Job Alert from University of Kentucky

Director of Marketing & Strategic Communications

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Job Summary

The UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Director of Marketing and Strategic Communications leads the college’s marketing and communications effort to convey, internally and externally, the mission, vision, values and impact of the college and its mission areas of instruction, research and extension. The director provides strategic leadership, counsel and assistance to college leadership, department heads, extension and regional staff in areas of public relations, marketing, digital strategy and serves as the spokesperson for the organization. This position is a member of the senior leadership and external affairs teams and directs all aspects of the organization’s marketing and communication efforts, stewardship of the brand and development of messages that improve awareness and reputation of programs and initiatives for the college, extension and the experiment station. This includes developing with the ag communications unit initiatives for marketing, digital, social, media, web publications and electronic mail. The director will lead and manage the unit to ensure the highest degree of quality, consistency, integrity and effectiveness for meeting team goals and action plans. The director will demonstrate extraordinary leadership, strategic vision with innovation, creative energy and collaborative spirit.

The University of Kentucky considers the health, safety and well-being of our entire community to be a top priority. In alignment with this priority, all new hires must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or obtain an approved medical or religious exemption as a condition of employment. For areas that fall under the federal CMS mandate, start of employment cannot occur until two weeks after receiving the full COVID-19 vaccination series or upon obtaining an approved exemption. Only vaccines approved by the World Health Organization can be accepted.

Skills / Knowledge / Abilities
Management and organizational skills, leadership, initiative and innovative thinking, strategic planning and budgeting, marketing and communications, strong knowledge of brand management and brand messaging to advance college priorities, familiarity with marketing and communication design tools and digital platforms
Does this position have supervisory responsibilities? Yes
Preferred Education/Experience
10 Years
Deadline to Apply 11/30/2022

Governor Andy Beshear Selected Communicator of the Year by Thoroughbred Public Relations Group

Governor Andy Beshear Selected Communicator of the Year by Thoroughbred Public Relations Group

Governor Andy Beshear and Team Kentucky accept the Communicator of the Year Award from the PRSA Thoroughbred Chapter(LEXINGTON, KY) June 22, 2021 — The Thoroughbred Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) announces the winner of its annual Communicator of the Year award goes to Governor Andy Beshear and Team Kentucky.

The award is bestowed on the Governor and his team for the work they did to communicate with the people of Kentucky during the COVID 19 pandemic crisis in the calendar year 2020.   The award goes to a person or group who does not work as a public relations professional, but exemplifies excellent communications of their message to a variety of audiences. The selection is made by the board of directors of the Thoroughbred Chapter of PRSA located in Lexington.

“2020 was a year of extraordinary challenges, however Governor Andy Beshear, Dr. Steven Stack, and Virginia Moore worked tirelessly to lead Team Kentucky through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ryan Worthen, president of the Public Relations Society of America Thoroughbred Chapter. “The Governor’s daily press conferences and frequent updates informed and educated Kentuckians, and his caring and compassionate communication provided peace of mind to many in a time of great uncertainty.”

This is the 24th year the Thoroughbred Chapter has selected a Communicator of the Year.  Other recipients include form UK women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell, Catholic Action Center director Ginny Ramsey, former UK president Dr. Lee Todd, and former EKU president Doug Whitlock. Former Governor Steve Beshear was the honoree in 2015.

Individual and company awards were also presented. Each entry was judged by members of a sister PRSA chapter and could receive either a Win (First), Place (Second) or Show (Third) designation.

Award recipients include:

Tina Bryson, Assistant Director of Communications, Christian Appalachian Project

One Win (Kentucky Education Television PSAs), Two Place certificates and two Show certificates.

Bethany Langdon, Corporate Director of Marketing & Communications, New Vista

Two Wins (New Vista News – Social Media: See The Good), One Show certificate.

Holly Weimers, Communications Director, UK Ag Equine Programs

Two Wins (UK Equine Weekly – Equine Science Newsletter).

