Gary F. Grates is a globally renowned, recognized, and respected expert in change management communications, employee engagement and corporate strategy execution counseling senior leaders and Boards of Directors from global organizations in the areas of leadership transition, M&A integration, crisis, labor-management relations, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, function optimization, internal communications improvement, strategy implementation, and change management.
He is a Principal at W20 Group, the parent company of WCG, Twist Marketing, W20 Ventures, and NextWorks. This network of independent, complementary public relations, marketing, and communications counseling firms focused on integrated business solutions in the areas product supremacy, innovation, change, organizational effectiveness, and growth for the world’s leading organizations.
A member of the Executive Team, Grates has more than 25 years of corporate, marketing/brand, labor, and strategic communications experience with a particular expertise in organizational (change) management/employee (internal) communications. Grates has counseled more than one hundred organizations and CEOs including: General Motors, PepsiCo, Caterpillar, Shell, Kraft, Nissan, GE, Carrier/United Technologies, Novartis, Exxon/Mobil, Shell, AMD, Visa, Yum! Brands, eBay, Wyeth, British Airways, VW, Volvo, United Airlines, Pfizer, Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch/InBev, Kimberly Clark, The McGraw-Hill Companies, ITT, Vale, and Dell, to name a few.
From 2006-2011,Grates established and led the global Change and Employee Engagement Practice at Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, putting in place a network of specialists and developing a distinct portfolio around change management, internal communications, social media, and employee engagement for organizations throughout the world.
Prior to Edelman, he served as Vice President-Corporate Communications/North America at General Motors Corporation. While VP of Communications/North America, Grates was responsible for brand, product, media, internal, financial and public policy communications for GM’s North America Region, the largest in the company. He was also the global process leader for internal communications and a member of General Motors’ North American Strategy Board, the senior most governing body in North America. In addition, he was member of the teaching staff at General Motors University (GMU) and was selected to join the company’s exclusive Senior Executive Program, a leadership development program.
Prior to joining General Motors, he was Chairman and President of GCI BoxenbaumGrates, a noted strategic communications consultancy and Executive Vice President and Managing Director of GCI Consulting, a unit of GCI Group Public Relations, responsible for managing the firm’s global clients.
A frequent lecturer and author on issues facing corporate management and communications professionals worldwide, Grates has been referred to as the “thought leader” in change management communications and effective employee-management relations. He has published more than 200 articles/white papers on the strategic importance of communications in achieving business excellence.
He is an Adjunct Professor at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, a Teaching Professor and member of the Advisory Board at ABERJE – the Brazilian Association for Corporate Communications, a former Trustee of Utica College of Syracuse University, a member of the Arthur W. Page Society, PRSA, IABC, National Corporate Directors Association (NACD), and the Institute for PR Research (IPR). He was named one of the Newhouse School’s top “40” graduates.
Grates holds a bachelor’s degree from Utica College of Syracuse University and a master’s degree from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.