The City of Gastonia has named Mary Jackson Elliott as its new director of Communications and Marketing. Elliott replaces Rachel Bagley, who is retiring Aug. 1 after serving 12 years as director of Communications and Marketing. Elliott has led major communications campaigns in higher education, health care, banking and state government.
A native of Detroit, Elliott lived in the Denver, Colorado, area for more than 30 years. Most recently, she has been director of Communications and Marketing for the Community College of Aurora. She also has been the marketing communications manager for a medical center in the Denver suburb of Lafayette. Elliot has worked as an adjunct instructor of communication at two colleges in Colorado and is a certified instructor for the NxLEVEL Entrepreneurial Training Program through the Denver Small Business Development Center.
“We are impressed by Mary’s experience and her energy,” said Gastonia Deputy City Manager Todd Carpenter. “She has hands-on experience in communication strategy and in leadership. Her collaborative style and her enthusiasm make her a great fit for the City,” Carpenter said.
Elliott received a master’s degree in applied communication from the University of Denver, a master’s degree in theological studies from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and journalism from the University of Detroit.
While living in the Denver area, Elliott was active in the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, The Denver Foundation’s Inclusiveness Project, the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts Center, and as a volunteer at the Potter’s House Church food bank. She will be moving to Gastonia from Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she has been an active volunteer with a community and economic empowerment initiative “Community Voices.” In her spare time, Elliott enjoys photography and exploring the countryside on the back of her husband’s motorcycle.
Elliott said she is excited to join the City of Gastonia. “I am grateful for the opportunity to join the City where so many exciting things are happening. Gastonia is a great place to live, work and play.”
Bagley was hired in 2007 as the City’s Managing Executive for Marketing and Revitalization. She became the City’s first director of Communications and Marketing in 2017 and has led public information and marketing campaigns about major City projects, including Downtown revitalization.