Russell Newell is a Massachusetts native who grew up in Billerica, mostly in a large swamp wrecking shoes and retrieving all of the toys he had thrown there. He spent summers exploring the bogs and beaches, woods and bike paths spread across Buzzards Bay.
With an Irish mother by way of Roscommon, this proclivity toward wildness and wandering was inevitable.
Newell also inherited from the Irish a love for storytelling. His writing career began at the tender age of eleven when his short story, The Fox’s Hard Life, was published in the Hamilton- Wenham Chronicle.
After this early triumph, Newell entered his teen years and a period in the wilderness. He emerged after a decade with a brief turn as a sports reporter for the Salem Evening News and later as a journalism graduate student in Boston University’s Washington, DC program where he covered Congress for local Massachusetts papers.
Bored with covering campaign finance reform, he decided to become a speechwriter for people who talked about things in which he was interested.
He began his speechwriting career writing for Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security. This was followed by chief speechwriter jobs with Florida Governor Jeb Bush and two Secretaries of the Interior.
Newell then served at the U.S. Department of State, where he continued writing speeches and led a worldwide art contest that brought international acclaim to three young artists – and Mickey Mouse to the State Department.
At this time, his Irish rover gene kicked in and Newell moved to Iraq to – like Thoreau at Walden – live more sturdily and Spartan-like and front only the essential facts of life. He served for 14 months as the Senior Media Advisor for the Spokesman for Multi-National Forces-Iraq, providing strategic communications counsel, preparing the spokesman for five to six media engagements per week during a critical time in Iraq’s history, and writing talking points and speeches for U.S. leadership to communicate policy and mission in Iraq.
Newell returned home, married his wife Karoline – an Air Force captain he had met in Iraq – and packed up for California to work in the oft-times equally treacherous entertainment industry. He is currently the director of executive communications for Disney|ABC Television, where he crafts speeches and messaging for the President of Disney|ABC and the senior leadership team.