James Holtje

Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs


13th Floor International Affairs Building


Personal Details

Jim Holtje has been in the speechwriting, corporate communications, and adjunct teaching arenas in the U.S. and overseas for more than 30 years. He has been teaching speechwriting and public speaking at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs since 2016 and won SIPA’s “Outstanding Teaching Award” in 2019, among other awards and honors.

His adjunct teaching career also includes teaching corporate communications and public relations writing at New York University’s Stern School of Business as well as NYU’s School of Professional Studies. He additionally coaches executives and visiting scholars at Columbia Business School’s Center on Japanese Economy and Business (CJEB).

Holtje currently serves as a full-time speechwriter to a Managing Board member of Siemens AG and CEO of the company’s Digital Industries business. This is his second time working for the German engineering multinational. Holtje previously worked nearly a decade at Siemens as a speechwriter in New York and at the company’s global headquarters in Germany. His three-year overseas delegation in Munich included writing the global Chairman’s English-language speeches, Op-Eds, Letters to Shareholders, and other executive communications. 

Holtje also previously served as a speechwriter to the CEO of IBM and headed the Writing Center of Excellence at IBM’s Global Technology Services—the world’s largest IT infrastructure provider. Prior to IBM, he served as the speechwriter to the head of emerging payments at MasterCard and served as McGraw-Hill’s Director of Public Affairs & Speechwriting where his primary responsibilities included speechwriting and executive communications for the CEO and other C-Suite executives. Before returning to Siemens, Holtje headed corporate communication, public relations, and thought leadership at RGP, a management consulting firm spin-off of Deloitte Consulting servicing 86 of the Fortune 100.

Prior to entering corporate communications, Holtje worked at several public relations agencies and consultancies, including Brouillard Communications as well as Cohn & Wolfe where he serviced various Fortune 500 companies, including: Chrysler, DaimlerChrysler, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Deutsche Post, Eli Lilly, and Walmart, among others.

The author of six publications—including The Power of Storytelling: Captivate, Convince or Convert Any Business Audience Using Stories from Top CEOs, published by Penguin Prentice Hall and Divided It Stands: Can the United Nations Work? for Turner Publishing—he’s currently drafting his seventh book: Speak Your Way to the Top: How Classical Rhetoric Can Advance Your Modern Career—A Guide for Millennials, Gen Z, and Others.

Holtje earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and German literature from NYU in 1987 and a Master of International Affairs (MIA) from SIPA in 1990 where he also interned in the Office of the United Nations Secretary General at the UN Headquarters in New York City. Holtje is fluent in German and speaks basic French, Italian, Spanish and studied Latin. He lives in northern New Jersey with his wife, a former businesswoman from Taiwan.


  • Master of International Affairs (MIA), Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs
  • BA in political science, New York University