(External Relations)

Elan MacDonald

Elan MacDonald, ICD.D is the Vice President, External Relations at the University of Alberta. Elan has spent her career advising organizations and corporations to sustain and grow their businesses by navigating government, policy development, crisis communications, the regulatory and legislative processes, and the shifting political, social and economic landscapes. As President and CEO of Impact Consulting, Elan built and operated one of Alberta’s most reputable government relations advisory and communications companies for close to a decade, serving local, national and international clients. She later joined her firm with Global Public Affairs, where she became the Senior Vice President, National Client Development.

Elan has a long history in Alberta politics serving as Deputy Chief of Staff and Political Advisor to two Alberta Premiers, and as a political advisor to Cabinet Ministers. She is Chair of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and a Director on the boards of Edmonton Global, Atlas Biotechnologies and Alberta Ballet.

Learn more »

Email: elan.macdonald@ualberta.ca

Rachel Stein

Chief of Staff

Rachel Stein

Email: rfstein@ualberta.ca | Phone: 780-691-3935

Andrea Smith

Senior Advisor
(Portfolio Strategy)

Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith is the Portfolio Strategy Senior Advisor for External Relations. Andrea uses her extensive leadership experience building businesses from strategic assessment through to realization to enrich External Relations' vibrant and dynamic work environment. A civil engineer with an MBA, Andrea's professional skills, coupled with her eclectic leadership experience in corporate, not-for-profit and public institutions (universities), provide important insight and direction to the External Relations portfolio.

Email: andrea.smith@ualberta.ca | Phone: 780-691-0901

Alexis Ksiazkiewicz

Associate Vice-President
(Government + Community Relations)

Alexis Ksiazkiewicz

Alexis Ksiazkiewicz leads institutional Government and Community Relations strategies. Over the past fifteen years, she has held leadership roles within the advanced education sector in constituency organizations, advocacy groups, provincial and national associations, and at the University of Alberta. In her current role, she works to advance the university's reputation and priorities with government and stakeholders locally, provincially and nationally. Alexis holds both a bachelor's and a master's degree in Political Science from the U of A and has completed a program on change leadership at Rotman School of Management.

Email: alexis.ksiazkiewicz@ualberta.ca | Phone: 780-492-2287

Kelly Spencer

Associate Vice-President
(Development + Alumni Relations)

Kelly Spencer

Kelly Spencer leads the university’s Development portfolio, supporting fundraising and external engagement activities across all five of the University’s campuses. A proud alumna of the University of Alberta with a BA (Political Science), and an MA (Communications and Technology), Kelly joined the university in 2004, holding a number of leadership positions over the years, most recently serving as Interim Vice-President, Advancement from 2018 to 2020. In addition to her university experience, Kelly was a consultant for a big four firm where she worked with private and public sector clients in Canada and the United States to develop operational excellence.

Email: kelly.spencer@ualberta.ca | Phone: 780-492-0333

Associate Vice-President
(Strategic Communications)

Gail Fredrickson

Email: gail.fredrickson@ualberta.ca

Associate Vice-President
(Strategic Partnerships Office)

Cristian Gonzalez-Paez

Cristian Gonzalez-Paez holds a Master’s degree from Dalhousie University in International Relations and an undergraduate degree from the University of Alberta. Currently he is the Acting Associate Vice President, Enterprise at the University of Alberta. The Enterprise portfolio is the point of contact for corporate and community partners looking to establish a relationship with our institution.

Previously, Cristian worked as the Regional Manager (Americas) for the University of Alberta, managing large-scale partnerships with various governments and universities in the region. From 2008-2011 Cristian was the International Relations Officer for the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto.

Cristian is a Vice President on the Education and Training Committee of the Canada Mexico Chamber of Commerce (CanchamMX).

Email: cristian.gonzalez-paez@ualberta.ca

Associate Vice-President

Luke Patterson

Originally hailing from the UK, Luke has spent the last 17 years as Chief Marketing Officer in telecommunications and higher education. Luke arrived at the University of Alberta in 2023 from Auckland University of Technology where he ran the brand, recruitment, communications and engagement group. AUT was the second ranked institute in New Zealand and the fastest growing as of 2022.

Email: luke.patterson@ualberta.ca