Big Moves at Strategic Communications: New Vice President and New Director of Public Relations

Syracuse-based Strategic Communications has announced two major updates to its senior leadership team: Virgie Townsend, JD, has been promoted to Vice President of Client Strategy and Business Development, and Alice Maggiore has been appointed as Director of Public Relations.

Strategic Communications’ growth comes at an exciting time, as the public relations agency is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It was founded in 2004 by public relations consultant, educator, and speaker Michael Meath. In 2014, President Crystal DeStefano acquired the public relations practice.

Virgie Townsend, JD, Vice President of Client Strategy and Business Development

Virgie most recently served as Director of Public Relations and led the company through significant growth in 2023. Company President Crystal DeStefano, APR, said: “Virgie has brought tremendous value to our clients and to Strategic Communications through her client strategy and business development expertise. I’m very excited for the future potential of our company with Virgie in this new role.”

In her new role as Vice President of Client Strategy and Business Development, Virgie will continue to oversee the development and delivery of overall client strategy, and will remain on select client accounts that align with her specific areas of expertise, while dedicating more time to represent Strategic Communications within the local business community and leading new client opportunities and initiatives for Strategic Communications across Central New York.

Virgie received her bachelor’s degree in newspaper journalism, magna cum laude, from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and her J.D. from the Syracuse University College of Law. She is a bar-admitted attorney in Colorado. In 2021, the Central New York Business Journal recognized Virgie as one of its 40 Under Forty Awards honorees. She serves on the board of the Central New York Biotech Accelerator (CNYBAC), operated by SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Alice Maggiore, Director of Public Relations

The role of Director of Public Relations will now be filled by local PR and media expert Alice Maggiore, who has worked with Strategic Communications as a public relations consultant since 2020. DeStefano said, “I’ve spent two decades working in the Syracuse media market and haven’t met anyone better connected to our local media than Alice! She immediately provided strategic insights and critical value to our clients when she joined the team in 2020, and she has continued to lead successful media relations initiatives for our clients in Syracuse, Binghamton, and across New York State.”

As Director of Public Relations, Alice will oversee more of Strategic Communications’ clients as well as provide public relations direction and oversight to other members of the Strategic Communications team. Additionally, drawing on her experience working directly in the media and the community, Alice will continue to develop strategies, write compelling content, and nurture relationships to secure positive news coverage for the company’s clients.

Alice earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from SUNY Oneonta. She started her career as a producer and multi-media journalist at WBNG-TV in Binghamton, then served as a producer for CNY Central (NBC 3, CBS 6, and CW 6) in Syracuse. She transitioned to public relations with her role as Director of Communications for the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, and most recently served as Associate Director of Public Information for The Great New York State Fair at the Department of Agriculture and Markets. She is a 2018 graduate of Leadership Greater Syracuse. In board roles, she serves as Publicity Chair for the Public Relations Society of America – CNY Chapter and as President-Elect of the SUNY Oneonta Alumni Association.