Shannon Craig Straw leads West End Strategy Team’s Chicago team and oversees our messaging development and strategic communications planning work. She is also one of our leading crisis communications experts, working closely with clients to navigate potentially challenging situations, including the pandemic.
At WEST, Shannon works with foundations, faith-based nonprofits and advocacy organizations. Her clients improve the lives of children and families by expanding access to the social safety net, improving education, ending gun violence, disrupting generational cycles of poverty, and dismantling systemic racism.
Earlier in her career, Shannon served as press secretary at Public Religion Research Institute, boosting its name recognition by expanding its social media presence and cultivating reporter relationships.
Prior to that, Shannon was the chief researcher for AARP’s 2010 Voter Education campaign and a communications assistant on the public education team that led the “Divided We Fail” health care and Social Security campaigns. She also has significant campaign experience, having served on the 2008 Obama for America religious affairs team and worked on federal and state campaigns in Virginia and Michigan.
Shannon holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and a certificate in brand strategy from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Her own writing has appeared in Religion News Service, Religion and Politics, and Motherly. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, two children and their dog.