Caty Borum Chattoo is Co-Director of the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI) and Executive in Residence at the American University School of Communication in Washington, D.C. She is an award-winning strategist, producer and researcher working at the intersection of social-change communication, research, and storytelling production.
Borum Chattoo’s social-change storytelling, strategy and research work has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, NPR, Business Week, The Huffington Post, and PBS Media Shift, and her social justice documentaries have aired on the Sundance Channel, Pivot, NDTV (India), PBS World, Link TV, KCET, DirectTV and more. She has produced two theatrical documentary feature films (Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price and The After Party), a TV documentary and transmedia series funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Stand Up Planet), several half-hour documentary TV specials, a seven-part documentary TV series (Sierra Club Chronicles), and PSA campaigns designed for social change on issues ranging from global poverty to climate change to HIV. As a lead strategist for the Gates-Foundation-funded ViewChange project, she produced the ViewChange global poverty TV series and architected and directed social-impact campaign partnerships with international humanitarian organizations including Save the Children, Oxfam America, Bread for the World, and more.
As a writer on the social impact of storytelling, she is a frequent contributor to Huffington Post and Documentary magazine. In 2016, she co-created and launched Story Movements, a new initiative and convening focused on story-led movements for social justice, funded by the MacArthur and Ford Foundations, as well as The Fledgling Fund and Atlantic Philanthropies. Borum Chattoo was an invited juror for the 2014 and 2015 international BRITDOC Documentary Impact Awards, and she has been an invited speaker on the topic of storytelling, media and social change at international and national convenings, including AFI DOCS, the Skoll World Forum, the International Documentary Association, Tribeca Film Festival, FRANK conference for social change, as well as academic and professional conferences.
Previously, she was Senior Vice President in the social marketing practice group at FleishmanHillard International Communications in Washington, D.C., where she served on the senior leadership team for a national White House teen anti-drug campaign that won the communication industry’s highest honor, the Silver Anvil for Public Service. In Los Angeles, she was a longtime collaborator with legendary TV producer and philanthropist/activist Norman Lear as a founding director of Declare Yourself, a national youth civic engagement organization, where she directed public opinion research and digital strategy for an effort that cultivated more than 2 million new young voters in 2004; and Special Projects Director & Senior Producer at the USC Norman Lear Center, a research and public policy center that examines the social impact of entertainment on society. She also served as Program Officer in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Entertainment Media & Public Health program, where she managed research-based HIV-awareness partnership programs, TV specials and PSA campaigns with MTV and BET; Project Director at the Center for Media Education; and Fellow in civic journalism at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Borum Chattoo holds a master’s degree in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania (The Annenberg School for Communication), and an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies (summa cum laude, In Honors, Phi Beta Kappa) from Virginia Tech. She has completed coursework toward the MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television.