Intelligence Squared U.S. Board Chairman Robert Rosenkranz announced today the hire of Clea Conner to be the veteran nonprofit debate organization’s first-ever Chief Executive Officer, a newly created role.


Clea will oversee all aspects of Intelligence Squared U.S.: editorial, marketing, partnerships, fundraising, audience development, and more. She will be responsible for guiding the implementation of a strategic and sustainable growth plan, including pursuing further media and corporate partnerships, while aiming to increase global awareness of Intelligence Squared U.S. and introduce its programming to new markets. She was named one of Crain’s New York Business‘s “40 Under 40” in 2018 and holds three Telly Awards for outstanding programming in politics and public affairs, a Clarion Award for Women in Communications, and multiple awards for Best Public Affairs Programming by New York Festivals.


Since its founding in 2006, Intelligence Squared U.S. has grown to be the most prominent debate series in the country, hosting over 170 nonpartisan debates across political and cultural subjects in its aim to promote civil discourse in an increasingly partisan era. In the past year alone, the series has been featured in The New Yorker and Washington Post, and hosted debaters including Senator Jeff Flake, scientists George Church and David Keith, writers Kurt Andersen and P.J. O’Rourke, spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre, Minnesota Fed President Neel Kashkari, driverless cars innovator Chris Urmson and dozens more. Its podcast was downloaded four million times in 2018.


Clea returns to Intelligence Squared U.S. after working as Strategic Advisor to GZERO Media, a new digital media platform founded by political scientist Ian Bremmer. In her previous seven-year tenure with Intelligence Squared U.S., she spearheaded strategic partnerships with IBM, in which she oversaw the first ever human-versus-A.I. debate; the Aspen Ideas Festival; and the German Marshall Fund, while hosting Intelligence Squared U.S. debates internationally for the first time. She also oversaw the launch of Intelligence Squared U.S.’s ongoing “Up for Debate” TV show on Newsy.


“Clea has proven herself to be a catalyst for growth and has already brought a transformative energy to Intelligence Squared,” Rosenkranz says. “As the first CEO of the organization, we are confident her leadership and vision will inspire the evolution of our mission, and we are thrilled to see her lead the charge to take our work to the next level.”


“Returning to Intelligence Squared in this newly created role is an exciting challenge,” Clea says. “American public discourse has deteriorated into Twitter wars and toxic echo chambers, and in an era where misinformation has eroded public trust in the media, it has never been more important to bring facts, reason, and civility back to the public square. It is a privilege to join the brilliant minds at Intelligence Squared on this critical mission.”


A non-partisan, non-profit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded in 2006 to address a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. Their mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse. The award-winning debate series reaches millions of viewers and listeners through through multi-platform distribution, including radio, live streaming, podcasts, interactive digital content, and on-demand apps on Roku and Apple TV. With over 170 debates and counting, Intelligence Squared U.S. has encouraged the public to “think twice” on a wide range of provocative topics. Author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan has moderated IQ2US since 2008.



Clea Conner is the Chief Executive Officer of Intelligence Squared U.S. Named one of Crain’s New York “40 Under 40” in 2018, Clea is responsible for accelerating growth and raising the profile of the nation’s premiere debate platform. Clea has served as Strategic Advisor to GZERO Media, a digital media outlet advancing global affairs coverage, and has led national marketing campaigns for renowned journalists, best-selling authors and public officials at Greater Talent Network, a celebrity speakers bureau. She also managed direct marketing campaigns for BMG/Columbia House and launched public affairs advocacy campaigns for The Center for Arts Education. Clea sits on the Board of Directors of Decoda, a nonprofit chamber music society advancing global music education, and Nora Gardner, a New York City based women’s workwear brand founded to empower professional working women.  Clea holds a B.A. from The New School with Dean’s Honors and studied political science at American University.


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For more information on Intelligence Squared U.S., please contact Ray Padgett ( or Mark Satlof ( at Shore Fire Media.



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