If knowing is half the battle, then Scott Burnham is the veteran strategist you want on your side. With more than twenty years of hard-fought experience in journalism, government, campaigns and crisis management, he knows firsthand the ins and outs of Illinois politics and media, bringing an impressive record of experience, credibility and results to the table.
At Serafin, Scott is relied upon to handle many of the firm’s crisis clients, developing winning strategies to protect their reputations and brands while knowing when and how they should tell their story. He has also spearheaded several successful legislative campaigns leading to reforms and new laws by utilizing a variety of media platforms that target the right audiences, namely voters, lawmakers, and editorial boards. Crafting just the right message, Scott leverages his media savvy and community relations skills to tell compelling stories and generate grass roots support for a variety of advocacy and client issues.
Throughout his career, he has developed strong relationships with key stakeholders, decision-makers and media personalities to effectively convey messages and achieve results. Scott’s expertise lies in delivering sound, effective communications strategies, while his roots penetrate state, county and suburban politics and news outlets.
Prior to joining Serafin, Scott served as communications director for Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, retooling the first-time candidate’s tarnished image to help Giannoulias ascend to statewide office and, ultimately, a U.S. Senate nomination. Running against the political establishment, Giannoulias capped off an improbable victory to become the youngest state treasurer in the nation, where Scott continued to raise the administration’s profile as a senior adviser. He later became communications director for Giannoulias’ U.S. Senate bid, acting as chief spokesperson and directing communications and media strategies for one of the nation’s highest-profile and costliest campaigns.
In the wake of the electoral crisis in the 2000 presidential election, Scott spearheaded voter reform initiatives for one of the largest election jurisdictions in the nation as communications director for Cook County Clerk David Orr’s Office. Many of his efforts gained national attention, resulting in industry awards and recognition that positioned Cook County as an election reform leader.
Scott honed a propensity for packaging clear and effective messages that resonate with both targeted and mainstream audiences as a political reporter for the Daily Southtown, where he covered county, state and federal government. He also worked as an award-winning journalist at the Illinois bureau of the Hammond Times and as a contributor to the Chicago Reporter and Illinois Issues.
Scott earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.