Leadership

Elan Macdonald, Vice-President External Relations

Vice-President (External Relations)

Elan MacDonald

Elan MacDonald is the Vice-President (External Relations) at the University of Alberta. A government relations expert with 25 years’ experience working with political, community, public and private sector agencies and organizations. Through her work, she has served as deputy chief of staff and political advisor to two Alberta premiers, as well as a political advisor to cabinet ministers.

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Email: elan@ualberta.ca

Andrea Smith

Chief of Staff

Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith is the Chief of Staff 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 and 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 and Alumni Relations)

Kelly Spencer

Kelly Spencer leads the university's Development and Alumni Relations portfolio supporting engagement activities across all five of the University of Alberta's campuses. With more than 280,000 alumni located throughout the province and around the world, her team works to support the U of A's mission and values by engaging its community of alumni, friends and donors in the life of the university.

A proud alumna of the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Kelly joined the Advancement Services department as Associate Director in 2004. Since then, Kelly has held leadership positions in both the Advancement and University Relations portfolios, most recently serving as Interim Vice-President (Office of Advancement).

In addition to her university experience, Kelly has held roles in the technology sector including almost 6 years as a manager and consultant for a big four firm where she worked with clients in Canada and the United States to develop operational excellence.

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

Jennifer Pascoe

Associate Vice-President (Strategic Communications)

Jennifer Pascoe

An award-winning communicator with nearly two decades of experience in all realms of communications, Jennifer Pascoe leads the Strategic Communications team in External Relations. In her role, she focuses on an integrated and collaborative approach to communications on campus, including news and media relations, strategic storytelling, internal communication, and social media and digital engagement to support the University's varied initiatives and stakeholders. Jennifer earned both her BA (Hons. Art History) and MA (Communications and Technology) from the University of Alberta, and she holds a Diploma in Public Relations (MacEwan). Her graduate research explored why—and how—scientists use social media to communicate, focusing on knowledge translation, an academic focus that informs her daily professional practice and strategy. Jennifer has also taught strategic communication planning, project management, digital communications, issues management and crisis communications at MacEwan University in Edmonton. She has worked on campus since 2007, most recently as the Director of Communications & Engagement in the Faculty of Science.

Email: jennifer.pascoe@ualberta.ca | Phone: 780-818-6806

Associate Vice-President (Marketing)

Sonia Piano

Sonia is an experienced marketing professional and combines extensive experience in marketing, branding, and change management, with a deep understanding of the community and dynamics of the Edmonton and Alberta landscape. Since 2014, she has been Managing Director, Brand at ATB Financial, where she led a major brand redevelopment, challenging traditional perceptions of the bank with innovative, customer-focused digital story-telling. Previously, as Brand Manager for the Province of Alberta, she spearheaded a national and international research program, which led to a refreshed provincial identity, and brand platform that is still in use today. Sonia also has significant experience working on the agency side of the business. During her 10 years as a Group Account Director with DDB Canada, she provided branding strategy direction to companies such as Western Canada Lotteries, Intuit Canada, ATCO, and Edmonton International Airports.