Sweet Briar announces new director of media, marketing and communications

Joelle Ziemian
Joelle Ziemian

Joelle Ziemian has been named director of media, marketing and communications at Sweet Briar College, effective Feb. 18.

Ziemian brings to Sweet Briar nearly 30 years of strategic communications experience in the corporate, nonprofit, international development and government sectors. She spent seven years at a national firm known for its expertise in higher education, Lipman Hearne. There she partnered with colleges, universities and foundations throughout the U.S. to deepen brand awareness and spur growth. She also counseled domestic and international organizations working in the K-12 space. Her most recent communications role was at Burson-Marsteller, where she helped multinational companies change their conversation with important audiences.

“Over the course of her career, Joelle Ziemian has built, defined and enhanced the reputation of organizations ranging from colleges to startups to Fortune 50 companies,” Sweet Briar President Phillip C. Stone said. “A fast, strategic thinker, she has helped create enduring brands and campaigns for organizations all over the world. As we seek to make history at Sweet Briar, her ideas and experience will help to drive communications with every one of our audiences.”

Ziemian holds a B.A. from Goucher College and an M.F.A. in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

She began her career as a TV reporter before moving to state and federal government. She served as press secretary in the Pennsylvania Senate and in the U.S. House of Representatives. She also worked in the executive branch of President George H.W. Bush. In the private sector, she lobbied and managed public affairs campaigns for an array of energy clients. She later did similar work at Edelman and Burson-Marsteller for global and national entities.

As a consultant in Romania for a U.S. Agency for International Development project, Ziemian helped nongovernmental organizations get their message out to key audiences and impact policy. Other international communications work included projects in Ukraine, Mongolia, Qatar and Iraq.

Before moving to Sweet Briar, Ziemian launched, operated and subsequently sold a children’s boutique in Sanibel, Fla.

“I feel like everything I have done in my career has prepared me for this role at Sweet Briar,” Ziemian said. It will be a thrill to help young women in the U.S. and overseas see the life-changing value of an education at this very special place. I look forward to becoming part of the Sweet Briar family.”

Ziemian succeeds Monica Dean, who has served as interim director of media, marketing and communications since July 2015. Her last day will be Feb. 12.