President Wrighton Announces Leadership Appointments

Four leadership appointments will help advance the university’s mission and support students, faculty and staff.

Bruno Fernandes, Sabrina Minor, Ellen Moran and Sharon Reich Paulsen
From left to right: Bruno Fernandes, Sabrina Minor, Ellen Moran and Sharon Reich Paulsen have been appointed to leadership positions.
July 08, 2022

Continuing an effort to appoint permanent members of leadership and position the George Washington University to best support the academic mission and GW community, President Mark S. Wrighton on Friday announced the selection of four members of the leadership team.

The appointments include current GW leaders Bruno Fernandes as vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer and Sabrina Minor as vice president for Human Resource Management and Development and chief people officer—as well as external higher education leaders Ellen Moran as vice president for communications and marketing and Sharon Reich Paulsen as executive vice president and chief administration officer.

“We are fortunate to benefit from a strong leadership team and the many staff who support our community and the university’s teaching and research,” Wrighton said. “I look forward to the contributions our current and new leaders will bring to campus. This is another important step forward in our ability to achieve the university’s aspirations as we embark on our third century.”

Bruno FernandesBruno Fernandes
Fernandes has served GW since April 2021 as vice president of finance and treasurer. He is an accomplished finance executive with more than two decades of experience in financial management and treasury operations across multiple industries, and he previously held a similar role for the District government. He is a long-time resident of the DMV and received a B.S. in finance from George Mason University and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland.

“I am pleased to serve in this leadership role and grateful to continue working with the many team members who manage the university's financial resources and help us support GW's mission and community,” Fernandes said.

In his new role, which was effective earlier this month, Fernandes oversees the university’s financial and treasury operations to ensure they support GW’s mission. Areas reporting to Fernandes include medical enterprise finance, university controller, Procure to Pay, treasury management, business services, real estate, risk management and insurance, budget and financial analysis, and finance and administration for the schools and divisions.

“Fulfilling our academic mission and supporting our community’s needs requires thoughtful financial planning and resource management,” Wrighton said. “Bruno’s experience at the university and continued leadership will help us successfully steward our resources to further strengthen our mission. Bruno has already demonstrated a commitment to teamwork and collaboration that will be essential to our future progress.”

Sabrina MinorSabrina Minor
Minor brings more than 20 years of human resources experience in all areas, including performance management, workforce development, employee relations, union negotiations, talent management, organization development, classification and change management.

Minor joined GW in 2013 and was a human resources director and assistant vice president before her appointment as interim vice president and chief people officer. Previously, she served in key human resources roles in the District government, including the mayor’s office, Department of Human Resources, D.C. Public Schools and for the chief financial officer. She received a B.S. in human resources management and development from Strayer University and was born and raised in the District.

“Since I joined the university, Sabrina has been an important adviser to me and the leadership team as an advocate for our staff and faculty,” Wrighton said. “She is committed to making sure we care for our employees, recognizing their vast contributions to the success of our institution.”

In her permanent role, which was effective earlier this month, Minor oversees Human Resource Management and Development’s (HRMD) performance management, employee relations, recruitment, staffing, professional development and service-related functions; Faculty and Staff Service Center; the HR business partner model; recognition and well-being; Total Rewards, which comprises payroll, compensation and benefits; and human resource integrated operation services for the Medical Faculty Associates.

She also will be responsible for developing a long-term, data-driven strategic workforce plan to help streamline processes for GW and the MFA. One of HRMD’s focal areas is to enhance and strengthen how GW supports and values its people.

“Our people are core to everything we do at GW,” Minor said. “I am delighted to continue to lead the HRMD teams to attract new employees, retain current employees and bring together faculty and staff to fulfill our mission and goals.”

Ellen MoranEllen Moran
Moran will become GW’s vice president for communications and marketing on Aug. 20.

Currently Moran is vice chancellor for strategic communications and marketing at the University of Pittsburgh, where she leads the university’s internal and external communications, marketing, print and digital content, social media, web and video services.

