Executive director of executive communications, Office of the President
Chelyen Davis joins VCU as executive director of executive communications. In this role, she will lead strategic messaging and communications for the president, guiding and amplifying the president’s voice and role as chief storyteller, and identifying and pursuing opportunities to tell VCU’s story on a national stage.
Chelyen previously served as Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s deputy communications director and speechwriter, collaborating on communications strategies to advance the governor’s priorities, highlight his administration’s achievements, and respond quickly and thoughtfully in high-pressure situations. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she advised on pandemic communications, including writing scripts and presentations for the governor’s more than 70 press conferences to ensure that Virginians heard up-to-date and accurate information on the pandemic and the state’s response.
Chelyen came to the Northam administration after serving as communications advisor for Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel in the administration of Gov. Terry McAuliffe. She started her career as a newspaper journalist in her hometown of Bluefield, Va., before moving on to cover Virginia state government and politics for newspapers in Lynchburg, Va. and Fredericksburg, Va., and spending a year as assistant editorial page editor for the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. Her experience as a journalist trained her to digest complex information, and translate it in a clear way that others can more easily understand – skills she relies on daily as a communicator and speechwriter.
Chelyen received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Virginia. She is a proud Southwest Virginia native, and lives in Henrico.