Update – University of Toronto Communications Office (PDAD&C #38)

From: David Estok, Vice-President, Communications
Date: November 22, 2018
Re: Update – University of Toronto Communications Office (PDAD&C #38)

Due to some recent retirements on the University of Toronto Communications’ (UTC) senior leadership team and the desire to continue to improve our communications efforts, we are announcing senior personnel changes to further strengthen and integrate our portfolios, and to enhance the strategic service we provide to the University.

I am pleased to announce some important changes to University of Toronto Communications, including a new organizational structure and the promotion of key staff into new roles.

UTC is now organized into three portfolios:

Communications and Public Engagement, led by Erin Lemon
Communications Strategy and Stakeholder Relations, led by Althea Blackburn-Evans
Brand Strategy and Integrated Marketing, led by Tanya Kreinin

Erin Lemon has been appointed Executive Director, Communications and Public Engagement. Erin’s team includes three portfolios responsible for overall editorial strategy and execution for the University’s primary communications channels (U of T News, U of T Magazine, social media platforms), media relations strategy and execution, videography and photography, and digital strategy and execution for the University’s homepage collection. Erin has held a range of senior roles in the central communications portfolio of the University, including director of faculty and staff communications, director of online communications and marketing, and, most recently, executive director of news and media.

Erin’s management team includes:

  • Philippe Devos joined U of T on November 5 as Director, Media Relations. Philippe comes to U of T from World Wildlife Fund Canada, where he was Director, Communications and Media, after spending the first part of his career at The Globe & Mail, where he held roles as Deputy Foreign Editor and Senior Editor of Digital. Philippe will continue building U of T’s external profile, domestically and internationally, and work with academics and researchers to convey in the media the impact and relevance of their work and of the University’s mission.
  • Jennifer Lanthier has taken on the newly created role Director, Editorial Strategy, with responsibility for U of T News and U of T Magazine. Jennifer will oversee the strategy and development of these important storytelling channels, and will help develop a public engagement strategy that demonstrates the relevance of the University’s academic and research mission. Jennifer’s senior team includes Noreen Rasbach, Editor-in-Chief of U of T News, and Scott Anderson, Editor and Manager of U of T Magazine.
  • Chris Boutet is the Director of Digital Content and Engagement, with responsibility for UTC’s social media and website design and development teams and for the University’s homepage collection. In the coming year, Chris will play a key role in a review of the University’s digital communications channels.

Althea Blackburn-Evans has been appointed Executive Director, Communications Strategy and Stakeholder Relations. Althea’s team includes three portfolios with responsibility for delivering strategic service to Simcoe Hall through institutional communications strategy and planning, issues and crisis management, and internal communications strategy and execution. Althea has deep experience at U of T, having held several increasingly senior communications roles at the University over nearly 20 years. Althea has built a reputation as a trusted strategic advisor and team leader in various central offices and faculties, including the former Office of the Vice-President, Research & International Relations, the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, and here at UTC as the former director of media relations.

Althea’s management team includes:

  • Karen McCarthy joined U of T on November 19 in the newly created role of Director, Communications Strategy and Planning. Karen comes to us from Concordia University, where she was Director, Institutional Communications. Karen will act as a senior advisor to U of T’s presidential and vice-presidential portfolios, playing a lead role in developing communications plans to advance U of T’s strategic priorities.
  • Liz Church has taken on the new role of Director, Stakeholder Relations. Liz will lead the development of the University’s communications strategies related to issues and crisis management, provide issues-related communications advice and support to senior administration, and act as a spokesperson for the University.
  • Christine Bezruki joins U of T in the newly created role of Internal Communications Strategist, effective December 3. Christine comes to us from the University of Waterloo, where she has managed communications for the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. Christine will play a key role in conducting an internal communications audit and will work to develop strategies for communicating to faculty, staff, and students about key initiatives at the University.

As previously announced by me and David Palmer, Tanya Kreinin has been appointed Assistant Vice-President, Brand Strategy and Integrated Marketing. Reporting to me on University-wide brand marketing, and to David Palmer on advancement communications and marketing, Tanya is responsible for elevating U of T’s image, identity, and reputation among key national and international stakeholders and positioning U of T more effectively to secure alumni engagement and philanthropic investment locally and globally. With more than twenty years of experience within the field of brand strategy, consulting, integrated marketing, and communications planning and implementation within both public and private sectors, Tanya brings extensive experience and knowledge to the role.

Tanya’s management team that supports UTC will be built out in the coming weeks.

Finally, UTC is creating an institutional team that will guide and support U of T’s commitment to a “one University, three campuses” framework. To that end, the communications leadership at the University of Toronto Mississauga and the University of Toronto Scarborough now report dually to their respective Vice-Presidents & Principals and to me.

Jane Stirling was recently appointed Executive Director, Communications at UTM and is leading the development of this important new office, helping to define its mandate and recruiting to build its capacity to better meet the needs of the internal community and more effectively represent UTM’s extraordinary achievements externally.

David Jang has joined U of T as Executive Director, Communications and Public Affairs at UTSC. David comes from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where he was most recently Senior Director, Marketing, Communications, and Brand Experience. David will work to enhance the quality of communication within and about UTSC and foster close collaboration with colleagues and units at UTSC.

Both David and Jane – along with the rest of UTC’s management team – will help strengthen coordination with counterparts across U of T, to ensure an integrated and mutually reinforcing approach to communications.

I am excited about our new structure and leadership team. We are better positioned than ever to provide strategic service to the University in a highly integrated and coordinated way, in order to promote, enhance, and protect the University of Toronto’s reputation.