Jill Friedman named vice chancellor for public affairs at Washington University in St. Louis

WUSTL alumna has ‘wealth of experience and expertise’ 

Jill D. Friedman has been named vice chancellor for public affairs at Washington University in St. Louis, effective Jan. 1, 2012, announced Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.

Friedman, an alumna of Washington University, is a senior vice president and partner in Fleishman-Hillard’s public affairs practice at the firm’s world headquarters in St. Louis.

Previously, she served in a number of positions for the late Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan, including deputy chief of staff, director of policy development, and director of Missouri’s Washington, D.C., office.

Friedman will be responsible for WUSTL’s overall public relations, communications and marketing efforts. She will lead a professional staff responsible for media relations, publications, the university website and social media, among other areas.

She succeeds M. Fredric Volkmann, who retired Sept. 30 after leading WUSTL’s public affairs office for 31 years.

“Jill brings to Washington University a wealth of experience and expertise in public affairs, message and issues management, brand and reputation management, crisis communications, team-building and project leadership, all skills that will enhance our already strong public affairs operation,” Wrighton says.

Friedman will be a member of the University Council, WUSTL’s senior-most leadership group comprising academic leaders and managers of vital administrative areas. She will report to Wrighton and to Henry S. Webber, executive vice chancellor for administration.

“Jill has managed complex and long-term communications programs in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, both locally and nationally. We could not be more pleased that she has agreed to lead Washington University’s public affairs efforts,” says Webber, who, along with Provost Edward S. Macias, PhD, appointed a 10-member search committee for the vice chancellor position.

Kent D. Syverud, JD, dean of the School of Law, associate vice chancellor of Washington, D.C., Programs and the Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor, chaired the search committee.

“Washington University has been a big part of my life for a very long time,” Friedman says. “As vice chancellor, I’ll be working with a great group of professionals to tell the story about an institution that makes a real difference here in our own community, and around the world. It is an honor to join the public affairs team. I could not be more thrilled.”

A native of St. Louis, Friedman earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Vermont in 1986 and a master’s of business administration from Washington University’s Olin Business School in 1999.

She also completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1997.

At Fleishman-Hillard, which she joined in 2001 and where she was named partner in 2006, Friedman led integrated communications strategy and execution for a wide range of corporate, nonprofit, government and academic clients, including several of the firm’s top-100 clients.

She received the 2011 Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Silver Anvil award for integrated communications campaign of the year for a nonprofit, and in the same year won PRSA’s Award of Excellence for reputation management/brand management campaign of the year for a nonprofit, both for her work on a multi-year 100th-anniversary initiative for the Boy Scouts of America.

Mentoring young professionals and setting them on a solid path for success has been an important personal priority for Friedman. She managed Fleishman-Hillard’s St. Louis internship program, and under her leadership, increased recruitment from academic institutions across the country, and strengthened the firm’s reputation as an industry leader in developing young communications professionals.

In 2008, she received the John D. Graham Award for Excellence, Fleishman-Hillard’s highest honor recognizing outstanding leadership and client service.

During Friedman’s time working for Carnahan from 1992-2001, she was the governor’s chief policy adviser, crafting messages and managing communications strategies, building coalitions and third-party support, and collaborating with cabinet members and the budget office to develop and implement the governor’s policy agenda.

She served as primary liaison between the governor and the state’s largest and most diverse urban areas and successfully managed major initiatives, including the creation of one of Missouri’s most valued conservation areas, the Columbia Bottoms Reserve at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers; statewide telecommunications reform; and an aggressive urban policy program that included enactment of Missouri’s historic preservation tax credit, now a national model for sustainable urban economic development.

While working in Carnahan’s office, Friedman managed numerous high-profile efforts, including responding to the 1993 and 1995 floods and securing $1 billion in federal disaster recovery assistance. She also planned and executed the four-day 1999 National Governors’ Association annual meeting in St. Louis, hosting 47 governors, the president of the United States and other dignitaries, and drawing media from around the world.

Friedman represented Carnahan on numerous community, regional and statewide planning boards, including the East-West Gateway Council of Governments and the RCGA Public Policy Council.

She received the St. Louis 2004’s Renaissance Award for her efforts in the governor’s office to strengthen and revitalize St. Louis.

Earlier in her career, she also served as executive director of Missourians for Choice.

While a student at the University of Vermont, Friedman began her career in politics and policy as a member of U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy’s Burlington, Vt., district staff.

After graduating, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she served for five years as a professional staff member for Leahy’s Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Technology and the Law.

Friedman handled legislative and judicial nomination matters for the senator, and developed policy expertise in the areas of joint R&D, technology commercialization, juvenile crime, and immigration.

Friedman lives with her two Bernese Mountain Dogs, Chance and Boone, on a horse farm in Labadie, Mo. In her free time, Friedman most enjoys riding her horse on the trails in Missouri’s state parks, listening to music and being an aunt to her nieces and nephew.

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