Jeanne Atkinson

Senior Associate

Jeanne Atkinson has spent more than 25 years working in public affairs and communications, providing strategic counseling, media outreach, crisis management and hands-on support to corporate and not-for-profit clients, political candidates and elected officials.

Jeanne began her career at a Chicago-based public affairs firm, where she quickly learned that the most successful public relations efforts include an integrated approach to shaping public policy and communicating with stakeholders.

Early on, Jeanne helped guide a major telecommunications company through a statewide deregulation campaign and worked with the client to develop focus groups and town hall-style meetings throughout Illinois, conduct legislative briefings and execute a multipronged media strategy.

She also developed grassroots outreach and communications plans to win community support for a controversial new health care facility on Chicago’s Near West Side. Other clients included Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Whittle Communications, the town of Effingham, Ill., and the Chicago Public Schools.

Jeanne’s passion for public policy led her to campaigns and government, where she was able to put her communications skills to use with political candidates, government and elected officials at local, state and federal levels. As a press secretary for the Illinois Senate Democrats, Jeanne served as a spokesperson for eight state senators from Chicago. She also served as the statewide deputy press secretary during Senator Paul Simon’s successful 1990 re-election campaign for United States Senator.

In 1994, Jeanne was named a special assistant to the Midwest office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). She served as a HUD spokesperson during the federal government’s takeover of the Chicago Housing Authority and frequently traveled to Washington, D.C., where she worked with HUD officials to craft messages to communicate the department’s public housing and urban development goals.

Jeanne is a lifelong Chicago resident and lives on the north side of Chicago with her husband, three children and their dog. She is a member of the Chicago Committee of Human Rights Watch.