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Work experience

Aug 2009Present

Strategist, Consultant & Adjunct Professor

Franklin University

Adjunct Professor, Public Relations and Organizational Communications (2009-present)

ORGC/PBRL 425 Media Relations and Crisis Communication (Instructor)PBRL 450 Rhetoric and Social Influence (Instructor and Content Expert)

Strategist and Consultant, External Relations and New Media (2009-present)

Critical role in first Franklin University Social Media Symposium, including conceptualization, promotion, and execution of event.

Encouraging and facilitating discussion with faculty regarding external relations and use of new media to benefit academic programs and the University.

Sep 2008Present

Chief of Communications

Ohio Department of Commerce

Represented all Communications and Marketing interests for Ohio state government in developing first official new media guidelines for the State of Ohio, encouraging agencies to engage with Ohio citizens through strategic efforts.

Created and chaired first working group on new media in Ohio state government with representatives from several elected offices and cabinet level agencies. Worked with bloggers, state and national advocates, and federal and state employees to craft recommendations on Gov 2.0 and new media for the Governor.

Managed rebranding of Agency and Divisions, as well as website redesign. Established advertising guidelines for employees and partners to utilize our logos, content, and branded materials.

Audited communications and marketing efforts and identified opportunities for crosstraining among staff. Designed and completed first communications manual to assist in media relations and crisis management.

Utilized new media to develop strategic relationships with the press, partners, and government 2.0 advocates at the state, federal, and international levels.

State spokesperson for foreclosure prevention and the digital television transition.

Repositioned the Department of Commerce as not just an efficient regulator, but an agency that creates jobs and has a positive impact on Ohio business. Led the creation of new stock speeches and PowerPoint presentations for Commerce as a whole and the Divisions. Currently designing a new annual report and marketing materials with this focus.

Recruited for Risk Assessment Team as a key member of senior staff to assist with the development and implementation of the pandemic flu plan.

Jun 2007Sep 2008

Communications and Marketing Manager

Ohio Housing Finance Agency

Created marketing plan and managed rebranding of agency and programs, as well as website redesign, including graphics, content, search engine optimization and site usability. Established advertising guidelines for partners to utilize our logos, content, and branded materials.

Developed first new media initiatives for a state housing finance agency in the USA. Implemented blogger outreach and created social media presence to build relationships and awareness for OHFA’s programs. Created online advertising presence and developed analytics to measure success of marketing eff orts. Reduced overall marketing budget while increasing market presence, resulting in dramatically increased loan reservations and closings for the first-time homebuyer program. For these efforts, OHFA was awarded a national award in creative media from the National Council of State Housing Finance Agencies. This paved the way for the affordable housing industry to begin exploring new media initiatives.

Conceptualized and initiated communications and marketing audit and restructured communications and marketing department to better serve internal and external customers and partners.

Crafted and implemented first sponsorship package with the Ohio Association of Realtors, coupling web advertising, email marketing, continuing education classes on OHFA programs and event sponsorship for strategic marketing to real estate agents.

Served as strategist in developing and marketing new loan programs, including one of the first refinance programs in the USA and a homebuyers program for veterans and first responders.

Recruited as member of Organizational Culture and Leadership Committee to address internal communications and culture issues. Served as Chair of Communications subcommittee.

Created first management working group for mid-level managers to encourage problem solving and leadership development.

Feb 2007Jun 2007

Marketing and Special Events Coordinator

Ohio Housing Finance Agency
Sep 2005Feb 2007

Annual Giving Specialist

Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital

Rebranded marketing and training materials for the annual giving campaign.

Conceptualized strategic plan and goals for the annual giving campaign.

Redistricted the tri-state area (DC, MD, VA) to facilitate better volunteer coordination and campaign management.

Redesigned training for three tiers of over 250 volunteers to increase engagement in fundraising initiatives and build sustainable fundraising relationships.

 Increased fundraising contributions from business partners by over 200% and actively participated in seven membership organizations, including the DC Rotary and Chamber of Commerce.

Represented and spoke on behalf of the organization to federal agencies in the tri-state area for the Combined Charitible Campaign and for volunteer initiatives.

May 2004Sep 2005

Development Coordinator

Brookings Institution

Designed analytical reports for the Department of Development and the President to highlight increased or decreased giving and potential areas for growth in fundraising for the Brookings Council (donors of $5,000 and up, which included many politicians, philanthropists, and high profile individuals in the USA and abroad.)




Institute for Policy Studies


Carnegie Mellon University

Capstone Project Revitalization of the Wilkinsburg Train Station for Community Growth and Redevelopment

Coursework included: Communications, Marketing, Fundraising, Management,Public Policy, Economics, Financial Analysis, Statistics, Program Evaluation

W. W. Cooper Scholar



The College of Wooster

Thesis Rock and Roll is Here to Stay: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Legitimization of Popular Culture

Coursework included: Communications, Public Relations, Marketing, Economics, Accounting, Management

Compton Scholar and Jean Howlett Endowed Scholar for Leadership and Academic Achievement


Rutherford B. Hayes High School

About Cara

"...her leadership and capabilities have helped the office produce quality work respected throughout the industry..."

"Cara is a leader in the emerging field of Government 2.0 in Ohio. She's not only creative and fearless, but also is dedicated to collaboration and analysis. Definitely someone to watch."

"Since Cara became the Communications and Marketing Manager, the amount of work produced by the office has tripled. She shares her knowledge and experience with team members, fostering a collaborative office environment."

"There are few people in the world who would be able to help an institution like state government see the potential in a new form of communication, but Cara is doing it on a daily basis, and making Ohio a better place for its citizens by making the government more transparent and responsive."

"Cara is not afraid to get in and make things happen. She was very helpful when collaborating on outreach initiatives. Her dedication to getting it right was invaluable. Cara understands the big picture without losing the details."

Quotes used were provided through performance evaluations and LinkedIn testimonials.


I direct communications and marketing for a state government agency. I am able to balance creative innovation with the strategic vision needed to achieve measurable results. I specialize in strategic relations, building stronger partnerships for our organization through traditional methods and social media. I am a passionate advocate for Government 2.0, increasing transparency and efficiency at the local, state, and federal level. I am respected for my leadership in new media, working across Agency lines to make positive changes that help Ohio citizens. In addition to work in the office, I also consult and speak on social media, Gov 2.0, crisis communications, media relations, and how to translate online relationships into being real-people social. I am an adjunct professor at Franklin University in public relations and organizational communication. My class this fall is media relations and crisis communication.

Recognized Strengths

New Media

Innovation and Conceptualization

Strategic Direction




Rebranding and

Brand Management

Planning and Implementation


Efficiency and Cost Savings