Brittney Kinison, Director of Marketing & Communications, Frontier Nursing University

One Win (FNU Quarterly Newsletter), One Place certificate & One Show certificate.

Todd Wold, Professor/Sponsor of Communication Students, Asbury University

One Win (2020 Highbridge Film Festival – Won by student group)

Mackenzie Davis, PR & Creative Services Coordinator, Wiser Strategies

Two Place certificates.

Ashley Tabb, Publications Production Manager, UK Health Care

One Place certificate.

Beth Goins, Director of Marketing Communications, UK College of Education

One Place certificate.

Kristi Middleton, Chief External Affairs Officer, EKU Communications & Brand Management

One Show certificate.

“On behalf of the chapter’s board of directors, we applaud the excellent work done by public relations and communications professionals throughout central Kentucky,” Worthen said.

See the Governor’s acceptance video here. 



PRSA Thoroughbred Chapter Announces 2021 Board of Directors

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Thoroughbred Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has announced its 2021 Board of Directors.


Ryan Worthen - PRSA Presenter

Ryan Worthen, 2021 President

  • President: Ryan Worthen, Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI)
  • Past President: Natalie Wilks, Cornett
  • President Elect: Bethany Langdon, New Vista
  • Secretary: Brittney Edwards Kinison, Frontier Nursing University
  • Treasurer: Ashley Tabb, UK Healthcare


  • Awards Co-Chair: Cliff Feltham, Kentucky Utilities (Retired)
  • Awards Co-Chair: Katie McDaniel, American Association of Equine Practitioners
  • Ethics Chair, APR Co-Chair: Holly Wiemers, APR, University of Kentucky- Ag Equine
  • Diversity Chair: Tina Bryson, Christian Appalachian Project
  • PRSSA Liaison: Katie Neal, Katie Neal Consulting
  • Social Media Chair: Jessica Sparrow, Kentucky Interactive (
  • Communications Chair: Mackenzie Davis, Wiser Strategies
  • APR Co-Chair: Amy Preske, APR, Buffalo Trace Distillery
  • APR Co-Chair: Brant Welch, APR, Farmers National Bank of Danville

2020 Thoroughbred Awards

(LEXINGTON, KY)  July 27, 2020 —- The Thoroughbred Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) announces the winners of its annual awards competition.  The entries were in two main categories. Campaigns & Tactics. Each entry could be awarded either a Win (First), Place (Second) or Show (Third) designation. View a PDF version of this list here.


Place   –           Nicholasville Stormwater                                   Community Champion category

Wiser Strategies & the City of Nicholasville

Win     –           Big Family                                                                Integrated Communications

KET staff & others – Todd Piccirilli, Abby Malik, John Dawahare, Rob Elliott, Reggie Beehner, Lauren Bennett, Ann Bransom, Patrick Brumback, Bullhorn Creative, Mollie Eblen, Grand Communications, Nancy Howard, Lisa Meek, Audra Miller, Robin Roenker, Steve Shaffer, Josh Sims, Micah Trvisonno and Missy Upton.

Win     –           We See The Good Ahead, Brand Launch          Integrated Communications

Work + Play Studio, Ana Coomer, Principal & Bethany Langdon,  New Vista

Place   –           EKU Valentine’s Day-Instagram Story              Social Media category

Sarah Kelley, Jessica Holly, Tara Leisure, Matt Schumacher & Brandon Moore,  EKU

Show   –           WoW Wheel Wednesday                                     Special Event category

Sara Jaggers,  Kentucky Housing Corporation

Win     –           Farmers National Bank 140th Anniversary      Special Event category

Brant Welch & Sharon Howell,  Farmers National Bank

Place   –           Campus Buildings Portfolio                                 Student category

Carson Bryant, Jessica Holly, Tara Leisure, Ashley Reaves, Brandon Moore, Amanda Cain,  EKU

