Columnist | Business

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.


Lack of diversity among top executives contributes to racial wealth gap

Wealth inequality does not get nearly the attention it deserves, and nothing like the focus on income inequality.It's the hand-wringing over the role played by…


Schafer: Think the stock market has made big moves? Take a look at home values

What's happened since the beginning of the pandemic this year isn't exactly a normal recession.


Schafer: Here's why the $600 weekly jobless benefit meant so much to the U.S. economy

Even if Congress and the White House decided to continue the benefit, odds are slim it remains $600 per week.


Schafer: We might wear our masks yet if behavioral science is correct

Making decisions, over and over throughout a day, can use up our capacity for self-control.


Schafer: Big law firms embraced small-business loan program, and for good reason

It wasn't about making sure the rock stars kept getting paid but ensuring the crew members did.


Schafer: Stock market rising on the indispensable companies

The boomers and Xers remember when Microsoft was so dominant that a federal judge ordered it broken up. That year of peak Microsoft…


Schafer: How major league teams can still make money in front of empty stands

Is this the year that sports moves closer to completing its transition from an in-person experience to a reality TV show?


Schafer: Work from home is not about the place

The reasons some employers canned flexible work programs were what you would expect. Yet those seem like correctable management mistakes.


Schafer: An adjustment here, an adjustment there, soon you're talking real money

It's no defense of adjusting numbers for the virus to point out that investors see adjusted financial information all the time


Schafer: As threat vigilance ends, a new way of work is taking shape

The worst days of the spread of infection in our country’s COVID-19 pandemic were not in April after all. They were last week. There was…