Yellow Stairs

Leadership Bio

An expert in strategic communications, Sara Ellis brings over 20 years of experience in public affairs, organizational management, and community development in her role as Chief Communications Officer.

Prior to sje, Ellis served as Vice President of Public Affairs at an international integrated communications agency where she led strategic communication planning and stakeholder consensus outreach for the nation’s largest land developers and homebuilders on high-profile community development projects.

Previously, she was a commerce and real estate lobbyist, including a decade focused on issues related to environmental regulations of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA). With a focus on community development, she has worked on critical issues associated with community planning, community preservation, transportation, land planning, real estate entitlements and protection of private property rights in over 150 local jurisdictions, both the California and Nevada State Legislatures and Office of Governors, Federal and State Departments of Environmental Protection, State Lands Commissions, Water Quality Control Boards, California Coastal Commission and the complex land use regulatory process found throughout the West. 

Sara is completing her M.A. in Communication and Leadership with a credential in Strategic Communication and Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. She received her B.A. in Speech Communications from the University of Nevada.

CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER

sjePublicAffairs
 

Heading a Strategic Communications Collaborative and providing integrated communications, corporate communications, and public affairs consulting services for business, community, and real estate clients.

  • Specializing in outreach, engagement, and stakeholder consensus building

  • Adapting and converting community outreach programs to digital platforms

  • Designing and implementing comprehensive issues and attitudes research, including ascertainment, polling and focus groups

  • Managing brands and reputations, including corporate philanthropy programs

  • Performing crisis communications, including internal and external corporate communications

  • Guiding and performing government and media relations, including serving in capacity as Chief Communications Officer

VICE PRESIDENT, PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Roni Hicks Agency

 

Led Public Affairs Division for national integrated communications agency.

  • Chief of research, messaging, planning and fulfillment of multi-channel strategic communications campaigns and legislative/project advocacy campaigns

  • Developed web-based, digital advocacy platform leading to 40% increase in grassroots support

  • Directed community outreach/coalition building. Interfaced, negotiated and neutralized opposition groups

  • Served as spokesperson in public meetings, public hearings and to the press

  • Moderated small and large community forums. Led charrettes and open houses

  • Head writer/chief editor for print collateral, websites, social content, presentations, speeches, editorial, advertorial, and advertising copy

  • Performed media relations including relationship building, story pitching, editorial and advertorial

  • Presenter, Communication Best Practices at national industry conferences (PCBC & AIA)

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS DIRECTOR

Carrara Nevada
 

Built a comprehensive government affairs program for the firm’s largest client, including political action committees, public policy initiatives, and member participation advancement.

  • Headed lobbying efforts including bill and ordinance drafting, tracking, key message identification and interface with key decision makers, elected officials and staff

  • 94% success rate in implementation of public policy objectives including spearheaded revisions to congressional bi-state compact for environmental regulatory agency

  • Initiative and candidate campaign management and implementation. Developed and implemented campaign support, including independent expenditures, for endorsed candidates

  • Created, drafted and delivered political and policy communication, published articles, newsletters, editorials, speeches, and calls-to-action

  • Spearheaded community outreach and coalition building, including serving as liaison to stakeholder groups and advisory commissions

  • Implemented effective grassroots mobilization programs, such as calls-to-action and voter-registration

  • Member, National Advisory Committee, National Association of REALTORS

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS DIRECTOR

Reno - Sparks Chamber of Commerce
 

Constructed and spearheaded comprehensive organization-wide media and community relations strategy and re-positioning for the largest business organization in the community. Assisted in the development and implementation of public policy initiatives to promote a vibrant business environment and quality of life.

  • Conceptualized and promoted public policy objectives though placed media, advertorials, lobbying efforts and get-out-the-vote activities

  • Implemented and sustained stewardship programs for advertisers and corporate sponsors

  • Produced press releases, advertisements and newspaper editorials

  • Trained organizational leaders on public speaking fundamentals and media relations

  • Conceived, produced and managed large-scale public events

  • Led an education collaborative of more than 200 leaders in K-16 and life-long learning to form a unified goal and voice for education initiatives