Experience

Jeff Leshay, founder of Leshay Communications, brings to clients the wisdom gained from 30 years of media and public relations experience.

Jeff spent more than a decade of his career as an
award-winning journalist – most of those years as a television news correspondent with CNBC and Fox News.  During the following 15 years, he served as a senior executive with three of the world’s largest PR firms and as an in-house communications leader at two public companies.

Jeff’s unique 360-degree perspective of public communications now serves as the basis for Leshay Communications’ real-world, results-oriented approach to delivering highly effective programs in the following areas:  media training; presentation & speech coaching; message development & story creation; investor communications coaching; executive presence coaching; crisis communications; and facilitation & hosting of corporate events and videos.

As Senior Vice President of Public Relations & Corporate Communications for Career Education Corporation (2008-11), Leshay led the development and execution of the company’s internal and external communications strategies.  This included highly effective management of the company’s reputation in the face of harsh public criticism of the “for-profit” education sector by members of Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, plaintiffs’ lawyers and media – all the while continuing to build the reputations of more than 90 colleges, universities and other post-secondary education institutions around the country.

Prior to joining CEC, Leshay led the Chicago-based Reputation Management practice at Edelman (2003-08), providing strategic counsel to a wide variety of corporate clients on reputation enhancement, crisis and issues management, and media relations.  He also led Edelman’s U.S. Media & Presentation Training practice.  Leshay facilitated message development sessions for dozens of Fortune 1000 companies, resulting in compelling and persuasive positioning that influenced even the most skeptical of target audiences.  He also trained hundreds of C-level and other senior executives for media interviews, analyst meetings, marketing and sales presentations and keynote speeches, always ensuring they delivered their messages effectively.

Leshay spent a year (2002-03) directing the public affairs team in the Pharmaceutical Products Division at Abbott Laboratories, managing a variety of challenging regulatory and quality assurance issues, and developing internal and external communications to support change management initiatives and new and mature products.  He served as Senior Vice President and Partner in the Chicago office of Fleishman-Hillard (1999-02), leading the agency’s Midwest Technology Practice, and in senior-level positions at Golin/Harris (1995-99), leading corporate, health care and consumer product campaigns.

Leshay’s journalism career included three years as Business Editor & Anchor at WFLD-TV/Fox News Chicago and three years reporting on business, consumer, government and technology issues for CNBC.  He also worked as a reporter and anchor at KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs and KYEL-TV in Yuma, Arizona, where he won nine Associated Press broadcasting awards. He started out as a writer for The Associated Press, and is the author of the book, “How to Launch Your Career in TV News,” and the recently released novel, “Dangerous Trades.”

Leshay holds a Master of Science degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  At UCSB, he competed on the varsity tennis team, and then spent a few years as a touring and teaching tennis professional.

Leshay is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society, a group of select chief communications and public relations officers from around the country dedicated to strengthening their profession.  He serves on the Board of Trustees for Cristo Rey St. Martin, a private high school in the Cristo Rey Network providing college preparatory education to underprivileged students in Waukegan, Illinois.  He also provides counsel to the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the American Red Cross, and Easter Seals.

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