VCU alumna and Executive Vice President of the National Basketball Association, Pamela El, will be the keynote speaker at VCU’s commencement ceremony on May 14.
“We are generally looking for people who have some kind of relationship with the university,” said Pam Lepley, Vice President for University Relations. “A successful alum is usually our prefered choice or someone who has done something major that affects VCU.”
Each year, a committee represented by members of the presidential cabinet chooses a commencement speaker. According to Lepley, the board strives to select inspiring individuals leading a career that the students can connect with. With those conditions in mind, Lepley said that El was the “perfect choice”.
“She’s a VCU alum who has worked hard and has made it to the top of her profession and she’s still relatively young so she’s someone they could relate to,” Lepley said.
El earned a Bachelor’s Degree in mass communications from VCU before serving on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, the Ad Council and the LeBron James Family Foundation. El currently serves on the board of the VCU Brandcenter.
With more than 30 years of experience, El is recognized as an industry leader for her expertise in brand management, marketing strategy, creative development and media and sponsorships. She is currently responsible for global marketing for the NBA, the Women’s National Basketball Association and the NBA D-League.
Prior to joining the NBA, El was senior vice president of financial brand marketing for Nationwide Insurance and spent more than a decade with State Farm Insurance as marketing vice president, where she led sales and marketing strategy for the U.S. and Canada.
Earlier in her career, El held positions with two telecommunications companies, Terabeam Corporation and U.S. West Communications in Seattle and Denver, respectively. She also held positions with advertising agency the Martin Agency in Phoenix and Richmond. She began her marketing career in 1983 with Siddall, Matus & Coughter, also located in Richmond.
El has received several distinctions, including being named to Advertising Age’s 100 Most Influential Women in Advertising, being granted a Corporate Citizen Award from the Steve Harvey Foundation and being honored as one of the most Influential Black Women in Business by the Network Business Journal. This year, El was named one of the Top 50 Women in Marketing and Advertising by Black Enterprise and was listed by Forbes as one of the top 25 Most Influential Minorities in Sports.
The VCU spring commencement ceremony will take place Saturday, May 14. For questions regarding the ceremony, contact the Graduation Office a (804) 828-1917 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Staff Writer, Sophia Belletti
Sophia is a sophomore print/online journalism major with a minor in gender, sexuality and women’s studies. She enjoys writing about current events and sports and hopes to one day be a sports reporter, covering soccer, basketball and baseball. You can usually find Sophia drinking way too much coffee and laughing at her own jokes. // Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn