2016 Illini Comeback Guests
Chicago native Michael Strautmanis, ’91 MEDIA, JD ’94, is vice president for Civic Engagement at the Barack Obama Foundation, a two-year-old nonprofit established to carry on President Obama’s unfinished project of renewal and global progress. At the Foundation, Strautmanis, who previously served as vice president of Corporate Citizenship and Strategic Programs at The Walt Disney Company, is tasked with developing and leading the execution of outreach efforts and civic engagement programs. Strautmanis has worked with Obama since his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004. Initially, serving as then-Senator Obama’s chief counsel and deputy chief of staff, Strautmanis later became senior counsel for Obama for America. As a member of the presidential campaign’s Congressional Relations team, he played a key role in political outreach. Following the 2008 Presidential election, Strautmanis joined President Obama’s transition team as chief counsel and director of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs. He later served as the deputy assistant to the President, senior advisor to the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, and as counselor for Strategic Engagement and chief of staff for the Administration’s Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. Strautmanis began his professional career practicing complex litigation and employment law at Sidley Austin in Chicago before joining the Clinton Administration as chief of staff to the General Counsel at the United States Agency for International Development.