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Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot continues to build out her transition team Announces top communications transition staff

4/17/2019, noon | Updated on 4/17/2019, noon
Marielle is on leave from the University of Chicago, where she has served as Director of Public Affairs since 2015. ...
Marielle Sainvilus

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot continues to build out her transition team

Announces top communications transition staff

On Monday, Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot announced Marielle Sainvilus as the Communications Director for the transition period.

Marielle is on leave from the University of Chicago, where she has served as Director of Public Affairs since 2015. A veteran communications strategist, Marielle previously held the position of Press Secretary for Chicago Public Schools, the Office of the Governor of Illinois, and for the Illinois Department of Human Services.

“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,” said Mayor-elect Lightfoot, who will be sworn in as Chicago’s next mayor on May 20th.

In addition to the Communications Director, Mayor-elect Lightfoot also announced additional members of the communications team on Monday.

Anel Ruiz will serve as the transition Press Secretary. Ruiz most recently served as the Public Affairs Director for the Chicago Department of Public Health. Her background includes positions with the National Museum of Mexican Art, Free Spirit Media and the Cook County Board.

Han Nguyen will serve as the transition Digital Director. Nguyen was a Lead Digital Strategist at When We All Vote, a non-profit started by Michelle Obama, and National School Walkout, an anti-gun violence initiative born out of the Parkland school shootings. Prior to these roles, Nguyen served in digital strategy leadership roles at Biss for Illinois and Hillary for America.

Mayor-elect Lightfoot also commended Nadia Perl, who served as Communications Director during her historic run for mayor. Nadia is stepping down to pursue other career opportunities.

“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.”

Carolyn Grisko, president and CEO of Grisko LLC, is continuing in her role as communications advisor and helping the transition team shape the way City government communicates. “When it comes to communicating with all of Chicago, not only through the media, we need to bring in the light,” said Lightfoot. “We need more openness, closer links with all communities, and more transparency in the decision-making processes that are too often held behind closed doors.”