Washington and Lee Announces Communications Leadership Changes Jessica Willett named W&L’s vice president of communications and strategic initiatives and Drewry Sackett named executive director of communications and public affairs effective July 1, 2021.
Jessica Willett, chief communications officer at Washington and Lee University, has been named vice president of communications and strategic initiatives. In addition, Willett will assume the role of secretary of the university on Jan. 1, 2022, upon the retirement of the current secretary, Jim Farrar.
W&L President William C. Dudley announced Willett’s appointment.
“I am pleased Jessica Willett has agreed to serve as our vice president for communications and strategic initiatives,” Dudley said. “During her time as chief communications officer, Jessica has consistently demonstrated her expertise in marketing and public relations, crisis communications and content development. She has been an indispensable member of the university’s senior leadership team, providing valuable strategic counsel to me, our Board of Trustees and fellow campus leaders.”
As vice president of communications and strategic initiatives, Willett will continue to oversee the university’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs; provide communications counsel to the president, board of trustees, and senior leadership team; and be integrally involved in the ongoing execution of W&L’s Strategic Plan, as well as the implementation of the various initiatives announced June 4 by the Board of Trustees. Once she assumes the role of secretary of the university this January, Willett will serve as the chief administrative liaison for the board.
A 1995 graduate of W&L, Willett joined the university’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs in 2002 and has led the department since 2016. In that role, she has directed an organization responsible for the university’s publications and graphic design, content development, digital strategy, photography, videography, media relations, internal communications, athletics communications and the campus radio station, WLUR. Willett has been a member of W&L’s emergency management executive team, led a brand messaging study to amplify the university’s critical distinctions, and partnered with the Office of Admissions to develop and deploy an integrated marketing campaign.
Willett has served on several university committees and been active in the College Communicators Association of Virginia and the District of Columbia, as well as the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
As part of the leadership transition, Dudley also announced that Drewry Sackett, associate director of communications and public affairs, has been promoted to executive director of communications and public affairs.
“Since her arrival in 2016, Drewry Sackett has been a pivotal communications leader for W&L,” Dudley said. “She has been instrumental in developing and implementing our brand strategy and media relations strategy, and she’s a valued partner with every area of the campus community. Her expertise and substantive experience make her well suited to lead the Office of Communications and Public Affairs going forward.”
A 1993 graduate of W&L, Sackett joined the Office of Communications and Public Affairs in 2016. In her latest position as associate director of communications and public affairs, Sackett directed the department’s media and community relations, admissions marketing, advancement communications, digital strategy, content development, and internal communications functions. She currently serves on the COVID-19 Committee, the Working Group on the History of African Americans at W&L, and the Waste Minimization Task Force.
“I am grateful to President Dudley for his confidence and look forward to serving the university in this new capacity as we continue to advance W&L’s strategic priorities,” said Willett. “I am also delighted that Drewry Sackett has agreed to expand her responsibilities in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Drewry has been a tremendous asset to the university since 2016, and she brings a wealth of expertise in marketing, media relations and crisis communications to this role. She will be an exceptional leader for our talented team.”
If you know a W&L staff member who has done great, accolade-worthy things, tell us about them! Nominate them for an accolade.