Deanna Clifford headshot

Voinovich School Senior Program Manager Deanna Clifford cut her teeth as a student and then a professional staffer at WOUB

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Clifford graduated from Ohio University in 1985 and 1990

ATHENS, OH – When Deanna Clifford, who is now a senior program manager for the Voinovich Academy for Excellence in Public Service in the Ohio University Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs, started working at WOUB as a student, she had no idea she’d come back and work as a member of the professional staff or that her career would go in a completely different direction. However, she says the experiences she gained working at the station have been valuable throughout her career.

“I learned a skill set, and I continue to build on that skill set every day,” said Clifford. “The work has been enormously rewarding.”

Clifford grew up in Cincinnati and discovered Ohio University when her older brother decided to go to college in Athens. She visited him during Sibs Weekend and just loved the campus.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” said Clifford. “But I was interested in communications school from the beginning. I didn’t know it had such an amazing reputation.”

Clifford originally thought she wanted to study theater production, but her mother didn’t think that sounded like a career where she could make money.

“My mom encouraged me to look at the college of communication. I thought TV production was like theater production, so I decided to major in telecommunications. I quickly got involved at WOUB learning everything I could. I developed a family there. It’s so nice to have a tribe. The WOUB tribe is special. To this day the people that I knew then are still so important to me. You hang on to your family.”

During her time at WOUB, Clifford did behind the scenes production work for NewsWatch and special public affairs programs. She also worked in the traffic department. After graduation, she went to work for a small manufacturing company while looking for a job in media. And then she saw an opening at WOUB and applied.

“There was a part-time position in the traffic department, and I got it. The part-time job eventually became a full-time position. I worked in promotions for a while and also did on-air fundraising. The pledge drive work helped me learn public speaking. There isn’t anything quite like being in front of a camera and being told that you need to just talk.”

Clifford received her master’s degree in communications from Ohio University in 1991 and eventually left her position at WOUB. She took a job using her skills in communications and public relations at a human services agency for older adults in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“I found that I loved working in human services with older adults,” said Clifford. “And that became my career path. I was open to different possibilities using the media skills I had.”

Clifford later served as communications director for the Area Agency on Aging in Youngstown, Ohio and manager of access and integration for the Ohio State Department of Aging. In 2019, Clifford saw an opportunity to use her skills in a new way and return to her Bobcat roots.

“There was a job opening on the Ohio University Dublin Campus for a senior program manager for the Voinovich Academy for Excellence in Public Service,” said Clifford. “I looked at the job description and knew that I had the experience and expertise to do it.”

In this role, Clifford helps to offer professional development in leadership for those in public service work. She works with local governments, state agencies and regional-based organizations. Clifford develops proposals and budgets, while helping to create programs and determine content.

“It harkens back to my days of TV production at WOUB,” said Clifford. “I’m putting pieces together and working through details with communication skills to help share a message with people.”