Communications executive Jim Olson ’91 to present ‘Storytelling in the Digital Age’ Nov. 12 at Newhouse

October 25, 2018
Jim Olson '91
Jim Olson '91 is an alumnus of Newhouse's public relations program

Jim Olson ’91, chief communications officer at Steward Health Care, will visit the Newhouse School Nov. 12 as the Social Commerce Days Visiting Executive. He will present “Storytelling in the Digital Age” at 7 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, Newhouse 3.

His visit is part of the annual Social Commerce Days, sponsored by the public relations department.

For 25 years, Olson has thrived at the intersection of communications, transformation and innovation. He is a hands-on, globally oriented executive who has led winning teams across the retail, aviation, technology, health care and automotive sectors. Along the way, he has worked with some of the world’s best-known brands, including Starbucks, United Airlines, US Airways, Nissan, Boeing and others. Today, Olson serves as the chief communications officer at Steward Health Care, the world’s largest private, physician-led health care network.

Throughout his career, Olson has applied the power of strategic storytelling to help restore, renew and elevate the brand reputations of these companies while introducing their game-changing products and services to consumers across the globe—often at times of immense disruption, transformation and growth. He is also one of the world’s most tested crisis management advisers. His “in the foxhole” experience spans virtually every category of crisis, from the crash of US Airways Flight 1549 in New York’s icy Hudson River to the terrorist suicide bombing of a Starbucks store in Jakarta, Indonesia.  

Olson is a motivational leader and team builder with a rare global perspective from visiting and working in more than 35 countries across six continents. Along the way, his travels have taken him from the halls of government in China to the backroads of Kenya and from Korea’s Demilitarized Zone to Egypt’s great pyramids.

Prior to Steward, Olson led the global corporate communications teams at United Airlines, Starbucks, US Airways and pay-per-click marketing pioneer Overture. He has also held senior leadership posts at WE Communications (formerly Waggener Edstrom Worldwide). He devoted the first decade of his career to the auto industry—starting with J.D. Power, followed by seven years as a trusted adviser to Nissan while working for ad agency TBWA Chiat/Day and global PR firm Porter Novell, and co-leading his own PR firm, Lost Dog Communications.

In 2016, Olson was recognized by The Holmes Reportas one of the world’s top 100 most influential in-house communicators and in 2015, he was honored at the Newhouse School’s “50Forward” gala in New York, and is featured in the school’s Professional Gallery.

Olson is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society, serves on the board of directors of the University of Southern California Center for Public Relations and has served twice on the board of directors of The Lagrant Foundation. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), where he served as co-chair of the 2014 PRSA International Conference. 

An alumnus of the Newhouse School’s public relations program, he earned an M.B.A. from USC.

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be available at the event. For more information about the event, or if you require additional accommodations, please contact Maria Russell at or (315) 443-4066 by Monday, Nov. 5.