Deborah Ziska

Deborah Ziska

Deborah Ziska has more than 40 years of experience in communications, media relations, marketing, public relations, advertising, public affairs, and social media in the profit and nonprofit sectors on local, national, and global levels.

After working as a publicist at the National Gallery of Art for seven years, she became the chief of press and public information in 1996. During that time she launched year-round advertising  campaigns and successful online web and social media initiatives, managed communications crises and acted as the Gallery spokesperson, oversaw promotional campaigns for some 400 exhibitions, and developed external relationships resulting in institutionally beneficial promotional collaborations. Her work has garnered awards and recognition from entities including the Public Relations Society of America, Advertising Age, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and Phillips Business Information, Inc.

Before the Gallery, Ziska was an independent communications consultant; director of the Washington office of the Los Angeles-based End Hunger Network; director of media communications for the Overseas Education Fund; associate and manager of media relations for Porter, Novelli and Associates; publicity manager for the National Commission on Working Women; and publicity manager for WDVM-TV (now WUSA-TV), a CBS affiliate. She served on local and regional levels for the American Red Cross, during which time she was assigned to work on location during three natural disasters around the United States. Before that she worked in public information for the Prince George’s County School System in Maryland.

Ziska recently completed a contract with the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Galleries where she managed media relations for two major exhibitions: “Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan,” and “The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts.” She teaches “Expanding Roles of Museum Marketing and Communications” for the online Museum Studies graduate program of Johns Hopkins University. She sits on the boards of the US Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and ICOM’s Marketing and Public Relations Committee. She also sits on the advisory committee for the Art Museum of the Americas of the Organization of American States and serves on the boards of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC, and Saplings, a grassroots nonprofit organization working in the rural coffee community of Potenciana, Costa Rica.

Ziska has traveled extensively throughout the world, leading press trips for international exhibitions, presenting museum and communications training seminars and workshops, participating in museum and women in business delegations, researching and documenting women in development programs and world hunger situations, studying Spanish, and producing documentaries.