LeBlanc hires new vice president for communications, marketing

Updated: Aug. 14, 2020 at 5:03 p.m.

GW has hired a new vice president for communications and marketing following a nationwide search.

Heather Swain, the vice president for marketing, public relations and digital strategy at Michigan State University, will start her position at GW on Sept. 14, according to a release. The Resource Allocation Committee approved Swain’s hiring amid a suspension of most new hirings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the release states.

“Now more than ever it is critical that higher education institutions tell their unique story as effectively as possible,” University President Thomas LeBlanc said in the release. “Heather will help streamline and drive efficiencies in our efforts as she translates our strengths and aspirations into a comprehensive marketing and communications strategy to best position the University as we enter our third century.”

Swain met with several top officials, members of the Board of Trustees and two deans during the search, according to the release. GW hired executive placement firm The Ward Group to assist with the search, the release states.

University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said Lorraine Voles, who served as the vice president of external relations, left GW at the end of June.

“Lorraine stepped down from the position after leading the Division of External Relations for 11 years to reestablish her consulting practice in strategic communications,” Nosal said in an email.

Voles now works as an independent strategic communications consultant, according to her LinkedIn profile.

“I’m honored by President LeBlanc’s invitation to join his team and the George Washington University,” Swain said in the release. “This incredible University and its students, staff, faculty and alumni are a vital force, changing the nation and the world every day. I look forward to supporting their success and helping focus the GW narrative in ways that elevate its distinction and contributions.”

Swain has worked at Michigan State since 2006 in various communications, brand strategy and public relations roles, according to her LinkedIn profile. She has also worked at Ball State University and Indiana University.

She has served as co-chair and member of multiple higher education communication organizations and committees, according to the release. Swain earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of William and Mary and completed the Institute for Educational Management program at Harvard University, the release states.

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