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Marta Tellado’s Journey from Havana to Hero in the US Capitalist Economy

For Marta Tellado, individual rights – and protecting those for herself, for her family, for others – has always been an innate passion. Instilled in her early on when her family fled Cuba, and nurtured throughout her career, her life journey’s lens shows her the opportunities to fight for the consumer – to protect their rights and give consumers a voice through their purchasing power.

From serving as a translator for the older generation, to being a champion for safety and transparency for consumers, to shaping policy in Washington DC while shaping minds as an author in her no-holds-barred book, Tellado is the epitome of advocacy in action.

As the President and CEO of Consumer Reports, Marta’s daily work involves fostering truth, transparency, and fairness in the American marketplace. And pushing for greater consumer rights squarely within the scope of the civil rights movement. Now, she shares with us the actionable principles she uses to bring those big, theoretical goals into the tangible world and positively impact the end consumer, which includes all of us.

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About Our Guest

Marta L. Tellado is president and chief executive officer of Consumer Reports (CR), an independent, nonprofit organization that works with consumers to foster truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace. 

Since joining in 2014, she has led Consumer Reports—the largest consumer organization in the world—by uniting its rigorous research, consumer insights, journalism, and policy expertise to create a more fair, safe, and just marketplace informing purchase decisions, improving products and services, and driving regulatory and fair competitive practices.  

Throughout her career, Marta has sought transformative solutions to complex challenges facing modern society through her work in government, philanthropy and nonprofit management. Prior to joining Consumer Reports, Marta was vice president for global communications at the Ford Foundation from 2004 to 2014. In that role, she oversaw the foundation’s strategic communications on a range of issues in the U.S. and around the world, including economic fairness, free and fair access to an open internet, and civil rights. Prior to that, she helped stand-up a new nonprofit, the Partnership for Public Service, serving as vice president, and founded and directed the first bipartisan domestic public policy forum at the Aspen Institute. She has worked extensively with policymakers in Washington, DC and served as a senior advisor to U.S. Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey—the state where she was raised following her family’s journey from her birthplace of Havana, Cuba.  

Marta is the author of “Buyer Aware: Harnessing Our Consumer Power for a Safe, Fair, and Transparent Marketplace,” which chronicles the importance of consumer rights in creating an inclusive economy and strong democracy. Her expertise on the issues facing consumers today has been featured in leading publications and broadcasts including CNN, Forbes, Marketplace Morning Report, New York Magazine’s Pivot Podcast, and USA Today. 

Marta earned her Ph.D. in political science from Yale and a bachelor’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She also currently serves on the boards of the Yale Corporation, Omidyar Network, International Consumer Research & Testing, Consumers International, and The Washington Center. She is based in New York City.