Maria Figueroa Kupcu (A’93)


Maria Figueroa Kupcu is a Partner and the Head of the New York office of Brunswick Group, a global advisory firm specializing in critical issues communications. Since joining the firm in 2007, she has counseled corporate and nonprofit leadership teams on engagement strategies during times of significant transition or crisis.

Maria anchors Brunswick’s Business and Society practice in the U.S. and has developed numerous campaigns focused on environmental and social challenges where public, private and civil society stakeholders must collaborate for impact. These have included multi-year efforts on educational equity, access to water, and workplace inclusivity. Her clients include: PepsiCo (Performance with Purpose campaign), Anheuser-Busch inBev (Better World campaign), Cisco, Thompson Reuters, Citi, Columbia University (SIPA), WWF, NRDC, the Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Maria began her career at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a result of meeting an EPIIC symposium guest speaker. As a policy analyst, she worked to reconcile government, business and NGO positions on issues such as urban development, gender and labor rights. She played an active role in global negotiations of UN global conferences, leading youth engagement for Habitat II, the World Summit for Social Development, and various meetings of the Commission for Sustainable Development. She initiated Youth for Habitat II, a global movement of NGO activists focused on youth economic empowerment and participation.

From 2000-2003 she was Director of International Political and Corporate Campaigns for the strategy firm Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB). A seasoned opinion researcher, she has worked on numerous presidential, mayoral and parliamentary campaigns around the world, helping to craft candidates’ messages and implement campaign communications. Her elections have included contests in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, South Korea, Ukraine, Bermuda, Zimbabwe and the United States.

Maria is an A’93 Tufts University graduate (International Relations) and an EPIIC ’93 alum (“Transformations in the Global Economy”). She has been a member of the IGL Advisory Board since 2012 and now serves as chair. She was honored to be the recipient of IGL’s Boryana Damyanova Award for Corporate Social Responsibility.

Maria has a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. She was a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation where she completed research on non-state actors as a Ford Foundation grand recipient. She is a native of Rome, Italy and now lives in Dobbs Ferry, NY with her husband and two children.

 “I came to Tufts because I was interested in international issues, but EPIIC turned that interest into a life-long passion. The chance to expand what I was learning in the classroom though my own field research and the annual symposium was exciting and gave me practical skills. The EPIIC experience opened many doors (including my first job at the United Nations) and, more importantly, gave me the encouragement to walk through them.”