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Gene Reineke


Work with Hawthorne

At its core, Hawthorne Strategy Group is built on personal relationships. As CEO, Gene is often the initial point of contact for our clients. Central to successful engagements that clients experience when they work with Hawthorne Strategy Group is the personal one-to-one relationship formed. For over five years Hawthorne, as founded by Gene, has committed to personal attention and a hands-on operating style, in much the same manner as Gene operated and conducted business in the first half of his professional career working in the public sector. That attention to detail is an important factor in completing successful assignments and campaigns on behalf of his clients in the corporate, non-profit, and government sectors.

Gene’s work has included corporate and marketing communications campaigns, public affairs and policy assignments, issues/crisis/reputation management, and community relations outreach on behalf of each of the firm’s clients. He has worked extensively with Aflac, AIG, CSX, Get Covered Illinois, Gary/Chicago Airport, and World Business Chicago, to name a few.

What brought him to Hawthorne

Gene enjoyed an almost twenty year career in Illinois state government in two gubernatorial administrations. He has served as a member of a governor’s cabinet, as a governor’s chief of staff, and held a variety of other positions in the administrations of former governors Jim Edgar and James R. Thompson.

After leaving public service, Gene joined the international public relations firm of Hill + Knowlton Strategies (H+K) where he worked for more than a dozen years. His roles and responsibilities at the firm included serving as Head of US Client Service, US Chief Operating Officer, and General Manager of the Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. offices. Gene has been hands-on for clients over the years dealing with issues ranging from the 2008 economic meltdown at AIG in New York City, to acting as the Chief Communications Officer for Cigna during the lead up to the Affordable Care Act in 2010, as well as representing Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid.

Gene left H+K to found Hawthorne Strategy Group in early 2012. The company specializes in many of the same public relations and strategic counseling services that Gene developed at his previous firm. The key difference? Hawthorne offers clients a personalized client engagement experience at a more accessible price.

Gene holds a B.A. from Loyola University Chicago, a M.A. from Boston College, and has earned seven certificates in digital marketing, executive leadership, and negotiation, from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

Personal Interests

Gene enjoys city life during the week in Chicago while “chilling out” on weekends with his family near the Indiana dunes. He can usually be found exploring the Windy City’s restaurants with friends and business partners. Gene enjoys reading and watching movies in his free time, and is anticipating the next season of both “House of Cards” and “Game of Thrones.”