Place   –           EKU Weekly Events Highlight-Instagram Story          Student Category

Sarah Kelley, Jessica Holly and Brandon Moore,  EKU

Win     –                                                                    Website category

Trifecta Media & Bethany Langdon,  New Vista

Win     –           Camp Horsin’ Around                                                        Website category

Mackenzie Davis, Wiser Strategies & Camp Horsin’ Around, Brant Welch


Place   –           2019-2020 Highlights Piece                                             Brochure category

Mickey Thomas, Brandon Moore, Josh Kegley, Megan Sevier, Stephanie Waley, EKU

Win     –           EKU Aviation Program                                                      Multimedia category

Duane Bolin, Leonard Nave, Brandie Conder, Matt Phelps,  EKU

Place   –           EKU Marching Colonel Hype video                                Multimedia category

Kristi Middleton, Brandie Conder, Leonard Nave, Dwayne Bolin, Matt Phelps, Lanny Brannock, Doug Cornett,  EKU

Place   –           Success First Resources Guide                          Multimedia category

Work + Play Studio & Bethany Langdon,  New Vista

Show   –           Success First Resources Guide                                        Special Purpose Publication

Jessica Holly, Brandon Moore, Ashley Reaves, Mickey Thomas, Lara Vance, Travis Martin, Gill Hunter, Bethany Warner, Heather Davis,  EKU

Win     –           New Vista 2019 Annual Report                                      Special Purpose Publication

Trifecta Media & Bethany Langdon,  New Vista

There were co-winners of the chapter’s annual Communicator of the Year Award.  The award goes to a person or group who does not work as a public relations professional, and who exemplifies excellent communications of their message to a variety of audiences.   The recipients are:

The late Anita Rowe-Franklin, a nurse by profession and also an advocate for gun safety by speaking out for the protection of today’s youth against gun violence. This came in the wake of the shooting death of her son, Antonio Franklin, Jr, an innocent bystander at an event in Duncan Park.

See the video for Anita Rowe-Franklin here.


Dr. Aaron Thompson,  a passionate advocate for higher education serving currently as the Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer of the Council on Post-Secondary Education in Frankfort.  He has served in a variety of education posts including interim president of Kentucky State University.

See the video for Dr. Aaron Thompson here.

Also presented a Lifetime Achievement Award for at 20+ years of excellent public relations/communications work went to Sue Patrick, APR, CPE.  She is currently serving as Chief Communications Officer at the Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education.  Sue has demonstrated her unending dedication to the public relations profession, her skill at crafting effective and engaging messages, as well as her passion for those programs and professionals she leads.

See the video for Sue Patrick, APR, CPE here.


March Lunch & Learn: Rob Perez from DV8 Kitchen

Our March lunch & learn will be held on March 17, 2020 at Saul Good at 123 N Broadway from 12:00 to 1:30 pm. Rob and Diane Perez conceptualized, developed, and operate four restaurants and a bakery in Lexington, Kentucky. In 2017, they founded Dv8 Kitchen as a social enterprise focused on giving second chance employment opportunities to people in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction through vocational, on-the-job training. Dv8 Kitchen focuses on providing “Live Changing Food”, service and atmosphere for every guest.

The Perez’s have created Soulfull Enterprises, part of the Dv8 Kitchen Vocational Training Foundation, after realizing that American Business may be creating an environment where the “American Dream – Rags to Riches Dream” is dying. Dv8 uncovered the need for all businesses to change how to employ, motivate and retain employees in early stages of recovery from SUD. They have formalized the DV8 employment model and are working with other businesses to apply this model to their businesses focusing on a bottoms-up approach for all second chance employees.

Rob will discuss the challenges to messaging and marketing the Soulfull Enterprise initiative and change a deep stigma and impact a social issue.

Act fast! Registration closes March 10th.

The Story of a Creating a Life Changing Business with Rob Perez of DV8 Kitchen

2020 PRSA Awards

UPDATE: The deadline for award entries has passed.

