By Carmen Marin
Collaborator to The Guardsman
In November, City College hired Bay Area local, long-time social justice advocate, and public relations expert Rosie Zepeda as the new Director of Media, Governmental Relations, and Marketing, filling a previously outsourced and over-budgeted position.
“Rosie brings more than 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, and public relations to CCSF, including most recently for the Yosemite Community College District,” wrote Interim Chancellor Rajen Vurdien in the Nov. 9 weekly email blast.
Zepeda was born in San Jose to working-class parents. In 2016 she was included on a list of Women of Influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, and ran in 2018 for San Jose City Council.
Once known as “Rosie the Closer,” she founded the company Compelling Conversations to help businesses and individuals with communication training and diversity consulting, ahead of the game back in 2013. Since then, she’s worked in analytics and digital coaching for Google, integrated better strategies with technology and customer service for the Diocese of San Jose, and advocated for Hispanic businesses in the Bay Area.
In her new position, Zepeda is expected to create, manage, and implement strategies to strengthen relations with the community, local businesses, media, and of course government stakeholders. She will be the main liaison with the city, state, and federal offices, and will represent City College in related meetings and report back with new policies and changes. This includes what regulations City College will have to adhere to with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Zepeda’s approved salary range is $109,709.54 to $186,158.86. This includes the costs of liaising with the government, and according to the Board of Trustees is in the midrange of the average for a position such as this in the Bay Area.
This is about half of what was allocated to the previous director, Rachel Howard, who was an outside contractor of BergDavis Public Affairs. As seen in the minutes from the Board of Trustees on Nov. 14, 2019, they approved a continuation of the contract with BergDavis that would have maximum payments of “$240,000 per fiscal year through the end of this agreement on June 30, 2021.”
With continual public discourse about the ballooning budgets of City College’s administration staff alongside departmental budget cuts for the faculty and students, this could possibly be one of the courses of action that the Board of Trustees is using to fix their finances. Zepeda’s work history includes a stint at Modesto Junior College, where she helped to consult on budget and staffing issues.
While she’s been unavailable for comments, she was hired at the tail end of the Fall 2020 semester and being the liaison between the government and the school when it comes to new COVID-19 procedures, Zepeda has her work cut out for her.