Julie Schaefer is the founder and Chief Advisor of Winning Presence – an executive communications network that helps senior business and community leaders create a winning presence through effective communications. Schaefer is a seasoned strategic communications consultant for management communications teams around the world. She counsels and writes for Fortune 500 C-level clients, including CEO, COO, CIO, and CMOs, as well as senior human resources, legal, government relations, and communications officers. Schaefer’s mission is to help her clients develop and deliver compelling messages that build their images, reputations, and businesses.
Prior to launching Winning Presence, Schaefer was Director of Management Communications at McDonald’s Corporation. From 1999-2006, she served as primary communications counsel and speechwriter for three CEO clients, the President of McDonald’s Europe, and the company’s COO. She was responsible for a team of professionals, who wrote for and counseled other company executives as well. Schaefer also led the company’s Global Communications Council, a team comprised of communications professionals from around the globe that created global brand programs for the company and managed global brand issues.
Schaefer is a cross-trained, Corporate Relations professional. Prior to her management communications role, she served as Senior Manager, Public and Community Affairs at McDonald’s Corporation. In this capacity, she represented the company with trade associations, community leaders and elected officials. She held this post for two years and, prior, served as a company spokesperson. In media relations, she provided business, financial, and brand-related information to global press to gain positive, balanced coverage of the company. Schaefer also designed and launched a media training, crisis management training program, and had responsibility for crisis and issues management. Schaefer joined McDonald’s Corporation in 1991.
Schaefer also dedicates her time to advancing the communications profession. She regularly mentors young professionals and students aspiring for careers in communications. She also blogs about current industry topics, and has been a guest speaker in programs that help professionals develop their executive or leadership presence. Schaefer served three terms on the Chicago Board of Directors for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and co-led the chapter’s programming efforts. She also led a committee that helped communications professionals obtain professional accreditation. Schaefer became part of the organization’s prestigious Counselor’s Academy in 2010 and was a member of PRSA from 1994-2016.
Schaefer received her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Speech Communication from the University of Illinois in 1991. She earned her accreditation in Public Relations in 2001, and completed ongoing training and education requirements in order to maintain this accreditation through 2016. Schaefer has completed many professional development classes and programs, including “Dealing with an Angry Public” at Harvard University in 1996. Harvard’s program convened communications and legal professionals to study crisis and issues management. Schaefer was also a contributing writer to Executive Travel Magazine.
Schaefer and Winning Presence support charities that help children and families in need, including Ronald McDonald House Charities, Northern Illinois Food Bank, and The Super Jake Foundation.
Schaefer resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her husband, Pete and their two children. She likes travel, good speeches, and spending time with her family.