Our University Relations Staff
- Executive Director
- University Relations
- Public Affairs
- Marketing & Advertising
- Internal Communications
Executive Director of University Relations
David C. Dawson
Executive Director of University Relations
Phone (954) 262-2119
David C. Dawson is the Executive Director of University Relations at Nova Southeastern University. As such, he serves as the university's overall marketing director and brand manager. He oversees the development and implementation of NSU's brand strategy and related messaging, while managing and coordinating all communications channels. The university's advertising, internal communications, social media and public affairs departments report directly to him.
Most recently, Dawson had been Group Director of Marketing Communications for Ryder System, Inc., after serving as Ryder's Director of Public Relations, and prior to that, Director of Advertising. He had previously held marketing leadership positions with American Hospital Supply, Deltona Corporation and Tinsley Advertising. He holds a BBA from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida.
Brandon L. Hensler, M.S., APR
Director of University Relations
Phone: (954) 262-5385
Brandon L. Hensler, M.S., APR, is the Director of University Relations for Nova Southeastern University. In this role, he supports the Executive Director in the planning and execution of the university's overall branding and marketing communications plan and is a member of the marketing communications management team. Hensler manages the strategic integrated marketing communications planning process for the university and coordinates the execution of such initiatives internally as well as with external agencies. He also manages executive communications and public relations for the Office of the President; measurement of the department's paid, earned and owned media initiatives; and helps manage the overall University Relations budget.
Hensler previously served as Associate Director of Public Affairs for Nova Southeastern University, providing public relations and marketing support for the Office of the President as well as various colleges and centers.
Prior to joining NSU, Hensler was the Director of Communications for the ACLU of Florida, a statewide non-profit legal/advocacy organization based in Miami with offices throughout the state. He oversaw the organization's media relations, public relations and advertising strategies, and served as the organization's bilingual spokesperson locally and nationally. Prior to the ACLU, Hensler worked for PR Newswire, a New York-based international news organization.
Hensler is a county commission-appointed board member on the Broward County Human Rights Board. He is a past-president of the Public Relations Society of America's Greater Fort Lauderdale Chapter, and is a graduate of Leadership Broward Class XXX. Hensler was a founding member of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association's Sun Trolley Foundation Board, and previously served on the Board of Trustees of the Miami University "1809" Alumni Association.
Hensler is Accredited in Public Relations by the Universal Accreditation Board and is certified as a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt. He holds a M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from NSU's Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences and a B.A. in International Studies/Latin American Studies from Miami University of Ohio. He is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Director of Public Affairs
Office: (954) 262-5348
Cell: (954) 591-3361
Julie Spechler is the Director of the Office of Public Affairs at Nova Southeastern University. She is responsible for development and implementation of communications, marketing and public relations services that advance NSU's mission, vision and core values.
Spechler and her public affairs team are charged with disseminating information to media and internal audiences locally and globally about the programs, students, faculty, alumni, events, achievements, research and activities of the university. The team works to enhance NSU's reputation as a leading academic and research institution.
Spechler provides public relations and marketing support for a myriad of university and community-wide initiatives such as NSU's Regional Campuses located throughout Florida, The Bahamas and San Juan, Puerto Rico. She also provides PR support advancement to the Offices of Alumni Affairs, and Athletics, and is the primary media contact to NSU's executive and senior level officers. Spechler and her team are also responsible for much of the content of NSU's award winning premiere magazine,Horizons; NSU's weekly SharkBytes electronic employee newsletter; as well as content for NSU's social media profiles and website.
Prior to joining NSU, Spechler spent 25 years at AT&T, where she served as the company's Public Relations Director for Florida. Her responsibilities included supporting the firm's business and consumer efforts in a variety of public relations and marketing initiatives including media relations, marketing, employee communications, executive counseling, strategic philanthropy, and public policy. After leaving AT&T, she formed a boutique PR agency representing clients ranging from entertainment to communications to education. Spechler got her start in academia at Barry University, where she served as Alumni Director before joining AT&T/BellSouth.
She currently serves on University of Florida's Public Relations Advisory Council; is an active member in her local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA); and is a member of the American Association of University Women and of the Society of Professional Journalists. Spechler has a B.S. in Journalism and Public Relations from University of Florida and a M.A. degree, with an emphasis in marketing and public relations, from NSU's Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Associate Director of Public Affairs
Office: (954) 262-2159
Cell: (954) 661-4571
As an Associate Director of Public Affairs at Nova Southeastern University (NSU,) Joe Donzelli provides public relations and marketing support for: Oceanographic Center (including the Center of Excellence in Coral Reef Ecosystems Science; the National Coral Reef Institute; the Guy Harvey Research Institute; the Save our Seas Shark Center; and the Broward County Florida Sea Turtle Conservation Program;) the Center for Psychological Studies, the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Institute for the Study of Human Service, Health and Justice and the Mailman Segal Center for Human Development.
