2021 Forty Under 40: Taylor Schaffer

Chief of Staff and Chief Deputy Mayor
City of Indianapolis

Over the last five years, Taylor Schaffer has moved up from communications director to deputy chief of staff to chief of staff and chief deputy mayor in Mayor Joe Hogsett’s administration, overseeing strategic communications, constituent services and policy development. That entails managing messaging and policy during a global pandemic, a national reckoning with systemic racism and the realities of a mayoral administration in transition as it moves into a second term in office. “On a day-to-day basis, I collaborate with more than two dozen individuals, including two deputy mayors and our strategic communications, government and public affairs and economic and community development functions to build a more resilient and equitable city,” she said.

Getting here: Schaffer worked in the communications and advertising industry for clients ranging from not-for-profits to Fortune 500 companies, developing public relations, branding and marketing strategies. She joined Hogsett’s campaign staff in 2015 for “an opportunity to live out my C.J. Cregg dreams,” she said, referring to the press secretary on TV’s “The West Wing.” “Now I understand why C.J. became chief of staff after Leo left—communication is the key to understanding problems and developing solutions that can be effectively executed.”

First job: At a watch shop in Terre Haute. “I can still remove links and change batteries like a pro.”Proud moments: The COVID response over the last year, including deploying more than $100 million in resources within Marion County, from cloth face masks to $34 million in rental assistance and $29 million in grants and loans to small businesses. “It’s indicative of the power of local government,” she said.

Influential person: Her grandmother, Mary Schaffer. “She passed away this year. She was larger than life. A business owner, a hard worker, an absolute diva and a force of nature.”

Givebacks: Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center board president; Visit Indy board member, Indy Hub Foundation board member; NBA All-Star Game Organizing Committee and College Football Playoff National Championship Host Committee board member

Downtime: ingesting pop culture via TV, movie, podcast or book recommendations; cooking; traveling; exploring Indianapolis • 

Check out more Forty Under 40 honorees.

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