Will Marshall

Will Marshall is president and founder of the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), a catalyst for political change and policy innovation with offices in Washington, D.C. and Brussels. Its mission is to craft new ideas for advancing the enduring values of liberal democracy. 

Founded in 1989, PPI started as the intellectual birthplace of the New Democrat and “Third Way” movements, earning a reputation as President Bill Clinton’s “idea mill.” Many of its groundbreaking policy innovations have been translated into U.S. policy and law, and have influenced center-left political leaders around the world.

Today, PPIs work centers on fortifying the vital liberal center against the global rise of illiberal populism and nationalism. Its vision for clean and equitable growth aims at spreading digital innovation to people and places left behind; lifting wages to reduce class and racial disparities; grooming the world’s most talented and entrepreneurial workers; modernizing outdated immigration laws; and, defending free societies in a dangerous world.

A veteran policy entrepreneur, Marshall in 1985 helped to found the Democratic Leadership Council, serving as its first policy director. He is an honorary Vice-President of Policy Network, an international think tank launched by Tony Blair to promote progressive policy ideas throughout the democratic world.

Marshall has served on the boards of the National Endowment for Democracy and the Washington, D.C. Public Charter School Board. 

He is editor of many books, including Memos to the New President (PPI, January 2009); With All Our Might: A Progressive Strategy for Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006); The AmeriCorps Experiment and the Future of National Service (PPI, 2005); Building the Bridge: 10 Big Ideas to Transform America (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997); and Mandate for Change (Berkley Books, 1992), PPI’s best-selling policy blueprint for President Clinton’s first term. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and many other newspapers, as well as The American Interest, The American Prospect, Democracy, The New Republic and other journals.

Marshall’s previous political and campaign experience includes posts as press secretary, spokesman and speechwriter for the 1984 United States Senate campaign of former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, speechwriter and policy analyst for the late U.S. Representative Gillis Long of Louisiana, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; and, spokesman and speechwriter in the 1982 U.S. Senate campaign of former Virginia Lt. Governor Dick Davis.

Before becoming involved in politics and public policy, he was a journalist in Virginia, including a stint with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1952, Marshall is a 1975 graduate of the University of Virginia, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History. Marshall and his wife, Katryn S. Nicolai, live in Arlington, VA. They have two children, Olivia and William.

After hours, Marshall plays lead guitar in First Road North, a local band.