Executive Director of Global Communications & External Affairs, Beautiful Destinations
Senior Consulting Fellow, Chatham House
Throughout her entire career, Elizabeth Linder has never held a position with an existing job description. Elizabeth is currently the Executive Director of Global Communications & External Affairs at Beautiful Destinations, where she spearheads the company’s approach to digital diplomacy by bringing together the worlds of foreign policy and global tourism.
After graduating from Princeton University in 2007, Elizabeth joined Google’s Global Communications & Public Policy division, splitting her time between the Googleplex in Mountain View, California and YouTube’s original offices in San Bruno, California, where she specialized in political campaigning during the year user-generated content first emerged on the national political scene in the United States.
By 2008, Facebook, Inc. recruited Elizabeth to join its two-person International Communications team. At the time, Facebook had no policy or communications representative outside of the United States. During these years, Elizabeth opened Facebook’s first office in India, on-boarded the policy and communication agencies that Facebook deployed globally to help share its growth, advertising and social good narratives, and served as one of Facebook’s representatives to meet with foreign dignitaries and journalists who visited Facebook's headquarters. From Facebook’s original offices in Palo Alto, California, Elizabeth moved in 2011 to London to create, found and build Facebook’s Politics & Government division, which she expanded across the Europe, Middle East & Africa region.
As Facebook’s Politics & Government Specialist, Elizabeth served as Facebook’s first non-state actor diplomat and public spokeswoman dedicated to the government, political, diplomatic and civil society use of Facebook to communicate with people. Elizabeth’s five-year tenure in this role spanned the most transformative years of Facebook’s adoption as a tool for social change, from the Arab Spring and the Scottish Referendum to the NATO Secretary General’s first Facebook Q&A and the first global report on soft power to include digital diplomacy metrics. Following Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and prior to hiring a dedicated team, Elizabeth represented Instagram, working with government, political, and diplomatic constituents to understand the power of the image in getting messages across to new audiences and citizenries with changing expectations.
Following her eight years at Facebook, Elizabeth founded The Conversational Century, which is dedicated to translating the most transformative issues facing our societies amidst a confluence of competing worlds: digital and analogue, tech hubs and national capitals, corporate and think tank, expert and amateur.
Elizabeth has trained 42 parliaments on finding their voices online and worked with ministries, intergovernmental institutions, think tanks, diplomats, royal households, journalists, civil society leaders, NGOs, city mayors, as well as national museums, libraries, banks, police forces and militaries, to brief them on how digital engagement is changing people’s expectations of their institutions and leaders.
Elizabeth is Chatham House’s first Senior Consulting Fellow to report into the Director’s Office, where she is building out the Digital Society Initiative. She serves as Chair of the Kinross House Meetings, charting solutions for significant societal challenges, including the philanthropic community’s approach tocyber security and the changing roles that hard and soft power play in a digital world. Elizabeth has recently represented the tech sector on the BBC World / Intelligence Squared “tech giants” debate; keynoted the 2040 Vision summit hosted by the Sultanate of Oman; spoken at the World Government Summit in Dubai; and moderated the Chatham House London Conference. Elizabeth provides regular commentary for the BBC, Sky News, Bloomberg, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. In Spring 2019, Elizabeth will advise the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its new policy to tackle disinformation online; Medicines for Malaria Ventures (a Gates-funded organization) on how best to navigate social media risks in launching a new and controversial drug to market; and senior leaders brought together by the British Foreign Policy Group, Strategy International, Ditchley Park, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Institute, and the London Stock Exchange on societal trends propelled and informed by connected citizenries.
A California native, Elizabeth resides in London, where she holds an Exceptional Talent Visa for the tech sector granted by the British Government.