Robert L. Traynham II, Ph.D.
Joined the amfAR board in June 2021. Expertise in strategic communications, public relations, marketing, politics and public policy.
Robert Traynham is a respected political veteran and communications expert, who for nearly 25 years has designed and executed impactful communications, marketing and external campaigns for elected leaders, political organizations, nonprofits and Fortune 50 companies. Dr. Traynham is currently Head of Public Affairs for Facebook in their Washington, DC, offices, where he oversees the external engagement relationships on behalf of the company to reporters, nonprofit leaders, universities and other thought leaders across the country.
Dr. Traynham has been at the intersection of communications, technology, politics and public policy. He has revolutionized the integration of data-driven communications with digital and campaign style organizing to improve reputations, manage crises and drive people to action. He has successfully relaunched a news network; restored the reputation of a multinational retail institution; reshaped a national storyline on behalf of a leading U.S. Senator; and successfully managed ongoing global crisis communications for a well-known consumer technology platform.
Called “one of the most prominent voices in the [Republican] party, and one of its top strategists and crisis managers” by Politico and The Hill, Dr. Traynham has crafted high-level communication and reputation and crisis management strategies for one U.S. President, U.S. Senate leaders, and the nation’s highest profile political campaigns and Fortune 50 corporations. The Washington Post called him “a communications ace and one of the most gifted communicators of his generation.” Roll Call named him one of “the 50 most powerful people in Washington eight years in a row.” The Philadelphia Tribune called him, “an African American to truly be proud of — for he has a communications gift.”
Prior to joining Facebook, Dr. Traynham was vice president of communications at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, DC, think tank. Previously, he served as Washington, DC, bureau chief for Comcast Networks, where he originated news and public affairs programming. During his eight-year tenure, Dr. Traynham established Comcast’s credibility in public affairs programming and served as host for Comcast Newsmakers and the Emmy®-nominated Roll Call TV with Robert Traynham. Under Dr. Traynham’s vision and leadership, Comcast grew its nationwide audience for these programs and attracted top-tier advertisers.
Prior to his career in media, Dr. Traynham was deputy chief of staff and communications director for the Senate Republican Conference, roles that made him the highest-ranking African-American Republican staffer in Congress. Before his service in leadership, Dr. Traynham spent several years as a senior aide and press secretary for former Senator Rick Santorum. Well regarded by members of Congress and his colleagues alike, Traynham served as president of the U.S. Senate Press Secretaries Association and was regularly ranked as one of the most influential staff members in Congress.
Dr. Traynham began his career in public service as a White House intern during the Clinton administration. Drawing on his unique experience and access, Dr. Traynham has been a frequent political analyst and commentator for cable TV, radio and print media outlets—including NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, NPR, XM Satellite Radio and the Philadelphia Tribune—providing insightful analysis on the American legislative process and the politics behind it.
A native of suburban Philadelphia, Traynham holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cheyney University, a master’s degree in political communications from George Mason University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Dr. Traynham was recognized by George Mason University with a Distinguished Alumni of the Year award and honored as an alumnus of distinction by Cheyney University. Dr. Traynham is a frequent public speaker and remains active in academia, having served as an assistant dean at Georgetown University and a lecturer at George Mason and George Washington Universities. He is currently on Faculty at Georgetown University as a fellow and professor. As an appointed member of the Council of Trustees of Cheyney University, Dr. Traynham serves the board of the oldest school of higher education among the country’s historically black colleges and universities. In 2019, Dr. Traynham was inducted into the Royal Society of Arts in London, England, for his research on Anglo-American transatlantic relations. In his spare time, Dr. Traynham enjoys photography, kayaking, biking and good olive oil.
Head of Public Affairs, Facebook. He currently resides in Washington, DC.