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Mayor de Blasio Announces New Senior Appointments to Press, Communications and Scheduling Offices

April 8, 2019

NEW YORK–Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the appointments of new senior communications, strategy and planning aides. 

“These new leaders have shown a tremendous commitment to connecting with the people of this city. From press conferences to town hall meetings, they will help us convey our message and make sure we’re listening to the voice of the people in everything we do,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Eric Phillips has been a phenomenal leader and voice in this administration. He’s earned the respect of people on both sides of the podium, and I cannot thank him enough for his service to this city.”

Freddi Goldstein will serve as Press Secretary, responsible for engaging media and managing the day-to-day operations of the Mayor’s Press Office. Eric Phillips, who has served as Press Secretary since 2016, will depart the administration later this month.

“It’s been an honor being part of this administration the last three years and getting to work on some of the things that matter the most to New Yorkers,” said incoming Press Secretary Freddi Goldstein. “I’m excited to take on this new role and look forward to continuing to do all we can to deliver even more for the people of this city.”

Wiley Norvell will serve as Communications Director, responsible for strategic planning, mayoral and agency communications and event coordination. Michael Casca, Communications Director since 2016, is taking a leave of absence. Maibe Ponet will be promoted to Deputy Communications Director for Health and Human Services, and Deidrea Miller will be promoted to Deputy Communications Director for Housing and Economic Development. Jaclyn Rothenberg, who currently serves as First Deputy Press Secretary, has been promoted to Deputy Communications Director for First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan and Rapid Response. Pilar Grullón has been promoted to Deputy Director of Scheduling. Alexandra Kopel has been promoted to Deputy Director for Executive Operations. Jonathan Viguers will lead their team as Director of Scheduling and Executive Operations, planning and executing the Mayor’s day-to-day schedule and appearances.

About Freddi Goldstein
Freddi Goldstein joined Mayor de Blasio’s staff in 2016 as a Deputy Press Secretary where she communicated with members of the media about the city’s budget, major labor contracts, and NYC’s State and Federal legislative campaigns. Since 2018, she has served as the Communications Advisor to the First Deputy Mayor. During her tenure with the Mayor’s Office, she has helped develop and deliver communication strategy on critical initiatives like the plan to close Rikers Island, both campaigns to secure mayoral control of city schools, 3-K for All and passing congestion pricing to fund the subways. Before joining the administration, she was a Senior Associate at SKDKnickerbocker, where she advised clients on media relations, political communications and public affairs. She is a graduate of Tulane University.

About Maibe Ponet
Maibe Ponet will serve as Deputy Communications Director responsible for strategic communications planning, messaging, and event coordination with a focus on health and human services. In her new position, she will continue to function as top communications advisor to Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. Ponet joined the Administration in January of 2014 as Deputy Press Secretary. She has served as Chief Communications Officer for the NYC Health Department, Senior Communications Advisor to the NYC Health Commissioner, and Senior Communications Advisor for former Deputy Mayor Barrios-Paoli and current Deputy Mayor Dr. Palacio. She previously served as a Press Secretary to Bill de Blasio during his first year as Public Advocate.

About Deidrea Miller
Deidrea Miller will serve as Deputy Communications Director responsible for strategic planning and messaging with a focus on housing and economic development. In her new role, she will continue to serve as the top communications adviser to Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. Miller joined the de Blasio Administration in July 2018, as a Communications Adviser for Operations. She has held roles in communications and digital marketing at National Grid, New York University, the New York Power Authority, and the NYC Department of Education. She serves on the Boards of Socrates Sculpture Park and the University of Melbourne.

About Jaclyn Rothenberg
Jaclyn Rothenberg will serve as Deputy Communications Director for the First Deputy Mayor and Rapid Response. As First Deputy Press Secretary, she oversaw the team of City Hall deputy press secretaries and coordinated communications of several of the City's busiest agencies. She joined the Mayor's Press Office in 2017 and led the communications strategy for the City's homelessness crisis, later expanding her role to include numerous other agencies as well as leading press for the Mayor's 2018 Inauguration and State of the City. Prior to joining the Administration, Jaclyn served as Regional Press Secretary for the Hillary for America Campaign in Western Pennsylvania, and as a lead on the campaign's Advance team. She was a Vice President with SKDKnickerbocker in New York, where she advised clients on communications and digital strategies. She also served as a leader in Teneo Strategy’s digital practice developing digital and social media strategies for Fortune 500 companies and worked as a member of Burson-Marsteller’s public affairs practice in New York City.

About Wiley Norvell
Wiley Norvell joined then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s staff in 2010 as Press Secretary, and has served in City Hall as Deputy Press Secretary and as Communications Advisor, where he shaped communications for many of the de Blasio administration’s signature priorities, including the launch of Pre-K for All, Vision Zero, NYC Ferry and the affordable housing plan. As Senior Communications Advisor since 2018, Norvell led planning and writing for the 2019 State of the City address. He is a graduate of the now NCAA Men’s Basketball Finalist University of Virginia and holds a Masters’ Degree from the University of Toronto.

About Pilar Grullón
Pilar Grullón will serve as the Deputy Director of Scheduling, responsible for organizing the Mayor’s day-to-day schedule. Before joining the Mayor’s Office, she worked as the Regional Director for Queens on Mayor de Blasio’s re-election campaign. She is a graduate of St. John’s University in Queens and has a BS in Toxicology.

About Alexandra Kopel
Alexandra Kopel will serve as Deputy Director for Executive Operations, responsible for operational execution of all public events. She previously served as Special Assistant to the Mayor. A proud Minnesotan, Alexandra joined the Administration after working on then-Congressman Keith Ellison’s campaign for Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

About Jonathan Viguers 
Jonathan Viguers will serve as Director of Scheduling and Executive Operations, responsible for managing the Mayor’s day-to-day operations and long-term priorities. Jonathan previously served as Brooklyn Borough Director in the Community Affairs Unit, Senior Aide to the Mayor, and Deputy Director of Scheduling and Executive Operations. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, he worked on a number of political campaigns including Bill de Blasio’s campaign for Mayor.

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