Harvey departs for Wellesley

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Harvey departs for Wellesley

Elaine Harvey

Elaine Harvey

courtesy of JSC Athletics

Elaine Harvey

courtesy of JSC Athletics

courtesy of JSC Athletics

Elaine Harvey

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Johnson State College Assistant Athletics Director for Internal and External Communications Elaine Harvey will be departing on April 22, 2016 and moving back to her home state of Massachusetts to accept a similar position at Wellesley College.

Harvey began working at JSC in December 2012 after previously working at the communications and marketing firm, Weber Shandwick, in Washington D.C. for three years. “As a former student-athlete myself, I wanted to get back into working with students,” she said. “I applied to 43 jobs, heard back from four, got a final interview with two and offered one, and that was here at Johnson State.”

The man who is responsible for hiring Harvey, Director of Athletics and Recreation Jamey Ventura, felt that Harvey’s previous experience would aid in his department’s goal of changing the culture of JSC sports. “We saw quickly in our interview that Elaine had the experience we needed,” Ventura said. “She had a marketing background, coming from a firm, and she came in here and hit the ground running.”

In her three and a half years working at JSC, Harvey has greatly affected the institution through her contributions to the athletic department, development office, and student-athletes.

The largest aspect of her job is SHAPE communications for JSC athletics. “I manage the sports information and communication for all of our 15 varsity sports, including the statistics, press releases, and social media,” Harvey said.

Harvey also runs all of the sports game day operations, such as making sure the referees show up, the athletic facilities are functional, and the pregame festivities are up to par. “I once had to sing the National Anthem because all systems failed,” she said.

Ventura spoke enthusiastically about Harvey’s work, especially the social media facet. “Elaine spearheaded a brand evolution for our department, which included a new logo, website, and messaging,” he said. “She created our Facebook and Twitter pages and really revolutionized the way we communicate what’s happening in athletics.”

While the internet presence Harvey has added to JSC sports is substantially appreciated by the college, it has gained national attention as well. “The NCAA Division III pages have been retweeting and sharing Elaine’s posts,” said Ventura. “They even called her to say ‘We love the things that you do — can you give us some advice for our page?’ That was a really big step for us. She put us on the map.”

Harvey also has been pivotal in the new fundraising efforts of the athletics department, especially the annual Walter Minaert Golf Tournament. “When I got here, I was tasked with fundraising for Johnson and we began an annual fund for the athletics department,” she said. “We previously had never asked for student-athlete alumni to give back to the school. We also started really in earnest improving our golf tournament.”

Before Harvey came to JSC, the golf tournament was operating in the red and didn’t produce any profit for the athletic department. “In three years, we have been able to turn it into a 33 percent profit increase and double the attendance,” she said.

During her years at JSC, Harvey’s work has been multifaceted. “Elaine’s work with our students ranged from supervising work-study students to being involved in community service events,” said Ventura. “She took over the advisor responsibilities of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee this spring, working with our students to run Kids Night Out, Special Olympics, and a partnership with Fear 2 Freedom, a national service group that assists victims of sexual assault.”

Despite having multiple key roles throughout the athletics department, Harvey still found time to create a leadership development curriculum for student-athletes through her work for her master’s program at the University of Vermont. She also taught a sports promotion and branding class under the new Sports Management concentration at JSC during the fall semester of 2015.

Harvey’s new job title will officially be the Assistant Athletics Director for Communications and Development. “The difference between the two jobs is that Wellesley is a very well-funded DIII college so they have a very big staff,” she said. “My new job will be much more focused on brand management because I will be overseeing the sports information director whereas here [JSC], I am the sports information director.”

Harvey accepted the position at Wellesley College for several reasons. “My family is all from Boston. Also, Wellesley is an all-women’s institution, so that fit the bill,” she said. “I chose to take the job not because I don’t love Johnson, but because the opportunity was too good to pass up. It’s the next iteration of what I want to be doing here, anyway.”

With her move to Wellesley College, Harvey hopes to continue the journey towards achieving her life-goals. “My goals in the new position at Wellesley will be to tell their story really effectively and capture what they’re doing well and engage with it,” she said. “Overall, my goals are to be an athletic director, and eventually, one day, I would like to be running a camp or school for students to come and learn about leadership.”

Harvey acknowledges that the decision to leave JSC was not an easy one. “It was hard because coming on four years, Johnson has been my blood, sweat, and tears,” she said. “It has been unbelievably rewarding.”
Harvey has a long list of who and what she will miss about the college. “First, I will miss my team here. The athletics department is unbelievable,” she said. “I am really proud to be a part of the team here and the culture change we have done. I will also miss our student body. They’re just a really amazing group of students.”

Lastly, Harvey said, “I will miss the views, and I will miss Tom at Sodexo because he feeds me really well.”

Although Ventura wishes Harvey could stay at JSC, he knows that this is the best thing for her and is thankful for the stability she will be leaving behind. “Obviously I wish her well, she’s going to do great, and I think that someday she wants to be an athletic director, so this is the next step for her and they’re going to be lucky to have her,” he said.

“One thing I feel good about is she has brought our programs to the next level,” Ventura said. “I give her a lot of credit for doing that . . . She has left us in a really good place.”

The job opening created by Harvey’s departure is expected to be posted within the next several weeks, and ideally filled by the beginning of June. While Ventura is pleased with the state Harvey will be leaving the athletics department in, he knows it will be difficult to find someone else of her caliber.

“Every now and then you get someone that is so good at what they do and is such a contributor that you can’t really replace them,” he said.

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