New head of Massey University External Relations

Penelope Barr-Sellers

A leading public relations practitioner with a background in university strategic development, private sector communications and New Zealand news media will head Massey University's External Relations team as Assistant Vice-Chancellor.

Penelope Barr-Sellers, of Auckland, will oversee the University's communications, marketing, national events, student recruitment, web content, alumni development and the Massey University Foundation.

University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says he is delighted to appoint a proven team leader with a strong public relations and media background whose recent experience involved growth and development initiatives that are increasingly important to the international success of modern universities.

"Massey has built a strong brand whose tagline, ‘the engine of the new New Zealand', is recognised and well understood by students and other key stakeholders." Mr Maharey says. "I am confident Mrs Barr-Sellers will deliver on the strategies that will strengthen Massey’s connections and enhance our reputation as a university committed to making a difference nationally, and globally."

Mrs Barr-Sellers is currently head of development and innovation at AUT University. She has a Bachelor of Education from Waikato University, a Diploma of Teaching from Waikato Teachers' College and a Diploma of Meteorology from the New Zealand Meteorological Service.

She joined AUT in late 2010 as group director of growth and development, a portfolio encompassing student recruitment and youth engagement programmes, community engagement and advancement, including the AUT Foundation and the Friends of AUT (United States). She also developed and led the corporate affairs and the business and industry-relations functions, as well as innovation projects.

Prior to that she spent 10 years in England in communication agency management roles, working with global blue chip companies in Britain, Europe and the United States.

Her earlier career was with Television New Zealand as a presenter and reporter (1987-96), a senior public relations consultant for Consultus – now the Acumen Group (1996-98), and as general manager of the public relations business in DDB Group (1998-01).

She will join Massey on June 1.

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