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Birmingham’s LeNá Powe McDonald Joins Southeastern Conference (SEC) Staff

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LeNá Powe McDonald, of Birmingham, has been named Associate Commissioner for Academic Relations for the Southeastern Conference, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced on Friday.

“We are excited to have Dr. LeNá McDonald join the Southeastern Conference staff in the critical role of supporting and promoting programs and activities designed to highlight the teaching, research and service accomplishments of students, faculty and staff in the SEC,” said Sankey.  “Dr. McDonald is uniquely qualified to lead our efforts to highlight the endeavors and achievements of the SEC’s world-class universities.”

As Associate Commissioner for Academic Relations, McDonald will lead SEC activities meant to highlight the academic accomplishments and impact of SEC universities, including academically focused intercollegiate athletics opportunities.  These activities include the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program, SEC Faculty Achievement Awards, SEC Faculty Travel Program, SEC College Tour, SEC MBA Case and Student Pitch Competitions, SEC Emerging Scholars Program and SEC education abroad and international efforts.

In addition, McDonald will administer the SEC’s broad academic messaging effort, which includes social and digital media strategies, paid advertising campaigns in leading higher education publications, and high impact messaging opportunities, while leveraging the SEC athletics brand in highlighting the academic accomplishments and impact of SEC universities.

She will also serve as staff liaison to the SEC Provosts and the SEC Vice Presidents/Chancellors for Communications.

McDonald comes to the SEC from the University of Alabama where she has served as Director of Internal Affairs and UA System Liaison since 2019.  She previously worked in communications for UA’s Division of Advancement. She has also served as a faculty member in UA’s Department of Communication Studies. Additional previous roles include: Director of Operations, Advancement and Marketing for the Birmingham Children’s Theater, Executive Director of Workforce Development for West Alabama Works of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce as well as project manager in strategic initiatives for the Birmingham Business Alliance.

McDonald earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Alabama in 2007 before earning a master’s degree in Communications Studies in 2009 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education with an emphasis in Communications and Information Sciences in 2020.

She was a presenter at the Oxford Women’s Leadership Symposium in 2018 and named a Birmingham Trailblazer by The Birmingham News in 2015. She was also named Best Young Professional by Birmingham Magazine Best in Minority Business Awards in 2014 and an honoree in Who’s Who in Black America in 2012.

She is a member of the Birmingham Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She has been active in her community and volunteers with several community boards.