Marcia Stepanek is one of America’s leading experts on the influence of media technology in society.

A writer, editor, video journalist and media entrepreneur, Marcia is the author of the forthcoming book, Swarms: The Rise of the Digital Anti-Establishment. A lecturer on digital media strategy, communication and the evolution of social networks at Columbia University, Marcia is a frequent speaker at social innovation conferences and events around the world, and has presented on the future of media in civil society for SxSW, Stanford’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society, New York University’s Stern School of Business, TEDxOxford, the U.S. State Department (in Washington and Geneva), the Highland Forum (in Washington and Singapore), Italy’s annual Festival del Fundraising, the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, UNICEF, the Initiative for Heritage Conservancy in Athens, the FTC, the National Press Club in Washington, and the Milken Institute’s annual Global Conference in Los Angeles, among others.

Professionally, as Chief Strategy Officer for Brand Stories, a creative agency she founded in 2011, Marcia advises social entrepreneurs, nonprofit executives, civil society leaders and news organizations how to harness the power of social networks and navigate disruptive change; her studio creates and produces cross-channel narratives and short-form documentaries to convey and scale social impact and to tell stories that generate empathy and inspire people to think, feel and take action. Marcia’s journalism honors include a George Polk Award and a National Press Club Award for Washington Correspondence; she was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and studied new media as a John S. Knight Fellow in Journalism at Stanford University.

“In just a matter of years, the digital revolution has transformed the world. The crowd is taking over traditional power. Even the way we make social change is changing, reshaping our institutions and expectations like sand against limestone—uncomfortably and relentlessly. That is the big story today. Everything else is just a wake-up call.”


Latest narratives on the rise of new power in digital society

Visual Portfolio, Posts & Image Gallery for WordPress

Event Highlights

A short event highlights reel summarizes a recent Boston event Marcia created and produced on collaboration for social change.

Democracy on Trial

The intro to a pilot Marcia produced for a PBS series she is creating that tracks the evolution of American democracy...

Power, Remixed

Henry Timms—the founder of #givingtuesday, author of "New Power" and Lincoln Center's new CEO—explores how our digital hyper-connectivity is upsetting the balance...

Community Voices

A short interview with Harlem running coach Kai Ng that is one of many being captured for a short-form documentary on...



The award-winning Cause Global (founded in 2009) relaunches in mid-2023 with a new design and expanded coverage of the evolution of social media and its deepening and frequently controversial influence, for better and worse, on global society.


Marcia is founder and chief executive of Brand Stories, a communications strategy and media production agency in New York City that helps social mission-focused organizations convey and scale their social impact and navigate disruptive change. Marcia and her team also collaborate to create powerful visual narratives and storytelling across the United States and abroad, and build digital communities of action.


“The New Narratives Project” highlights new perspectives emerging from across the country on the nature of democracy in disruption — featuring a widely curated collection of civic activists, journalists, naysayers, government and religious leaders, poets, scholars, artists, marchers, and social entrepreneurs of all stripes.


Videocracy — Re-launching this year, Videocracy profiles some of the most influential leaders behind today's evolving visual storytelling movement and showcases the new and provocative ways that visual narrative is rapidly reshaping our conversations about advocacy, politics, civil society, business, and culture internationally.

Recent Events

Working on a video story on hunger and health at Hearst Tower in NYC, inside the Good Housekeeping Institute’s test kitchen, here interviewing Hearst’s Food Director, Susan Westmoreland.

Arriving a day early in Austin, Texas,
to run through my workshop presentation and call for disruption in the way social causes talk about and visualize change. Here’s what Ground Zero looks like before the rest of the world arrives.

Celebrating the last class of the semester of The Wired Nonprofit, my Columbia University master’s class on tech-driven disruption in the social sector. Students and teaching colleagues Tom Watson and Howard Greenstein (far right) share pizza and stories at V&T, a campus institution for five decades that defies change—and anyone with an appetite.

Teaching my class in new and emerging media for nonprofit leaders at the University of Bologna last fall in Italy.


June 2022


Journalism Creators Summit

CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

Apr 2022


Nonprofit News

Stanford University

Mar 2022


Allies to Advocates

Gersh Agency NYC

Jan 2022


Storytelling for Leaders

Princeton University

Oct 2021


Nonprofit News

CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

Sept 2021


Art Activism

Prada Foundation, Milan

July 2021


Festival del Fundraising

Riccione, Italy

Mar 2021


SxSW Interactive

Austin, Texas

Oct 2020


Mobile Video Workshop

Columbia University
Strategic Communications Program

Sep 2020


Digital Media Keynote

University of Bologna, Italy

Sep 2020


Digital Media Lecturer

Columbia University Fall Semester

May 2020


Communications Lecturer

Columbia University Summer Term

May 2020


Social Media Keynote (ZOOM)

Festival del Fundraising, Italy

Apr 2020


Mobile Video Workshop

Columbia University
Strategic Communications Program

Mar 2020


Nonprofit Tech Conference

COVID Cancelled

Mar 2020


SxSW Interactive - Video Workshop

Austin, Texas -COVID Cancelled


Feb 2020


AI / AR Workshop

CUNY Graduate School
of Journalism

Feb 2020


Career Day

George Washington High School NYC

Jun 2019


Communications Lecturer

Columbia University's Nonprofit Management Program

May 2019


Storytelling for
Social Impact

Social Media Week NYC

Apr 2019


Artificial Intelligence
for Social Good

Columbia University - NYC

Apr 2019


WEBINAR Crisis Comms
Part 2

Foundation Center NYC

Mar 2019


WEBINAR Crisis Comms
Part 1

Foundation Center NYC

Sep 2018


Technology for Social Good

Keynote - NGO Expo, NYC

Sep 2018


Guest Lecturer
School of International
and Public Affairs

Columbia University

Sep 2018


Data for Good Exchange

Bloomberg Media
Bloomberg HQs - New York