40 Under 40 2020 | Jesse Lewin, McDonald’s, 35

40 Under 40 2020 | Jesse Lewin, McDonald’s, 35

It is said that Jesse Lewin started at the top and just carried on upward from there.

His first job after graduating from Kenyon College in 2007 was as a media monitor for Barack Obama, catching and calling out made-up quotes attributed to the then-presidential candidate. After Obama’s historic win, Lewin traveled as part of the president’s press team aboard Air Force One.

In 2012, Lewin joined Burson-Marsteller as a media specialist in the Beltway, where he helped roll out sustainability initiatives for Ford on its Fusion and C-Max Hybrid brands.

He joined McDonald’s in 2017, when his former colleagues, Robert Gibbs from the White House and Burson-Marsteller alum Jano Cabrera, tapped him as director of U.S. field communications.

Given a team of 21 internal communicators, Lewin trained them in external comms and U.S. media, and made new hires. He also successfully localized the $6 billion investment McDonald’s made to modernize U.S. restaurants, driving over 2,000 local stories, national media and events/endorsements by local mayors and governments.

Elevated to a global mandate in 2019 with his newly created current role, Lewin helped steer McDonald’s through the departure of CEO Steve Easterbrook last year and the ongoing coronavirus health pandemic.

“With broad responsibility for every aspect of corporate communications, he has twice built high-performing teams, mentoring new and tenured people alike — even those with far more experience than he,” notes his boss, global comms VP Michael Gonda.

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