Jim Gerstein is a founding partner of GBAO, and provides research-based strategic counsel for candidates running for office, non-profit organizations, arts and cultural institutions, and Fortune 500 companies. Over the past 15 years, Jim has conducted hundreds of focus groups and surveys across the United States, Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Australia to help individuals, organizations, and companies devise strategies that will enable them to meet their goals and improve quality of life in the United States and around the world.
Jim has conducted extensive research in the areas of political beliefs and values, charitable behavior, national security and foreign policy, public safety, the courts, digital users’ experiences, health care, medical devices, museums, Millennials, and American Jews.
Prior to establishing GBAO, Jim led two different non-profit organizations through periods of substantial growth and influence. For 10 years, Jim served as the Executive Director of Democracy Corps, a non-profit organization that conducts public opinion research and provides strategic advice to the progressive community. Under Jim’s leadership, the organization increased its annual budget seven-fold and dramatically increased its impact on our national debate. Prior to his work with Democracy Corps, Jim was the Executive Director of the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation, where he led public education campaigns, congressional visits to the Middle East, and convened Middle East diplomats in the U.S. for meetings with business and political leaders. During the 1999 Israeli Prime Ministerial campaign, Jim joined Ehud Barak’s U.S.-based consulting team led by James Carville. He served as the team’s representative on the ground in Israel, overseeing polling, paid media, and message development for the campaign.
Jim has worked on several U.S. political campaigns and held several positions within the Democratic Party. In 1992, he worked on the field campaign for Carol Moseley Braun’s successful run for the U.S. Senate in Illinois. In 1996, Jim worked in the press office for the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and then directed the Clinton/Gore campaign for the north side of Chicago and northern Illinois.
Jim received an M.A. in Middle East History at Tel Aviv University and a B.A. in philosophy at Colgate University. He grew up in the Chicago area and today resides in Washington, DC, with his wife and two sons.