On May 20, 2019, Lori E. Lightfoot was inaugurated Mayor of Chicago. Her call for an ethical and responsive government and opportunities for all Chicagoans resonated in every ward of the city. She made history as the first black woman to become Mayor of Chicago, and Chicago became the largest American city to ever elect a black woman as mayor. Mayor Lightfoot is also the city’s first openly gay mayor.
How does a newcomer to elected office go from being one in a field of 14 candidates, to one of two women in a historic race, to the mayor of the country’s third-largest city, all in a matter of weeks?
Lori Lightfoot’s emergence from the crowded general election with a spot in the run-off was inspiring. Her primary election victory, unanticipated by most outside of her lean and mean campaign team, meant she had to quickly add capacity with trusted advisors who could build on her success with an approach that was both authentic and disciplined.
After coming in first in the general election, Lori Lightfoot realized that for the run-off she needed more – more resources, communications expertise, experience and knowledge of Chicago campaigns. She needed a firm hand on the tiller to navigate the tricky political waters and the tight time frame. She turned to Grisko, trusted partners who had managed communications for her for the Police Accountability Task Force. We provided instant resources, including strategic counsel, communications, and messaging. We also planned an election night celebration commensurate with the historic nature of her election.
Lori E. Lightfoot’s election as Mayor of Chicago garnered immediate national & international attention; she took advantage of that heightened interest while focusing on the needs of the people of Chicago.
Having worked with Carolyn and the Grisko team in the past, I turned to them during the run-off election and during my transition to the Mayor’s Office. From strategic communications counsel to a celebratory election night, their hard and smart work paid off.
Lori E. Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago
When Mayor-elect Lightfoot woke up victorious on the day after the election, she faced Chicago’s shortest mayoral transition since 1989. And she was a mayor-elect who had never held elected office. Her commitment to inclusion and transparency meant that she valued participation from all Chicagoans as she built a diverse administration. Mayor-elect Lightfoot wanted to set a new tone and new direction for the city in just 6.5 short weeks.
As a key member of her transition team, Carolyn Grisko helped her tap into a network of people with deep experience as well as fresh voices who would bring new ideas to the table. She helped her partner with transition leaders to apply the knowledge and vision of a wider array of voices to set a new direction for city government. Carolyn also provided strategic counsel and helped communicate the Mayor-elect’s values to drive the transition and set the foundation for the administration going forward.
Echoes & Reflections
American Heart Association
Police Accountability Task Force
Chicago Police Memorial Foundation
The Field Museum