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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam announced additional appointments to his Administration today.
Office of the Governor
Ofirah Yheskel, Communications Director
Ofirah Yheskel has been appointed Communications Director. She has served as Press Secretary since January 2018. Prior to that, she served as a senior communications advisor to the governor’s transition and inaugural committees, Press Secretary for the Ralph Northam for Governor campaign, and Wisconsin Press Secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Communications Studies and Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Global Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.
Secretariat of Natural Resources
Ann C. Phillips, Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection
Ann C. Phillips has been appointed Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection. Ann Phillips is a recognized leader in the field of sea level rise resilience advocacy and climate impact on national security at the regional, national and international level. In Virginia, she chaired the Infrastructure Working Group for the Old Dominion University-convened Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience Intergovernmental Pilot Planning Project from 2014 to 2016, and continues to focus on building a collaborative approach to address the impact of sea level rise across Hampton Roads.
Prior to her appointment, Ann Phillips served nearly 31 years on active duty, retiring as a Rear Admiral. Her final Flag command was as Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group TWO, including 14 ships and 10 subordinate commands—all the Amphibious Expeditionary Forces on the East Coast of the United States. Earlier she served as Deputy Director on the Chief of Naval Operations Staff and then Director of Surface Warfare Division, and had the honor to commission and command USS MUSTIN (DDG 89) and to command Destroyer Squadron 28.
Rear Admiral Phillips earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at The College of William and Mary, and she is a 1983 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a certified Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional, Level 2, and coordinates an evolving wetlands restoration project for her Norfolk neighborhood.
Secretariat of the Commonwealth
Advisory Board on Respiratory Care
Board for Coal Mining Examiners
Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians
Board of Game and Inland Fisheries
Board of Trustees, Family and Children’s Trust Fund
Citizen’s Advisory Council on Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion
Foundation for Healthy Youth
Veterans Services Foundation
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