Greg Swan and Stephanie Schafer bring 40 years combined experience to social-first agency and will lead capabilities and operations
Minneapolis, MN (February 7, 2022) – The Social Lights, a Minneapolis-based agency that takes a social-first approach to marketing and counts household brands like General Mills, Caribou Coffee, Kwik Trip, and Cargill among its clients, today announced recent additions to the c-suite that strengthen its creative, strategy, and operational leadership. Agency veteran, Greg Swan, brings over 20 years of experience to the agency, where he will lead strategy, content, engagement, and paid capabilities as Chief Creative and Strategy Officer. Stephanie Schafer, who recently joined the agency as Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, will employ her background in global brand client service and people management to build an agency workplace for the future.
“Greg and Stephanie join us as we build an agency for the next era of marketing, investing in talent with a natural affinity for culture, strategy, and creativity while keeping a pulse on what’s next for social media,” said Emily Pritchard, CEO and Founder of The Social Lights. “These roles are a first-of-their-kind for us, focused on capabilities and people leadership necessary to drive success for clients reimagining their marketing programs. As social media continues to move to the forefront of the modern marketing plan, we’re well-positioned to scale our agency and help clients understand the evolving landscape.”
The Social Lights has over a decade of experience in social media marketing, including strategy, content, engagement, media, measurement, and optimization. In 2021 alone, the agency brought on 12 new clients, and since the start of the pandemic, doubled revenue and staff. As brands increasingly rely on social media to lead their marketing efforts, The Social Lights is bolstering leadership, investing in talent, and preparing their impressive client roster for “what’s next” in the rapidly changing industry.
Before joining The Social Lights, Swan was Head of Creative Innovation at Fallon and led several “advertising firsts” – social pilots, VR storytelling, and platform innovations. Swan is a standout in the agency world, having made a name for himself at space150, McCann Worldgroup and Weber Shandwick. Throughout his career, Swan helped Verizon, Army, State Farm, and Arby’s wade into early emerging and social media trends, played a central role in launching the first Snapchat from outer space and introduced Spectacles to pro sports. He was named Social Media Professional of the Year by PR News and was on the 40 Under 40 lists for both PR Week and Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.
In his new role, Swan is tasked with leading capabilities and preparing clients to enter the future of social media and marketing in realms like creator partnerships, brand activations and the metaverse. He will oversee strategy, content, engagement, and media, and is responsible for brand growth across all accounts.
“Since the pandemic sped up consumer adoption of social media, marketing has never been the same,” said Swan. “There isn’t a single aspect of modern marketing that doesn’t touch social today, and The Social Lights’ social-first approach and success in helping clients accelerate into social media are what attracted me to the agency. As brands look to their partners to navigate social media and modern marketing, our teams will be ready to sort through the noise, build pilot programs, make strategic decisions, and transform social capital into brand equity across their entire marketing ecosystem.”
Stephanie joins The Social Lights from MONO, where she spent six years leading teams and consulting with clients. Across work at ICF Next, Carmichael Lynch, and Martin Williams, Stephanie built operational expertise through the ideal mix of media, account, social, team leadership and finance work, and led clients including Jack Link’s, Northwestern Mutual, Harley-Davidson, Sherwin-Williams, Propel Electrolyte Water, and L.L. Bean.
Schafer began her role as COO and Managing Director in April 2021 and oversees the account management and operations departments. Having already engineered an effective leadership structure and breakthrough agency growth in a few short months, she will drive an innovative, ideas-based, high-performance culture for The Social Lights. This year, Stephanie will focus on enhancing the end-to-end experience for talent and clients, backed by new training programs and personal development opportunities.
“We are training and equipping the next generation of talent who will transform marketing as we know it,” said Schafer. “The Social Lights is designing a workplace where people feel a sense of purpose, belonging, and are equipped to do their very best work. Our clients realize the benefit of a team that is engaged, and wired to build, innovate, and challenge the established paradigms of our industry.”