Before joining the NSU family, Donzelli was the Director of Communications and Printing Services for the School District of Lee County, Florida (Fort Myers,) which is the ninth-largest public school system in the state and 40th largest in America. He was responsible for the internal and external communication and media relations for the district, including crisis communication. As the Director of Communications, Donzelli was called upon numerous times to make presentations on various communications topics at local, state and national conferences (Sunshine State School Public Relations Association, the Florida School Boards Attorney's Associate and the National School Public Relations Association) and many of his projects won state and national PR awards.
Prior to working for Lee County Public Schools, Donzelli was a Communications Specialist with the School District of Broward County, Florida (Fort Lauderdale) where he assisted the director with internal and external communications for the nation's sixth-largest public school system. Donzelli started out in the communications field as an Assistant Reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper, where his main "beat" was K-12 education (public and private) while also filling general assignment roles whenever assigned.
Donzelli holds a B.A in Communications from Florida Atlantic University (where he wrote for FAU's student newspaper) and is also a proud graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale.
Associate Director of Public Affairs
Office: (954) 262-5315
Cell: (954) 383-4695
Felecia Henderson is an Associate Director of Public Affairs for Nova Southeastern University. Her duties include providing public relations and marketing support for several of the university's academic units including the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, the Shepard Broad Law Center, and the Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences. Henderson also provides public relations and marketing support for special events for University Relations, and several university-wide initiatives.
Prior to joining NSU, Henderson served as the Sports Information Director for Florida Memorial University, a Historically Black College (HBCU) located in Miami. She was responsible for all internal and external communications, event management, game operations and the marketing and promotional activities of the university's intercollegiate athletic program.
Henderson currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Davie and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami.
Henderson holds a B.S. in Business Administration (Accounting) from California State University at Dominguez Hills, an M.S. in Sports Administration from St. Thomas University (Florida) and is a doctoral degree candidate at NSU's Abraham S. Fischler School of Education.
Associate Director of Public Affairs
Office: (954) 262-5408
Cell: (954) 661-7000
Jeremy Katzman, M.B.A. is an associate director of public affairs for Nova Southeastern University. His duties include providing public relations and marketing support for the Health Professions Division, Office of Research and Technology Transfer and biotech areas.
Prior to joining NSU, Katzman served as associate director of public relations and e-philanthropy for Miami Children's Hospital Foundation. His primary focus was to enhance the foundation's brand and message by serving as the primary media contact, spokesperson and copywriter and also managing the organization's website and social media presence. He previously served as an account executive at O'Connell & Goldberg Public Relations in Hollywood, FL where he provided expertise to clients in a variety of industries, including healthcare, non-profit, hospitality and sports. He also was a member of the MEDNAX (Pediatrix Medical Group) marketing department.
Jeremy is a long-time volunteer for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society where he is a member and previously served as chair of its Young Adult Board, which provides a forum for young adults going through cancer to interact with survivors.
Jeremy holds a B.A. in public relations and a B.S. in political science from the University of Florida and is a member of the UF Hall of Fame. He earned his master's degree in business administration from Nova Southeastern University.
Associate Director of Public Affairs
Office: (945) 262-5309
Cell: (954) 882-3570
Vera Mandilovitch is an associate director of public affairs at Nova Southeastern University (NSU). She provides public relations and marketing support for the Alvin Sherman Library, the Division of Student Affairs, the Don Taft University Center, University School, the Office of International Affairs, Special Olympics Broward County, the College of Undergraduate Studies, and the Abraham S. Fischler School of Education.
Prior to joining NSU, Mandilovitch was an associate at the global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller in Miami where she managed and coordinated public relations, press trips and communications for one of their primary clients, the Costa Rica Tourism Board. She was also a major contributor to the Livestrong Foundation and the Ministry of Tourism of Uruguay campaigns. While at Burson-Marsteller, she secured media coverage on several national network programs including the Travel Channel and Wheel of Fortune.
Before moving to Miami, Mandilovitch served as the communications manager for Erie Neighborhood House in Chicago. Erie House is a United Way member organization and was named one of the top 25 Latino Nonprofits in the United States in 2010 by Hispanic Business magazine. She managed all aspects of public relations, media sponsorships and communications for the organization. During her time at Erie, she worked closely with elected state and U.S. Congressional officials on press conferences and large-scale media campaigns. She also created, wrote and coordinated content placement for annual reports and newsletters.
Preceding Erie Neighborhood House, Mandilovitch was the communications coordinator at the March of Dimes Foundation in Chicago. Her work with the Chicago media market garnered regional and national recognition within the organization by receiving two awards for the highest media impressions in 2006.
Her many accomplishments include the execution of public relations campaigns resulting in a significant increase in awareness, exposure and funding for organizations.
