Wagner joins school, Ellinger starts new role

Portrait of Lisa Ellinger
Ellinger served as outreach director for three years before becoming the school’s director of strategic initiatives.

As the La Follette School continues to grow, the staff have also expanded to support a number of important school initiatives. After serving as the La Follette School’s outreach director for three years, Lisa Ellinger (MPA ’03) moved into a newly created position as the director of strategic initiatives in January. In this role, which is funded by the Kohl Initiative, Ellinger has taken a leadership role on several transformative school initiatives including a proposal to create a new undergraduate major in public policy and plans to move the school to a new building to accommodate the expanding number of faculty, staff, and students. She continues to serve as the liaison to the school’s Board of Visitors, which provides important guidance to the school.

Ellinger previously served as vice president of public policy for the Wisconsin Hospital Association, where she focused on state and federal health policy issues. From 2008 to 2018, Ellinger worked at the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds where she led the Office of Strategic Health Policy, responsible for policy development and implementation of the health, life, disability, and long-term care insurance programs for 250,000 state and local government employees. Ellinger has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from UW–Madison and currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for Access Community Health Centers.

“This is an era of transformative change for the La Follette School,” said Ellinger. “I am proud and honored to support my alma mater as we navigate this period of growth and transition.”

Portrait of Jennifer Wagner
Before becoming the school’s new outreach director, Wagner was vice president of marketing and communications at Special Olympics Wisconsin.

Jennifer Wagner joined the school as the new outreach director in June. In this role, Wagner oversees a team of outreach, legislative policy, and communications professionals. She is responsible for building and sustaining partnerships, enhancing the school’s reputation, engaging state lawmakers, and promoting its public programs and activities. She also works closely with La Follette School faculty members to develop programming that allows them to communicate their research and teaching to a broad audience.

Before joining the team at La Follette, Wagner held a variety of leadership positions throughout her career – most recently the vice president of marketing and communications at Special Olympics Wisconsin and manager of marketing communications at Meriter-UnityPoint Health. She is a trusted team-builder who is passionate about creating connections and making a positive impact, now for the La Follette School.

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