Assistant Vice President, Communications & Public Relations
Medgar Evers College
Jamilah Fraser is a sought-after communications professional with an impressive track record of quelling crises and reshaping reputations. “I get great satisfaction in turning things around,” says Fraser. She made her mark as a lead disaster communications officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, crafting critical messages about natural disasters and rebranding the organization in the wake of criticism about its handling of Hurricane Katrina. After eight years, she transitioned to communications roles in education, an area for which she has a personal passion. “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I was born in the South, one of five children, and I knew that a solid education was the key for me,” says Fraser, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of South Carolina.
Fraser served as chief communications officer for the School District of Philadelphia and chief information officer for the Fresno Unified School District, before taking on her current role as assistant vice president of communications and public relations at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, N.Y. She focuses on raising the profile of the school and its programs, and maintaining the legacy of the civil rights icon for whom the school is named. Dignity, respect and kindness — values Fraser learned from her parents — have shaped her professional persona. “I’ve had to make some tough decisions as I go about my work, but I sleep well, knowing that I kept those three things in mind along the way.”
Fraser has benefited from several influential mentor relationships and is dedicated to paying it forward by serving as a mentor herself. “If we don’t prepare our young people for the rigors of this world, including offering them guidance and showing them that someone truly does care about their well-being, we will be a nation in peril,” she says.