Jessica Blais joined USC Upstate in 2018 as Associate Vice Chancellor of Strategic Communications and Marketing. She oversees all communications and marketing initiatives as part of the University Advancement division, and serves as a member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet. Blais works to ensure that targeted public relations and advertising campaigns, to include USC Upstate’s social media and web presence, are aligned with the overarching goals of the university’s strategic plan. Additionally, she leads crisis communications.
Prior to joining USC Upstate, Blais was the Director of Communications and Marketing at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) where she developed and implemented strategies for news, social media and Web content; served as speechwriter for members of university leadership; and wrote original articles for USF publications. She led a rebranding initiative, working closely with the chancellor and national consultants to articulate a distinctive identity for USFSP, create messaging, identify and prioritize audiences, and develop metrics.
Blais began her career in journalism, working as a radio news reporter and anchor in Philadelphia before transitioning into corporate communications. In 2006, she joined The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, one of the world’s leaders in on-site and online journalism training. There, she developed and executed revenue-driven promotional programs and initiatives designed to serve the overall business goals of the Institute, including new models of public teaching.
Blais graduated from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. She and her husband Patrick Henry, a college professor and artist, have three grown children.