“GW’s more than 200 years of teaching, research and service—and the impact its students, faculty, staff and alumni have locally, nationally and globally—make joining this community an exciting opportunity,” Moran said. “I look forward to working with the creative and dedicated teams in communications and marketing and to partnering with stakeholders across the university to share and amplify GW’s many important contributions to the world.”

Moran brings decades of experience driving public affairs, public relations, media and digital communications, content and advertising efforts to her role at GW. In addition to her work at the University of Pittsburgh and consulting firms, she served as White House communications director and subsequently as chief of staff to the U.S. secretary of commerce under President Barack Obama. Earlier, she was executive director of EMILY’s List. She has a B.A. in political science and English literature from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts.

“I was impressed by Ellen’s wide-ranging communications experience in higher education, government and industry. She is well-equipped to oversee a comprehensive communications and marketing plan that distinguishes the university, showcases our academic mission and promotes our incredible community,” Wrighton said. “Ellen’s experiences are ones that will bring benefit to us, and I am grateful that she has made the commitment to join GW. I also want to thank Stacey DiLorenzo for her service and leadership as interim vice president during my presidency.”

A committee of GW staff, faculty and members of the Board of Trustees provided recommendations in the vice president for communications and marketing search.

“The search committee considered many talented candidates for the vice president for communications and marketing role,” said Kathryn Newcomer, chair of the search committee and professor of public policy and public administration. “Ellen's deep communications and marketing experience, as well as her commitment to collaboration and supporting the academic mission, will serve the university well.”

Sharon Reich PaulsenSharon Reich Paulsen
Beginning Aug. 15, Paulsen will become the university’s executive vice president and chief administration officer (CAO). The new role was developed after Wrighton consulted faculty, deans and administrative and board leadership. As CAO, Paulsen will work closely with the provost and the chief financial officer (CFO) to ensure that the administration supports the missions of education, research and patient care of the university. 

Paulsen will report to Wrighton and be an officer of the university. She will oversee the leadership of administrative functions such as finance and treasury, financial planning and operations, human resources and safety and facilities. Paulsen and the provost will be jointly responsible for GW Information Technology to support the administrative and academic needs, respectively. Paulsen also will work with the provost and CFO to develop operating and financial plans and budgets for the entire university with the objective of supporting the academic missions of the university.

The leadership team in Safety and Facilities will report to the CAO with one significant change: the Events and Venues leadership and team will report to Aristide Collins, vice president, chief of staff and secretary of the university.

“During my presidency Aristide Collins has been a key adviser,” Wrighton said. “He coordinates the interactions of the Board of Trustees with the administration and oversees the university’s government and community relations activities. Aristide is involved with decisions we are making to strengthen the university, including playing an important role in the recruitment of new leaders. I appreciate his willingness to add the Events and Venues unit to his leadership responsibilities.”

As vice president for legal affairs and general counsel and senior adviser to the president at the University of Vermont, Paulsen currently oversees legal affairs, provides guidance and advice to senior university leadership and to a variety of academic and administrative units and assists the board of trustees.

“I am deeply honored and excited to join the George Washington University team,” said Paulsen. “I look forward to working collaboratively with President Wrighton, Provost Bracey, faculty, staff and university leadership to help ensure that the university can broaden even further its global impact and reputation as it embarks on its third century of educating tomorrow’s leaders and engaging in research, scholarship and service that betters our world.”

Paulsen has decades of legal, financial and management experience, including in government, industry and higher education. She taught and served as associate dean at the University of Minnesota Law School before holding senior leadership positions at both the University of Minnesota and University of Vermont. She received a B.A. in economics from Yale University and J.D. from Stanford Law School.

“The chief administration officer role will align the university’s academic mission and the many administrative functions necessary to achieve excellence as a world-class research institution,” Wrighton said. “Sharon’s collaborative leadership approach and experience in higher education will position us for even greater success as a top university. I am very pleased that we are able to recruit such an accomplished leader in higher education to take on this critical role for GW.”

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