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Lightfoot names U of C admin as communications director of transition team

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot is interviewed by reporter Fran Spielman Friday, March 5, 2019. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot is interviewed by reporter Fran Spielman Friday, March 5, 2019. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot announced Monday that she is appointing Marielle Sainvilus, director of public affairs at the University of Chicago, as communications director of her transition team.

Sainvilus, who is on leave from the University, previously served as the press secretary at Chicago Public Schools, the Office of the Governor of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Human Services, Lightfoot’s press team said in a statement.

“Marielle’s strategic skills and extensive communications and public engagement experience in both the public and private sectors will be invaluable as we prepare to lead the City of Chicago,” Lightfoot said.

Nadia Perl, who served as communications director during Lightfoot’s campaign, “is stepping down to pursue other career opportunities,” the press team said.

“I truly cannot thank Nadia enough for her hard work and dedication to the campaign,” Lightfoot said. “Her work from the very beginning has helped lead us to a historic victory. While I’m sad to see her go — and tried to get her to stay — we are also thankful for her time in the post-election period to ensure a seamless hand-off. I wish her all the best and look forward to watching her success in her next endeavor.”

In addition to Sainvilus’ appointment, Lightfoot named Anel Ruiz as press secretary and Han Nguyen as digital director, the press team said. Ruiz most recently served as the public affairs director at the Chicago Department of Public Health, while Nguyen last worked as lead digital strategist at When We All Vote, a non-profit started by Michelle Obama, and National School Walkout, a student led anti-gun violence initiative.