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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Giovanna Genard Appointed Assistant Vice President for Strategic Communication and Marketing

Giovanna M. Genard, a 21-year veteran of innovative communications, marketing and public relations at three universities, has been appointed Old Dominion University's assistant vice president for strategic communication and marketing and chief marketing officer.

In a letter to staff June 22, the University's chief operating officer, David F. Harnage, announced Genard's appointment, citing her "exemplary leadership" in serving in an acting role in the position for the past two years.

She became the first Latina member of the President's Cabinet in Old Dominion's history.

Genard, who oversees 20 professionals in five units who develop communication strategy and marketing campaigns, thanked President John R. Broderick, Harnage and the University hiring committee.

"Old Dominion is an exceptional university, with strong leadership and a vibrant community of researchers, educators, students and entrepreneurs. From our progressive president to our engaged students, the passion Monarchs have for making this public research institution one of the best in the world is contagious" she said. "I am excited to be part of advancing Old Dominion's mission and leading its marketing and communication efforts in innovative ways."

Genard's accomplishments while leading the Office of Strategic Communication and Marketing in the past two years include:

  • Re-structuring the office to maximize its ability to adapt to new technology in developing global campaigns and increase interactive experiences;
  • Deploying innovation teams to identify, evaluate and activate emerging opportunities;
  • Launching ODU's first pride-building campaign (Roar), first external e-newsletter (Monarch Mailer) and the official University Snapchat feed;
  • Using competitive big data analysis and insight in public relations to transform the way the University spots media trends, pitches stories proactively and takes action;
  • Leading a safety awareness campaign, including launching the LiveSafe mobile app;
  • Developing a comprehensive PR strategy for the live CNN panel on the vice presidential debate with anchor Erin Burnett; the opening of the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, and the visit of Secretary of State John Kerry, among other events; and
  • Building media relationships to increase positive public awareness of Old Dominion University.

As a result, the office has tripled the number of stories it produces, grown its social media engagement by more than 30 percent and expanded the University's reach to more than 5 million people through its new innovative digital marketing programs.

Genard came to Old Dominion in 2012 from the Pennsylvania State University, where she spent 14 years in positions including senior marketing associate in the Office of Strategic Communications, director of communications and student services for the Office of Student Aid and associate director of online communications for the Alumni Association.

She also served as assistant director of admissions at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa. Genard received her bachelor's degree in communication and information arts from Seton Hill and a master's degree in higher education administration, with an emphasis in communication, at Penn State.

"Please join me in congratulating Giovanna on a job well-done, with our expectation of continued success," Harnage wrote.

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