Staff Directory 6134703

Lee Schafer

Columnist | Business
Phone: 612-673-4302

Lee Schafer joined the Star Tribune as a columnist in 2012 after 15 years in business, including leading his own consulting practice and serving on corporate boards of directors. He's twice been named the best in business columnist by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, most recently for his work in 2017.


Schafer grew up on a southwest Minnesota cattle farm and studied history and economics at Macalester College. He received his masters degree from Northwestern University and worked as a writer and editor for a regional business monthly before returning to business. His work included investment banking but he had the most fun advising CEOs on growth strategy. He lives in St. Paul with his wife Tanya Bell, a real estate development consultant and civic leader, and they have three adult daughters. He's also been active as a volunteer, including for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Neighborhood House and Urban Homeworks.
Recent content from Lee Schafer
Americans don’t trust businesses, don’t trust nonprofits, don’t trust their media sources of information and they really don’t trust their gov

Schafer: Distrust is all around, especially in America

The authors of the annual Edelman report on people's trust in major institutions should be forgiven for declaring a bankruptcy in their most recent annual…
Decided when to sell is a huge moment for any business owner, and not even the pandemic stands in the way for some.

Schafer: It may not look like the right time, but plenty of business owners head for the exits

It made sense when consultant Julie Keyes said last week that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the plans of baby boomers who had hoped to…
People protesting the presidential election results inside the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. The Capitol building was placed on lo

Schafer: If last week's chaos can't get CEOs involved for the civic good, what can?

The breathtaking actions of the mob incited by President Donald Trump to rush the Capitol Wednesday made it nearly impossible to keep your eyes off…
No one can be sure that emptied-out downtown Minneapolis will stay that way for long after the pandemic abates.

Schafer: Office life will change, but the need for offices won't

One item that stood out in this typically slow season for business news is the sale of a downtown Minneapolis parking lot to the global…
Schafer: I couldn't finish my annual financial review, so I started thinking bigger

Schafer: I couldn't finish my annual financial review, so I started thinking bigger

Earlier this year I took my annual financial planning and year-in-review tasks off the to-do list.The only real goal left after about the Fourth of…
FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2012, file photo, Bob Dylan performs in Los Angeles. Universal Music Publishing Group is buying legendary singer Bob Dylan’s

Schafer: What's behind the big decision Bob Dylan just made

Universal Music Group's recent announcement that it acquired the song catalog of Bob Dylan was light on details, like how much it paid, and…
A Help Wanted sign is posted at a Designer Eyes store in Miami.

Schafer: America has a dropout problem, and I'm not talking about schools

About 4 million fewer Americans are in the workforce now than at the start of the year.This is not about unemployment. About 19 million…