First lady taps PR exec for top communications spot

The White House on Monday announced that Los Angeles-based public relations executive Kristina Schake will join the first lady’s office next month as the director of communications. The position had been vacant since the departure of former communications director 
Camille Johnston in August. 

In a statement Monday, first lady Michelle Obama said, “I’m thrilled to welcome Kristina to the team. Kristina brings a wealth of expertise that I know will make her a tremendous 
asset in the East Wing.” 

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The first lady highlighted Schake’s “extensive work ... on child nutrition and community health 
issues,” as well as “her experience as part of a military family,” two of the issues most important to Mrs. Obama. A spokesman for Schake’s firm told ITK that Schake’s father is a Vietnam veteran (he was a major in the Air Force), her brother was a veteran of the first Gulf War (he was an Air Force colonel) and her nephew is a 
cadet at the Air Force Academy.

Schake is co-founder and principal of Griffin|Schake, a PR firm in California. She formerly served as the senior communications strategist for California first lady Maria Shriver, as well as 
working as the director of the state’s Governor’s Summit on Obesity.