Julie A. Peterson and Lisa M. Rudgers are co-founders and partners of Peterson Rudgers Group, a consulting firm focused on strategic planning, vision and goal setting, and the communication, organizational development, and leadership practices needed to ensure long-term success. They do this critical work in support of organizations that advance the world’s knowledge, including colleges and universities, foundations, nonprofits, start-ups, and other entities with a related mission.
The University of Michigan-Flint has engaged Julie and Lisa to support a comprehensive strategic planning process that is transparent and inclusive of a broad range of voices and input. Their role is to provide expert staff support and project management to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and to university academic and administrative leadership. They began this effort in September 2016, coming to campus for a week of meetings with members of the faculty and staff, student leaders, alumni and representatives of the Flint community. As a follow-up to these meetings, they shared detailed notes with campus that served as a resource for the Chancellor, Provost, Cabinet, Deans, and Faculty Governance groups in thinking about how to design an inclusive and effective planning process.
Going forward, Julie and Lisa will support the Steering Committee by assembling background materials and templates, helping to facilitate group discussions, producing minutes, tracking deadlines, identifying resources for environmental scanning and survey design, and helping to develop communications to keep the campus community informed. Among the channels for communication are the Strategic Planning 2017 website (https://www.umflint.edu/strategicplanning2017) and the email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) for campus feedback and ideas.
Julie A. Peterson Biography
Prior to launching a successful consulting practice in 2015, Peterson spent more than 30 years in higher education leadership roles, as well as teaching and presenting on strategy, leadership, communications, and issues management. She has led communications for a wide range of topics across higher education, including academic medical centers, college athletics, student life, fundraising campaigns, admissions and student recruitment, civic engagement, diversity and inclusion, and the launch of new academic programs.
As Vice President for Communications at the University of Chicago from 2007-15, Peterson was responsible for transforming the external visibility and reputation of the university among a broad range of audiences in the United States and around the world. Her work helped to elevate the university in the U.S. News rankings from 15 to 4, more than triple student applications to the College, strengthen faculty recruitment, and dramatically increase fundraising. The university’s homepage (www.uchicago.edu), developed under her creative leadership, won two prestigious Webby awards in 2014. She led the communications for the university’s successful bid to win the Barack Obama Presidential Library to Chicago’s South Side.
Before joining the University of Chicago, Peterson served as interim vice president for communications at the University of Michigan, overseeing all aspects of both internal and external communications. As associate vice president for media relations and public affairs at Michigan from 2000 to 2007, she managed emerging public issues, guided communications for university strategic priorities and initiatives, and became a senior adviser to the president and executive leadership team, providing critical leadership for a number of important challenges including the Michigan affirmative action lawsuits that went to the Supreme Court.
Peterson holds a BA in journalism and psychology with high distinction from Indiana University and an MBA in marketing research from IU’s Kelley School of Business.
Lisa M. Rudgers Biography
Lisa has more than 30 years experience in higher education, strategy, marketing, public affairs, issues management and leadership coaching. She has served as inhouse counsel to seven university presidents.
Previously, Rudgers was the University of Michigan’s vice president for global communications and strategic initiatives. She served a total of 12 years in that role. She was responsible for developing communication strategies to enhance U-M’s visibility locally, nationally and internationally. As an executive officer, she was a member of the cabinet-level leadership team and served as senior counselor to the president and other executive officers. She directed and managed the global communications division, including marketing, public affairs, internal communications, news, social media, photography, and presidential communications as well as the university’s top-ranked public radio station, Michigan Radio.
Rudgers played a crucial role in leading the public outreach messaging and related strategies surrounding the university’s historic defense of its admissions lawsuits up to the U.S. Supreme Court. She directed communication supporting many presidential and university initiatives, including the president’s international delegations to China, Brazil and India. She was one of the creators of the University Research Corridor, aligning the three largest research-intensive universities in the state to spark greater collaboration and economic prosperity. Her communications strategies supported U-M initiatives in diversity and inclusion, entrepreneurship, library digitization, sustainability and the arts.
U-M efforts under her leadership also included revamping the university’s web presence called the Gateway, now with more than 20 million visits each year. She led the development of the Michigan Difference and Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign themes. She established the university’s first global communications initiative including the Global Michigan web portal in five languages and U-M’s Weibo presence. She launched the university’s first social media office and spearheaded a university-wide branding initiative and visual identity program recognized as best in class by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). She has managed several presidential transitions, including the introduction of U-M’s Mary Sue Coleman and Mark S. Schlissel.
Rudgers is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University.