in politics, business, and social change, building on his original identification of the Soccer Mom. He has also been a regular contributor to national publications such as Time, Huffington Post and The Atlantic.
Since the end of Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Penn has returned to steering Burson-Marsteller and to writing – authoring a 12-part series in Politico and a Microtrends column with E. Kinney Zalesne in the Wall Street Journal online.
A graduate of Horace Mann High School in New York City and Harvard University, Penn has served on the Horace Mann School Board and has been honored by the American Friends of Lubavitch in Washington, DC. He is married to Nancy Jacobson and has four children. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis and fishing, and is an avid map collector.