Because of the turbulence of the week that has consumed the time of many of our public relations professionals, we are extending the deadline for submitting entries for our annual awards competition. The deadline is now at the end of the regular work day on Tuesday, April 21st. Hopefully this will afford time for professionals to pull their entries together in what has turned out to be a pretty unusual circumstance for all of us.

It’s awards season for our chapter again and it’s time for you to get your entry or entries ready for judging and ready for the awards they deserve. 

Individual & Company Awards
The award categories for individual and company PR professionals is the same as last year.

What You Need to Know 
• All entries MUST be submitted electronically
• Students can enter
• Send final submissions containing all materials via email to Katie at
• Submissions can be sent in the following formats:

  1. a complete Drobox folder link
  2. a PDF
  3. Word Document 

• Payments will be made via PayPal 
You will receive an acknowledgment of each email within 24 hours. If you don’t receive a response, please follow up.
Key Dates
The deadline for submitting electronic entries is Tuesday April 21, at 5 p.m. 
The awards luncheon will be announced at a later date.

Communicator of the Year
Each year the Thoroughbred chapter awards a Communicator of the Year award.  This will be the 22nd year for it which honors a person or persons who during the last calendar year have done an excellent job of communicating his or her passion but does not work as a PR professional. 

Last year’s recipient was former Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.  Other more recent recipients include Ginny Ramsey of the Catholic Action Center, former Governor Steve Beshear and UK women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell. 

The deadline for entries is also Tuesday, April 21, at 5 p.m. Please consider who you might submit as an entry for this past calendar year and email that entry also to Katie McDaniel.

Lifetime Achievement/Hall of Fame
The Thoroughbred chapter also periodically awards one of our chapter members with a Lifetime Achievement Award.  One of the requirements among others is the recipient must have at least a 20-year career in public relations.  It is not presented every year… just at those times as the chapter members and board feel it should be presented. 

The most recent recipient was Cliff Feltham in 2018.  Other awardees include Nancy Wiser of Wiser Strategies, Tom Harris of UK, Phil Osborne and Thomas Preston of Preston Global. 

The deadline for entries is also Tuesday, April 21, at 5 p.m. Please consider who you might submit as an entry for this award and email this nomination also to Katie McDaniel.

It’s time to get organized and good luck.  Submit as many entries as you’d like. 

Every PR Pro’s Secret Success Weapon with Jason Falls

Public relations is often criticized for being “fluff” or not providing hard measures of success. But every PR pro can now have a secret weapon to providing hard success metrics and illustrating not only value but versatility to his or her organization. That weapon: Search Engine Optimization. Learn how you can not only help your company website dominate search rankings, but that success can be attributed to PR’s contributions.

About the Speaker: Jason Falls leads digital strategy for the clients of Cornett. He is a noted industry thought leader listed by Forbes as one of the 10 people every entrepreneur should follow on Twitter alongside Richard Branson, Marc Cuban, Tom Peters, and Gary Vaynerchuk. Falls is the author of two books with his third set to come in late 2020 from Entrepreneur Press. He hails from Pikeville, Kentucky, and can be heard live on LinkedIn each Tuesday morning with his podcast, The Jason Falls Show – A Marketing Podcast.

Jason has a monthly newsletter right up PR professional’s ally. “Influence” is once a month and features deeper, more enriching stories than a typical blog post or podcast. It focuses on influence and persuasion in all their various iterations in our marketing and communications-driven world. Subscribe at

Register Now


Moving Way Too Fast


Tuesday, September 17, 2019 from 11:45 AM to 1:00 PM 


NewVista, 1351 Newtown Pike
1351 Newtown Pike
Lexington, KY 40511

Driving Directions



Katie McDaniel
PRSA – Thoroughbred Chapter

Moving Way Too Fast…The Rapidly Changing Communications Environment & Its Impact in Central Kentucky

Guest Speakers: Nancy Wiser, APR, Jerry Grasso, and Jacqueline Pitts

The communications environment each of us must now manage is fluid and volatile – practically disconcerting. How does a comms professional offer his or her best counsel to executives or clients to maximize news and brand value among the white noise of multiple social media platforms? What are the real concerns we all must address with our market’s shrinking media landscape, which some say is approaching the state of a news desert in Central Kentucky?

