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Noelia Rodriguez

Noelia Rodriguez '86
John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, Institute of Politics
Harvard Kennedy School of Government


The recipient of the Distinguished Alumna Award from the College of Business and Economics is Noelia Rodriguez. Noelia earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University, Los Angeles in 1986; and completed studies towards a Master of Arts degree in Communications at the University of La Verne.

Noelia is an accomplished executive with extensive experience in strategic and crisis communications, media and public relations, public affairs, and management in the private and public sectors including measurable success in the world’s most visible arena, The White House.

Noelia is the Director of the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics in the Kennedy School of Government. The Forum is Harvard’s premier venue for political speech and debate and regularly features major addresses by world leaders, heads of state and elected officials. Immediately prior to Harvard, Rodriguez was Director of Communications for the City of Irvine, and Vice President of Corporate Communications for Univision Communications, Inc.

In January 2001, Noelia was recruited by Laura Bush to be her Press Secretary and Director of Communications at The White House, a post she held for the first 1,000 days of President George W. Bush’s Administration. Ultimately, Noelia was Mrs. Bush’s longest serving White House press secretary. As the first lady’s senior communications advisor, Noelia traveled around the world with the President and Mrs. Bush, spanning 30 countries and 5 continents.

In February of 2000, Noelia was named President and CEO of LA Convention 2000, the host committee for the first Democratic National Convention of the 21st Century.

Noelia served as Deputy Mayor in the administration of Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan. Her first mayoral appointment was as his Press Secretary in March of 1994. As Riordan’s communications executive, she oversaw media events on such topics as Los Angeles’ recovery from the 1994 Northridge earthquake; Federal Crime Bill and public safety initiatives; the 1999 Charter Reform Campaign; Riordan’s annual State of the City addresses; six of the Mayor’s fiscal year budget proposals and the reopening of the landmark restaurant, The Pantry.

Prior to public service, Rodriguez worked at Southern California Edison. Noelia was responsible for the utility’s corporate advertising campaigns and managed a multi-million-dollar general market and Spanish ad budget. She initiated, developed and managed the utility’s first-ever Spanish advertising campaign. For her accomplishments and community service, Noelia was named one of Edison’s top ten women leaders.

She has appeared on numerous television news shows, including ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, KNBC’s News Conference, CNN with Paula Zahn, The Early Show, just to name a few. Noelia has been profiled on KABC’s Vista LA, Univision LA and Fox 11 News, and The Learning Channel’s A Slice of Life, as well as in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, La Opinion, Los Angeles Business Journal, Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles’ Downtown News, National Journal, Latino Leaders, Vanidades, Glamour, Christina, Ladies Home Journal, and Latina.

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