* From the governor’s new communications director…
The governor has made several changes to his communications staff, so I wanted to share the names and some background information with you:
Diana Rickert starts today as Deputy Chief of Staff of Communications. Many of you have worked with Diana during her six years at the Illinois Policy Institute, where she most recently served as vice president of communications. At the Institute, Diana was directly responsible for liaising with hundreds journalists from Illinois-based and national news outlets, resulting in more than 5,000 news placements for the Institute annually. Diana’s writing has appeared regularly on the commentary pages of the Chicago Tribune since 2013. Before joining the Institute, Diana was an accomplished journalist who worked for the Northwest Herald, Associated Press, Daily Herald and Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among other publications. Diana’s reporting on the Illinois pension crisis during her time at the Northwest Herald won more than nine prestigious journalism awards. Diana also holds a journalism degree from Marquette University.
Laurel Patrick joins the team as Director of Communications. Laurel holds a master’s degree from the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. She comes to the governor’s office with a robust background in broadcast and public affairs reporting, as well as government affairs and media outreach. She previously worked as Press Secretary and Deputy Director of Communications for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and is thrilled to return to her home state of Illinois.
Meghan Keenan starts today as a communications specialist. Meghan also is an Illinois native who studied journalism at the University of Illinois. Most recently, she was a communications analyst at the Illinois Policy Institute and worked regularly with reporters to book interviews and assist with stories about Illinois’ economic climate and reform opportunities. Meghan also has worked as a reporter and editor for Red Alert Politics, and as an account associate at CRC Public Relations. She previously held internships at the office of Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger, the Daily Herald newspaper in suburban Chicago and the National Journalism Center.