For expanding companies or well-established enterprises, what do the next five years look like? Can we as professionals forecast that far out?

Local communication experts Nancy Wiser, founder & president of Wiser Strategies; Jerry Grasso, vice president of marketing and communications for the YMCA of Central Kentucky; and Kentucky Chamber communication director and Bottom Line editor Jacqueline Pitts; along with moderator Risa Richardson of Columbia Gas of KY will enthusiastically discuss these topics at an upcoming Thoroughbred PRSA luncheon.


Nancy Wiser

Nancy Wiser, APR, Fellow, PRSA is president of Wiser Strategies. Prior to establishing Wiser Strategies, she co-founded Wiser, Hemlepp & Associates, was vice president of The Preston Group and worked for acute care and rehabilitation hospitals. Nancy is most in her element when analyzing, developing or managing strategic communication programs and counseling top executives. She also thrives on the creative process. Clients have included a range of businesses and non-profits, including health and medical organizations, education, technology, finance, transportation and government. Nancy has been active in the Public Relations Society of America throughout her career. She is Accredited in Public Relations, a member of the College of Fellows and the Counselors Academy, and has held leadership roles at every level of the international organization. She holds a master’s degree in communication from the University of Kentucky and an undergraduate degree from Eastern Kentucky University. She has been a visiting instructor with both universities and has presented nationally and regionally on such topics as issue management, media relations, customer satisfaction, and research.

Jerry Grasso

Jerry Grasso is the vice president of marketing and communications at the YMCA of Central Kentucky. Previously, he handled brand and reputation work for Equifax after the company’s cybersecurity incident in 2017, and before that was senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Lexmark International. Grasso has also served as vice president of corporate communications for the Lexington-based printer manufacturer. In that position, he was responsible for public relations, internal communications and corporate creative services. Before Lexmark, Grasso was vice president of corporate communications at EarthLink Inc., one of the country’s largest internet service providers. Prior to EarthLink, he was director of corporate communications for Epoch Internet. Additionally, he has worked at the ARIS Corporation and with Sprint’s business division. Grasso holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Kansas State University and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Texas at Arlington. 

Jacqueline Pitts

Jacqueline Pitts is the communications director and Managing Editor of the Kentucky Chamber’s news site, The Bottom Line. Jacqueline was hired by the Chamber in December 2014 to serve as a political reporter for the business community through stories, interviews and videos for The Bottom Line. The Kentucky Chamber was the first chamber of commerce in the nation to hire a political reporter. As communications director, Jacqueline oversees all communications, marketing, and advertising efforts for the organization. Prior to her work at the Chamber, Jacqueline worked as the political producer for cn|2’s Pure Politics, the only nightly political television show in Kentucky. Jacqueline is a graduate of Western Kentucky University where she majored in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science.

UK Athletics’ PR Strategies Lunch & Learn 🐱


Tuesday, May 21, 2019 from 11:45 AM to 1:00 PM EDT 

Where, 1351 Newtown Pike
1351 Newtown Pike
Lexington, KY 40511

Driving Directions



Brant Welch
PRSA – Thoroughbred Chapter

UK Athletics’ PR Strategies Lunch & Learn 🐱

Join KYPRSA on Tuesday, May 21st as Eric Lindsey, Director of Athletics Communications and PR for the University of Kentucky’s Men’s Basketball and Women’s Golf teams, discusses branding and messaging strategies. This Lunch & Learn takes place in Building 2’s Board Room at (located on Newtown Pike).

