Leif Johnson provides strategic counsel and serves as a solutions provider for corporations and trade associations to enhance their state government relations efforts throughout the country. In 2003, he opened the Leonine Washington, D.C. Office and branded the 50-state government affairs practice, FOCUS. He oversees the coalition & association management practice area, along with the state government affairs and legislative/regulatory tracking division. Leif also assumed the role of CEO and Managing Director of The Advocacy Group in 2012. He was president of the Washington Area State Relations Group (WASRG), a trade association of government affairs executives and professionals, in 2009-2010.
Previously, he was director of government relations and contracts, and director of corporate communications for West Publishing-Thomson Reuters in Minnesota. At West, Leif helped create a 50-state lobbying network. He managed West’s state and federal government relations and lobbying efforts, guided passage of database protection legislation in the House of Representatives and served as corporate spokesperson for crisis communications events. At Cisco Systems in San Jose, California, Leif was a public relations manager and directed the commercial line of business’ public relations and reputation management initiatives. He also served as a legislative director to U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, a legislative aide to Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson and led a congressional campaign in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.
Prior to his career in public policy, Leif was a high school social studies teacher and a tennis pro at Hazeltine National Golf & Tennis Club. He graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and holds a Master of Public Policy from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.