At 5e, we prefer to keep the firm lean and tailor the team to each client’s needs, resources and budget. For specialized expertise, we enlist the network we’ve built over more than 20 years. We especially like collaborating with emerging talent and those whose diverse backgrounds and styles challenge our thinking and improve our work.

Massie Ritsch

President & Principal Storyteller

From a major U.S. newsroom to a public relations firm, a government watchdog, a federal agency and a nationally known nonprofit, Massie has spent the last two decades engaging the public in issues, causes and campaigns that strengthen communities and our country.

Massie founded 5e to bring all of his experiences together, work with people he likes and share his distinctive voice and perspective to make a difference in the way he knows best: through compelling ideas, creative storytelling and memorable experiences.

Before opening 5e in 2016, Massie was Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Engagement at Teach For America. There, he led a team of more than 100 professionals responsible for communications, marketing, the stewardship of TFA’s brand, government affairs and policy, research and evaluation, and strategic initiatives and partnerships.

Massie did similar work for at the U.S. Department of Education, as Secretary Arne Duncan’s communications director, and was nominated for Senate confirmation by President Obama while holding the ridiculously long title of Acting Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach. He also served as a sort of concierge for the agency, connecting Secretary Duncan and other ED staff with organizations of educators, students, parents, civil rights advocates, and business and civic leaders to keep them informed, collect input and build support for the Department’s ambitious cradle-to-career agenda.

Massie came to Washington, D.C., from California in 2006 to serve as communications director for the Center for Responsive Politics, the nonpartisan watchdog group that operates the award-winning website OpenSecrets.org. During his time there, the Center rebranded, overhauled its website and won two Webby Awards for being the best politics site online.

In California, Massie advised nonprofit and corporate clients at a public affairs firm in Los Angeles. He began his career as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, covering public and private education, the 2000 presidential campaign and L.A. City Hall.

Massie has appeared extensively in the media as a spokesperson and advocate, from the New York Times, CNN and NPR to “The Colbert Report.” Formally trained in the most informal performance art–improvisational comedy–he has shared the stage with lots of people you’ve seen on TV or bringing you more bread.

He received his bachelor’s degree in politics from Princeton University in a year that started with “1.” A native of Richmond, Virginia, Massie dwells in Washington with his wife and two young education stakeholders. Their Northwest D.C. neighborhood is designated by the city, coincidentally, as 5E.


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