Gary Grates leads the corporate and strategy practices at W2O Group Worldwide, where he oversees a team of professionals counseling senior leaders and boards of directors from global organizations in the areas of leadership transition, labor-management relations, organizational effectiveness, internal communications improvement, change management and other areas. He is also a member of the firm’s leadership team.
Grates has more than 25 years of corporate, marketing/branding, labor and strategic communications experience with a particular expertise in organizational (change) management/employee (internal) communications. He has counseled more than 100 organizations and CEOs, including PepsiCo, Caterpillar, Shell, Kraft, Nissan, Exxon/Mobil, eBay, United Airlines, Pfizer, Coca-Cola and others.
Grates was previously at Edelman, where he established the global change and employee engagement practice, 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 of corporate communications/North America at General Motors Corporation, where he was responsible for brand, product, media, internal, financial and public policy communications. He was also the global process leader for internal communications and a member of General Motors’ North American Strategy Board. 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 Boxenbaum Grates 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 and white papers on the strategic importance of communications in achieving business excellence.