Michael StrautmanisFoundation Leadership
Executive Vice President, External Affairs
Michael Strautmanis serves as the Obama Foundation’s Executive Vice President for External Affairs, building its strategy to extend President and Mrs. Obama’s legacy through the development of the Obama Presidential Center and civic engagement programming in Chicago. Through community affairs, government relations, strategic partnerships, and digital storytelling, Michael has built the Foundation's impact agenda in Chicago to create an anchor institution that will catalyze economic renewal on the South Side of Chicago and develop the city’s next generation of leaders. In this role, he is in dialogue with Chicagoans from every walk of life who are looking to learn more about the Obama Presidential Center and participate in the Foundation’s mission to empower leaders to give back to their communities. Michael also leads the My Brother's Keeper Alliance, President Obama's signature initiative to create safe, healthy, and nurturing communities for boys and young men of color across the nation.
Before joining the Obama Foundation, Michael spent over a decade in Washington, D.C., working to increase access to economic opportunity, strengthen the judicial system, and champion equity and inclusion in the White House, federal agencies, and Congress. He served in the Obama White House for four of those years as Chief of Staff to Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. After President Obama’s first term, he joined the Walt Disney Company where he led an enterprise-wide initiative to consolidate, focus, and deepen the impact of Disney’s corporate social responsibility programs. Michael began his career in government working in the Office of General Counsel at the U.S. Agency for International Development. He did stints at the House of Representatives and American Association for Justice before joining then-Senator Obama’s congressional staff, campaign, and subsequent transition team.
An active member of Chicago’s civic community, Michael serves on the boards of Everside Health, Inc., the Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative, the Billie Jean King Leadership Institute, the Illinois Finance Authority and Headspace Health. Mike received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and a J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law.