Photo by Wayne Armstrong
STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS &
HIGH IMPACT EVENT PROGRAMMING
Let us help you optimize your organization and events to engage meaningfully with your audience. Whether it's a large group of constituents, or individual meetings with high profile principals, we tailor our services to meet your strategic goals.
We specialize in organizations and events at critical pivot points - managing the moment and preparing for the future.
ELLIE SCHAFER, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT
The Honorable Ellie Schafer served as a Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Director of the White House Visitors Office in Washington, DC from 2009 to 2017.
With an undergraduate degree in communications from the University of Denver and additional classes at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in television production and film development tucked in her portfolio, Schafer settled in San Francisco in 1995 and founded Schafer Campaigns.
As head of the eponymous firm, Schafer sharpened her skills in field organizing and media relations and gained a reputation as a go-to consultant for dozens of races, ballot measures and legislative projects. Most importantly, however, she established a documented record of success in helping shape public opinion toward individuals and institutions.
Schafer’s career took a new direction in the late 1990s when she focused on advance and logistical work for political campaigns, foundations, national and world leaders. Among them: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Heinz Family Philanthropies, The California Endowment, John Kerry for President, Former President Bill Clinton and Former Vice Presidential Couple Tipper and Al Gore.
In 2006, she accompanied (then) U.S. Senator Barack Obama on a tour promoting his book, “The Audacity of Hope.’’ A year later, when Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States, Schafer was on his team from day one, and was tapped to serve the 44th President of the United States at the White House.
Schafer helped transform how guests perceive and experience 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. From private VIP visits, to the sprawling Easter Egg Roll, which draws 35,000 children and parents to the South Lawn, Schafer managed more than 1,500 events during her tenure, which resulted in more than 4.5 million guests visiting. More importantly, she restored the White House as a place that is fascinating, educational, and fun to visit.
Schafer managed a staff of eight and more than 1,000 volunteers. Besides the well-known Easter Egg Roll, National Tree Lighting Ceremony and Garden Tours, she handled Holiday Open Houses, the White House tour program for all members of Congress, and State Arrival Ceremonies for world leaders from Pope Francis and the Holy See to such nations as India, Mexico, and France. She also played a key role in July 4th festivities, Halloween trick-or-treating at the White House and other large events.
But it is Schafer’s strategic role that transformed how the public interacts with and views the White House. She streamlined the White House Tour System (logistics, security checks and communications) to make it more efficient, expeditious, and friendly without sacrificing security. For example, she instituted programs such as the Monthly Member Pass for Members of Congress and developed a Boarding Pass for visits to the White House. She has consulted with Buckingham Palace and the FBI to make their tour programs more open and accessible to the public. She also worked closely with the United States Secret Service to ensure that increased access never jeopardized the safety and security of the First Family or their guests.
Among many honors, in 2013 Schafer was selected to the inaugural class of President Obama’s Leadership Academy and was enlisted as a mentor for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Mentoring and Leadership program.
In 2014, Schafer was profiled in Capitol File Magazine’s, “Women Who Wow.” In 2010, and again in 2016, Out Magazine named Schafer as “One of the '100 Most Influential Men and Women' who inspired, shaped and changed the world.” She has been a keynote speaker at the University of Denver, the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, and the Conference of World Affairs.