Eric Lindsey completed his 11th year working with UK Athletics and his fifth season as the primary contact for UK’s tradition-rich men’s basketball program in 2018-19. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Lindsey has been an integral part of head coach John Calipari’s support staff since taking over the management of in 2011. His first season as the primary men’s basketball communications contact came in 2014-15, when Kentucky made a historic run at an undefeated season that culminated in a Final Four berth and a 38-1 overall record. Lindsey is charged with managing the overall publicity and promotional efforts for Kentucky’s men basketball program, which includes coordinating all needs with Calipari and the coaching staff, in addition to player availability. Kentucky’s social media presence – under the direction of Lindsey – is regarded as one of the nation’s leaders in popularity, ingenuity and creativity.

Former Mayor Jim Gray Named Communicator of the Year

LEXINGTON, KY (April 18, 2019) – The Thoroughbred Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has named former Lexington Mayor Jim Gray as Communicator of the Year. The award was presented to Gray at the chapter’s annual Thoroughbred Awards luncheon on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

“Mayor Gray’s strong communication skills and vibrant enthusiasm for the city of Lexington helped him bring positive change throughout his eight years in office,” said Natalie Cunningham, president of the Thoroughbred Chapter PRSA. “We are grateful for the mayor’s leadership and are pleased to recognize him with this distinguished honor.”

Other PRSA Thoroughbred Awards included (scroll down for photo gallery):

  • Oakwood Hazelwood Brand Identity by – Community Champion “Place” Award
  • Simply Home Exhibit by Kentucky Housing Corporation – Community Champion “Place” Award
  • EKU Homecoming 2018 by Eastern Kentucky University – Social Media “Show” Award
  • Dean Builds Website by Wiser Strategies – Website “Win” Award
  • “Junior Overcomes Violence, Injuries to Succeed” by Eastern Kentucky University – “Place” Award (Student Category)
  • EKU Legislative Briefing Booklet by Eastern Kentucky University – Brochure “Place” Award
  • “Closing the Gap – Two EKU Professors Grasp the Economic Value of Climbers in Kentucky’s Poorest Regions” by Eastern Kentucky University – Feature Writing “Show” Award
  • The Pipeline: Internal Publication by Columbia Gas of Kentucky – Internal Publications “Win” Award
  • EKU Magazine by Eastern Kentucky University – Internal Publications “Place” Award
  • Partners in Care video by Frontier Nursing University – Multimedia “Place” Award
  • Teleworks USA: Bringing a World of Opportunity Home by Wiser Strategies – Multimedia “Win” Award
  • EKU 2018 Happy Holidays video by Eastern Kentucky University – Multimedia “Place” Award
  • Hope for a New Life by – Multimedia “Win” Award
  • KET50 by Kentucky Educational Television – Multimedia “Win” Award
  • EKU Science Building Phase 2 LEED by Eastern Kentucky University – Multimedia “Show” Award
  • Student Feature – Horace Hunter by Eastern Kentucky University – Multimedia “Place” Award
  • Kentucky is the Greatest Place in the World to be a Horse Person – Saddlebreds by UK Ag Equine Programs – Multimedia “Place” Award
  • The Pipeline: Employee Newsletter by Columbia Gas of Kentucky – Newsletter “Place” Award
  • Targeted Email Series: KET Passport Picks by Kentucky Educational Television – Newsletter “Win” Award
  • 2018 CPE Reports by Eastern Kentucky University – Newsletter “Show” Award
  • Digger Dog Children’s Storybook by Fahlgren Mortine of Ohio – Special Purpose Publication “Win” Award
  • We Are Bluegrass. We Can Help. 2018 Annual Report by – Special Purpose Publication “Win” Award
  • Campus Updates Booklet by Eastern Kentucky University – Special Purpose Publication “Place” Award
  • Special KHC Commemorative Challenge Coin by Kentucky Housing Corporation – Special Purpose Publication “Place” Award