Whether it involves her legal marketing firm or her passion to help her community, Theresa Jaffe ‘70 for more than 40 years has always approached life with a purpose in mind.

As president of Theresa Jaffe Consulting in Chicago, Jaffe knows how to set goals and get them attained not only for herself but also for many others. She is a consultant and advisor in the accounting, consulting, healthcare, law, nonprofit, professional services and technology industries. 

Working with both individuals and organizations, Jaffe focuses her talents on clients all over the country who range from solo practitioners to global law firms, entrepreneurial companies, nonprofit, service and professional groups and associations and professional services firms.

Driven to get results, she helps clients increase their revenues through individual and group business development planning and coaching and enhances their visibility through creative public relations and strategies. She regularly counsels clients on ways to improve and leverage their marketing and business development processes, programs, activities and budget, she also conducts workshops and training programs focused on improving the overall client service experience.

But before she started her own consulting business in 2009, Jaffe served as the chief marketing officer (CMO) for Jenner & Block LLP for eight years. She holds the distinction there of being the first CMO in the Chicago legal community and one of the first nationally to serve in this role.  While in that role, she established the first marketing department in the firm’s 90-year history and successfully integrated marketing and business development systems, programs and behaviors into the firm’s culture and operations.

But her talent for reaching people has never stopped at the periphery of the business world. One of her first jobs after attaining her doctorate in Sociology from the University of Iowa in 1979 was as executive director for the Easter Seal Society of Metropolitan Chicago where she and her team increased revenues by 127% over a five-year period and increased patient services by 130% while simultaneously decreasing service costs by 38%.

And her passion to help and inspire people to be catalysts of change has not waned.

Because of her hard work and dedication, she was recognized by the Center for Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) with the 2017 Impact Award at its "Light Up the Loop" Annual Winter Awards Benefit in February.

"Theresa Jaffe's ability to connect has the ability to power that invisible spark that burns within each of us like a pilot light…that invisible spark which, once ignited, brings forth these words...'I care.' It takes a connection to move someone to say 'I care', and Theresa gets this like no one else I know," said Illinois Appellate Court Justice Michael B. Hyman who presented her with the award.

"Theresa is very much a connector," said Hyman. "She connects ideas to action; she connects people with people, she connects people to careers; she connects organizations to their missions; and, for CDEL, she connects your credit cards to CDEL's bank account.

"CDEL's Impact Award recognizes an individual, law firm or corporation that has developed a CDEL initiative or program or provided a level of leadership and support that profoundly impacts the lives of senior citizens or people with disabilities in Cook County, Illinois. 

As part of her volunteer work, Jaffe created and managed the inaugural Chicago Bar Foundation Investing in Justice Campaign, served on the board of directors for CDEL's prior incarnation, the Legal Clinic for the Disabled and remained a supporter of CDEL's mission to provide free legal services to low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

Throughout her career, Jaffe has also held positions at Katten Muchin Rosenman, KPMG, Arthur Andersen, Infotech and United Way.In addition to her degrees from Kean and the University of Iowa, she also earned an M.S. from Hunter College.

In her acceptance speech for her most recent award, she said, "I am grateful that my life is full of people who believe that every human being is entitled to dignity, stability and access to justice. The community service work I've done, especially that for CDEL and in the legal aid community, has given me a chance to pay all my blessings forward. It's a way to never forget how very fortunate I am. It allows me to be a better person."


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