Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced Tuesday that he has appointed a new communications director who will begin after the new year.
Sondra D. Roberts will head the communication strategy for the mayor and city as well as internal and external communications, public and media relations and oversee the press information office and the channel 78, the city's television station. She is the fourth communications director since Baraka took office in 2014.
Roberts has nearly 20 years of experience in communication and organizational management and most recently worked at a Manhattan-based firm she founded that provides public relations, cause-related marketing/collaborations and event management for brands, organizations, and people "who have an underlying purpose to do GOOD," according to the firm's webiste.
Roberts also managed the New York City operations for Cornell University’s S.C. Johnson College of Business. Roberts has also worked in entertainment, fashion, non-profit, and on political campaigns.
Roberts earned a master's degree in public relations and corporate communication from New York University, and a bachelor's degree in communicaitons from the State University of New York at Albany.
“I believe that Sondra will bring the fresh perspective and skill needed to improve the way we communicate in all areas. Not only does she have the experience but she also has the compassion and pedigree,” Baraka said.
Mark Di Ionno, who served as interim communications director, will continue to serve in the Press Information Office and support Roberts during the transition. After the transition, Di Ionno will return to the Department of Public Safety, where he will continue to lead the Office of Public Information. (Di Ionno, a former columnist for The Star-Ledger, wrote columns for TAPinto.net before joining the mayor's staff.) Crystal Rosa will continue to serve as press secretary.
The mayor's last communications director, Frank Baraff, was appointed in January 2016 and served in that role until earlier this year.