Michael Akin is a community builder and changemaker who has consistently and successfully tackled challenges by committing to the idea that doing well and doing good are not mutually exclusive. He has done so while building authentic relationships and connections locally and around the world that help people, organizations, and institutions thrive. Michael and his team have created an entire industry based around authentic “hyperlocal” engagement, and proven the market viability of a firm that does only community-serving work, generating meaningful social impact in a way that is profitable and sustainable.
Michael serves as the President of LINK Strategic Partners, a strategic communications, stakeholder engagement, and social impact consulting firm proudly based in Washington, D.C. In the last 10 years, LINK has expanded from a small local shop to a national firm with hundreds of local, regional, national, and international clients. Our world-class and diverse team of professionals ranges from 17 to 94 years of age and lead our offices in D.C., Phoenix, St. Louis, New York, and Manchester, England. Over 65% of Team LINK identify as women, and nearly 70% are people of color, reflecting LINK’s foundational commitment to be “in and of” the communities we serve. LINK’s mission-driven work includes thousands of hours of pro bono work provided to community partners.
LINK was recently named to Inc. magazine’s exclusive 2021 Best In Business List of “Companies That Have Gone Above & Beyond to Make A Positive Impact in the World” and awarded Mentoring Program of the Year at the prestigious PR News Diversity Awards. LINK was featured on Inc. magazine’s 2019 and 2020 Inc. 5000 list as one of the most successful and fastest growing companies in America, named Large PR Firm of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter, celebrated as a Best Place to Work by the Washington Business Journal, rated a Top Place to Work in PR by PR News, and recognized as Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s Small Business of the Year. In 2020, Michael oversaw LINK’s certification as one of Fatherly’s Best Places to Work for New Dads.
Michael’s community activities include serving as Chairman Emeritus of the Greater Washington Urban League board of directors, and Chairman of the American Experience Foundation. He also serves on the boards of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, The International Town Gown Association, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), Destination DC, Cultural Tourism DC, and Think Local First DC. Michael serves as a Leadership Council member for Raise DC, a Founding Member of the Washington Business Journal Leadership Trust, and as a member of the Community Council for WAMU 88.5 FM (Washington’s NPR station) and the Dean’s Council at George Washington University School of Business. Michael previously served as Board President for St. Mary’s Court, a non-profit independent living facility in Washington, DC for seniors or individuals with accessibility needs.
Michael is a featured presenter on the intersection between effective strategic communications and community engagement at major national and international conferences like those hosted by the International Town and Gown Association, the United Kingdom Town and Gown Association, the National School Public Relations Association, the Aspen Institute, and the National Urban League conference, where he is invited to lead sessions and facilitate thoughtful dialogue. Michael was selected in 2020 to moderate a panel titled “Equity (Must Be) More Than A Buzzword” at SXSW EDU. Michael recently launched the LINK Changemakers Series, which features global changemakers for deep and action-oriented discussions on the issues of the day. These virtual panels regularly attract thousands of views from around the world.
Michael received a 2006 GW Award—George Washington University’s highest honor—for advancing GW’s mission in the Washington community with competence, integrity, and good will. In 2011, the Greater Washington Urban League recognized Michael with the Chairman’s Award for his work in advancing the League’s mission, and the DC City Council adopted a formal resolution naming “Michael Akin Day in the District of Columbia” to acknowledge his contributions to positive and collaborative community action. Michael was honored as Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the DC Chamber of Commerce in 2015, and in 2017 he received the prestigious Laura Lisner Award from the Lisner Louise Dixon Hurt Home for his work and advocacy on behalf of DC’s senior citizens. In 2018, the Washington Business Journal named him a 40 Under 40 honoree, and Michael received a Communitas Award for his pro-bono and service efforts. In 2019, Michael was selected by the Washington DC Economic Partnership to serve as a WeDC Ambassador to represent the city at professional conferences nationally. Most recently, in 2021 Michael was deeply honored to be presented with the Ally Award at the PR News Diversity Awards.
Prior to founding LINK, Michael was vice president of the community and government relations practice at Reingold Inc., a national communications firm headquartered in Alexandria, VA, where he played a leading role in national campaigns to combat homelessness and prevent suicide among veteran populations. Previously, Michael served as The George Washington University’s assistant vice president of government, international, and community relations. His aggressive community relations work helped make GW a national model for building community partnerships and overcoming classic “town/gown” friction. Prior to that, Michael was a community organizer working on behalf of vulnerable seniors in DC’s Shaw neighborhood.
Michael has an MBA from The George Washington University, where he also graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political communications. He lives with his incredible wife and 3-year-old son in Washington, DC.