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Key Leaders Hired in Division of Marketing and Communications
Dara Royer, senior vice president and chief communications officer, today announced the appointment of three key leaders in the Division of Marketing and Communications. The appointments are Sarah Scalese, senior associate vice president for communications; Ellen de Graffenreid, senior associate vice president for content strategy; and Tonya Strong-Charles, executive director for media relations. Scalese’s appointment is effective immediately; de Graffenreid and Strong-Charles will begin their roles in late August.
As Royer continues to redefine the University’s marketing and communications programs, she says retaining outstanding team members and attracting and recruiting new talent to join the team are critical to achieving the division’s vision.
“Aligned with the University, our division is undergoing a thoughtful transformation,” says Royer. “Our shift in approach, direction and strategy requires a mix of current and fresh leadership perspectives. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue working with Sarah, who brings a track record of success here at the University to a larger leadership role, and am eager to partner with Ellen and Tonya, both of whom possess impressive experience and expertise.”
In her new role, Scalese will lead internal and external communications strategy and will oversee the newly created internal communications team and the media relations team. Reporting directly to Royer, Scalese will continue to partner with campus constituents, including University leaders, faculty, staff and students on communications initiatives designed to support the University’s engagement with its internal and external audiences, including the media.
Scalese most recently served as associate vice president for university communications, a position she held since October 2015. In her previous role, she led and managed the University’s Office of News Services, Office of Publications, Office of Public Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences communications office. A respected member of the campus community, Scalese first joined Syracuse University in January 2014 as director of communications in the College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to Syracuse, Scalese held leadership roles at Racepoint Global and Schneider Associates, both of which are Boston-based integrated marketing communications firms. She formerly served as director of communications for the Massachusetts House Minority Leader, during which time she was named Press Secretary of the Year two years in a row by Boston’s State House press corps. Before transitioning into public relations, Scalese worked in television news, producing and writing newscasts for network affiliates in Boston; Albany, N.Y.; and Jacksonville, Fla. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at Jacksonville University.
Ellen de Graffenreid
As senior associate vice president for content strategy, de Graffenreid will develop a cohesive and holistic content strategy, ensuring the University shares the right stories with the right audiences at the right time. This includes working with University leaders to effectively communicate progress toward advancing priority strategic initiatives. Reporting to Royer, de Graffenreid will work collaboratively with the communications and marketing strategy teams, as well as marketers across the University, to ensure the advancement of the University’s global positioning and academic, research and student experience objectives.
De Graffenreid brings 20 years of higher education and academic medicine communications and marketing leadership to the team. She currently serves as director of communications for the Robert J. Margolis, M.D., Center for Health Policy at Duke University, overseeing all aspects of the center’s communications, and serves on Duke University’s Public Affairs and Government Relations leadership team. Prior to joining Duke, de Graffenreid served as vice chancellor for marketing and communications at the University of Missouri and senior vice president for communications at Brandeis University, overseeing branding and marketing, media relations, university publications, digital communications, official social media channels, trademarks and licensing, and creative services. She is a regular volunteer with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and writes an occasional column for Inside Higher Ed. She holds master’s degrees in business administration and Russian history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s degree in history from Indiana University.
As executive director of media relations, Strong-Charles will build a dedicated media relations team and will serve as a senior strategist for Syracuse University’s media relations efforts. Reporting to Scalese, Strong-Charles will be responsible for building and implementing an earned media strategy that tells the many compelling and noteworthy stories about Syracuse University and its people. In addition to overseeing the media relations team, Strong-Charles will collaborate with campus constituents to media train University ambassadors, coordinate media events and ensure Syracuse University is being presented authentically and effectively to target audiences.
Strong-Charles currently serves as executive director of media relations at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. In this role, she manages all external and internal communications. During her time at John Carroll, Strong-Charles developed and continuously evaluated the institution’s media relations strategy, marketing objectives and leadership messaging; served as the university’s spokesperson and media coach; oversaw all major publications and social media channels; led crisis communications and emergency response procedures; and established and managed beneficial relationships with local schools, business leaders and municipal governments. Prior to joining John Carroll in 2007, Strong-Charles was an Emmy-winning journalist who held anchor and reporter roles for the ABC affiliate in Cleveland and NBC News. A commitment to service has always been important to Strong-Charles. She has served on the boards and councils of several organizations, including Community Housing Solutions (Cleveland); the Cleveland Foundation; and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of John Carroll University. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and Press Club of Cleveland. Strong-Charles holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from Purdue University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in nonprofit administration at John Carroll University.
About Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private, international research university with distinctive academics, diversely unique offerings and an undeniable spirit. Located in the geographic heart of New York State, with a global footprint, and nearly 150 years of history, Syracuse University offers a quintessential college experience. The scope of Syracuse University is a testament to its strengths: a pioneering history dating back to 1870; a choice of more than 200 majors and 100 minors offered through 13 schools and colleges; nearly 15,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students; more than a quarter of a million alumni in 160 countries; and a student population from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. For more information, please visit http://syracuse.edu.