Mandilovitch is bilingual in English and Spanish. She is a Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) member and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Marketing and Advertising
Gabriela J. Vignolo
Director of Marketing Communications
Office of University Relations
Phone (954) 262-5355
Gabriela Vignolo is the Director of Marketing Communications at Nova Southeastern University. She is responsible for the planning and implementation of NSU's strategic marketing plan. In her role Vignolo oversees the university's advertising, online and social media initiatives.
Working closely with NSU's marketing communications agency, she manages the university's advertising expenditures and supervises the creative execution of NSU's broadcast, print and online media. Vignolo also supports the Executive Director in managing the brand by working
collaboratively with academic units to advance a unified marketing strategy and brand image. Additional responsibilities include coordinating University-wide Open Houses; and providing marketing support to University entities, including the Museum of Art I Fort Lauderdale and NSU's Health Care Centers.
Vignolo is a well-rounded marketing communications professional with experience in advertising, public relations and broadcasting. Prior to joining NSU in 2005, she served as the Communications Director for a Fort Lauderdale based organization specializing in fine art event marketing and production. She oversaw advertising and public relations, and was responsible for the promotion of over 40 fine art events across the U.S. She spent several years at WPBT-PBS Channel 2 in Miami where she worked as a television producer and publicist. Vignolo has also taught a public relations writing course as an adjunct instructor at Florida International University.She holds a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunication with a concentration in television and radio production from the University of Florida, and a Master of Science in Mass Communication with an emphasis in integrated marketing communications from Florida International University.
Marcia Garcia is the E-Marketing Coordinator for the Office of University Relations at Nova Southeastern University. She is responsible for managing NSU's online presence with a focus on communicating NSU's brand message to prospective students via digital media channels.
Garcia works closely with the Director of Marketing Communications and provides support for the university's online and social media initiatives. She also works closely with the university's advertising agency and serves as a support for owned and paid media initiatives including: social media content strategy, search engine optimization, and paid digital media advertising. Additional responsibilities include: managing digital media assets including video and still images, serving as a liaison to the Office of Information and Innovation Technology and Web content manager for NSU's top level website pages, and working collaboratively with academic units by communicating best social media practices in order to convey a unified brand image across social media networks.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Media Studies from Nova Southeastern University and is pursuing her M.B.A. in Marketing at NSU's H . Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship.
Online Marketing and Social Media Manager
Phone (954) 262-2128
Kim Cohane is the Online Marketing and Social Media Manager at Nova Southeastern University. She is responsible for managing NSU's online presence, increasing online brand awareness, and the strategic implementation of NSU's social media initiatives. She works closely with the Director of Marketing Communications and the university's advertising agency to increase NSU's visibility using paid digital media advertising, Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) initiatives.
Additional responsibilities include leading university-wide social media trainings to promote a unified brand message and best practice strategies for NSU's colleges, departments, and organizations. She is responsible for updating images and content for NSU's website, the iShark mobile application, and manages the online interactive map of NSU's campuses.
She holds certifications as a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and Google Advertising Professional (GAP). She has a B.S. in Natural Sciences from the University of South Florida, an M.S. in Business Leadership from NSU's H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, and is currently a doctoral student at NSU pursuing a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution.
Mara L. Kiffin
Director of Internal Communications
Phone (954) 262-5350
Mara L. Kiffin is the Director of Internal Communications for Nova Southeastern University. In this role, Kiffin plans and manages internal communications and execution strategies for university-wide initiatives and campaigns; creates, develops key messages and executes communications plans in support of strategic objectives. Additionally, she serves as Executive Editor of the university magazine, Horizons, and manages content for internal communications channels including SharkBytes, SharkTube, digital signage, SharkLink, and iShark mobile application.
In the advancement of NSU’s Core Value of Diversity, Kiffin serves as chair of the committees for Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month. As chair, she coordinates cultural programs/activities/events and collaborates with representatives from university departments, colleges, schools and centers to create integrated programs that recognize and celebrate diversity. Since 2003 she has served as chair of the organizing committee for the annual African Presence Art Exhibition.
Kiffin joined NSU in 2000 and has previously served as the Associate Director of Internal Communications and the Assistant Director of Public Affairs. Prior to joining NSU, she served as Communications Manager with Girl Scouts of Broward County.
She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Baptist University, a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management from NSU, and is currently a doctoral candidate at Florida Atlantic University, pursing a Ph.D. in Comparative Studies.
Christie L. Williams
Internal Communications Editor
Christie Williams is the Editor of the Internal Communications department for Nova Southeastern University. She is responsible for supporting the internal communications department by creating and populating internal channels of communication, coordinating the building of the NSU brand within the university community, and serving as a communications liaison between University Relations and the Office of Innovation & Information Technology.Williams holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Merchandising from Florida State University and Masters of Science degree in Leadership from NSU