Margaret Shepard isn’t afraid to talk a little business. She leads the six-person strategic communications team for the US Chamber of Commerce, an organization representing more than 3 million businesses that sits a stone’s throw from the White House.
Shepard’s group works to deliver the voice of business and a message of free enterprise to the uppermost reaches of government, the public, and stakeholders around the globe.
Shepard’s MBA, earned while working full time at the chamber, and an early career start at Inter-American Development Bank and VC firm Kissinger McLarty Capital Group, no doubt aided her success in the high-stakes environment of Washington and corporate America’s power players.
A savvy content marketer, she leads programming for the Campaign for Free Enterprise, a crucial chamber effort. In her first year as the managing editor for FreeEnterprise.com, the site racked up more than 2 million unique visits, making it the group’s most-visited digital property. Some of the site’s content has been picked up by outlets such as Time and Fast Company.
The creativity she brings to the job earns her accolades among peers and the industry
as a whole. She directed the chamber’s This Way to Jobs campaign, which took a complicated subject – the legal and regulatory hurdles to job creation – and turned it into a clever board game.
Shepard also oversees the chamber’s largest member event, America’s Small Business Summit, and led all events for the organization’s 100th anniversary in 2012.
"Margaret is a creative, thoughtful, and proactive leader who has been central to many of the chamber’s most important communications efforts," says Tom Collamore, the organization’s SVP of comms and strategy. "It is easy to see her brilliant ideas at work in some of the chamber’s flagship campaigns."
Not afraid to reach outside the typical confines of the chamber’s business, Shepard created one of the first YouTube video contests hosted by an association and later kicked off a cross-country blogger tour, On the Road With Free Enterprise, which created a steady content stream and boosted Web traffic by 40%.
"Margaret’s creativity and active leadership style consistently enable her to devise new strategies that support the chamber’s priorities and brand," adds Collamore.
- Shepard led a reorganization of the chamber’s comms team, streamlining work processes and strengthening client relationships
- She enjoys running and is an avid traveler; in the past year, Shepard visited London, Paris, the Florida Keys, Austin, and hiked Mount Toubkal in Morocco
- Shepard kicked off the chamber’s brand-activation event at SXSW 2015, the Nacho Average Happy Hour