A senior level executive with extensive experience directing strategic communications, targeted outreach and coalition building has been named Pitt’s new vice chancellor for strategic communications and marketing.
Ellen Moran, who assumed her new position May 2, comes to Pitt from the Dewey Square Group, a leading Washington, D.C., public affairs firm. Prior to that, she served as executive vice president and general manager at Hill + Knowlton Strategies, where she led major advocacy coalitions on behalf of Fortune 500 companies, overseeing lobbying, research, media and digital communications, content and advertising.
Moran has also held high-level U.S. government positions, including director of the White House Communications Department under President Barack Obama, followed by more than 2 1/2 years as chief of staff and chief adviser to Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. While there, she directed strategic planning for the federal government agency with more than 45,000 employees, served as primary liaison to the White House and had an influential role in initiatives related to exports, patent reform, Internet privacy reform and others.
“Pitt has an amazing story to tell,” said Moran. “Its academic excellence, its innovation and the contributions Pitt makes to the wider community — this is all really exciting to me. And I look forward to working with the talented staff and faculty at Pitt to help tell that story.”
Said Pitt Senior Vice Chancellor for Engagement Kathy Humphrey: “Ellen will lead the Office of University Communications with the same creativity, precision and collaboration she has demonstrated throughout her career. Strengthening our internal communication will be one of her goals, but she will also work with the leaders and teams of communicators around the University to tell all of Pitt’s great stories in meaningful, strategic ways.”
Moran said her first priority will be to familiarize herself with Pitt’s schools and academic departments and “do a lot of listening at the front end.”
Prior to joining the White House staff, she served as executive director of EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for Democratic women’s candidates, where she oversaw all operations and strategy development.
A native of Amherst, Massachusetts, Moran holds a degree in political science and English literature from Wheaton College. She’ll be splitting her time between Pittsburgh and D.C. until this summer, when she and her husband, two children ages 10 and 12, and two dogs move to this area and settle in.