Helga Ying

Global and U.S. Chair of Purpose, Edelman (Retired)

Helga has more than 30 years of experience across civil society and the private and public sector in the areas of corporate citizenship, government affairs, public policy, community affairs, social impact and sustainability, crisis and external communications, responsible sourcing, and stakeholder engagement. 

She recently served as Global and U.S. Chair of Purpose at Edelman, where she led the strategic development, planning, and execution of social impact, sustainability, and brand purpose initiatives for companies, brands, Foundations, and non-profit organizations in the U.S. and globally.

Prior to Edelman, Helga was Head of Local Office, AIDS 2020, at the International AIDS Society. In that capacity, she oversaw the management of the local offices in San Francisco and Oakland for the 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020), the world’s largest event on HIV and AIDS.

Helga was also Vice President of External Engagement and Social Responsibility at American Eagle Outfitters (AEO). At AEO, she led the company’s Foundation, Social Responsibility, Government Affairs and Public Policy, and Community Affairs initiatives. Helga also oversaw AEO’s external and crisis communications and headed its Responsible Sourcing department, which helped to ensure safe and healthy working conditions within its supply chain.

Before AEO, Helga spent more than a decade at Levi Strauss & Co. as Senior Director of Worldwide Government Affairs and Public Policy. She was the principal advisor and strategist on government affairs and public policy. She was responsible for managing international trade, corporate citizenship and sustainability, and brand protection. In addition, she served as Director of Member Services for Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and a member of Senator Ted Kennedy’s staff, as a legislative assistant both in the Foreign Policy office and on the Labor and Human Resources Committee.

Helga holds a Master of International Relations and Economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a degree in International Affairs and Mathematics from Macalester College. She was also a Fulbright-Hays scholar in business management at the University of Mannheim in Germany. Helga serves on several Boards of Directors, including Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), Berkeley Playhouse and Oakland Theater Project.