VP of communications leaves Yale for venture capital firm


Three years after assuming the role of vice president of communications, Nate Nickerson now plans to leave Sept. 23 to become a communications and public affairs partner at Palo Alto-based venture capital firm DCVC.

Staff reporter

Yale News

Vice President of Communications Nate Nickerson will step down at the end of September to join a venture capital firm, university president Peter Salovey announced Thursday.

Nickerson assumed Yale’s senior communications role in March 2019. He heads the Office of Public Affairs and Communications, or OPAC, and arrived after Eileen O’Connor’s departure raised questions for Yale administrators. He will then be a communications and public affairs partner for the Palo Alto-based venture capital firm DCVC.

“I was extremely happy at Yale, and it took an extraordinarily compelling opportunity to even make me consider leaving that place,” Nickerson said in an interview. “But the chance to be part of a company that supports companies that use advanced technologies in areas such as climate change and human health really interests me.”

Nickerson previously served as vice president of communications at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and held editorial positions at Fast Company and Technology Review. At Yale, he oversaw a restructuring of Yale’s communications department.

“Nate came to Yale with a clear vision of how best to use communications to support the pursuit of Yale’s mission,” Salovey wrote in a statement. “He restructured the OPAC to foster a greater focus on Yale teaching and research, engage deeply and systematically with the media on the work of all schools and departments, and foster a collaborative approach to strategy. university digital.

The restructuring involved separating OPAC staff into media relations officers and editorial positions to publicize the University’s work. It also involved creating new roles, including Director of Academic Media Relations. Nickerson also asked media relations officers to develop expertise in specific areas of the University’s work.

In January 2020, Nickerson also launched Yale Today, a daily email with Yale-related news. Working on the editorial side to promote Yale’s accomplishments — particularly related to STEM — has helped prepare him for his new role at DCVC, which focuses on health and climate change, he said.

Nickerson led the transfer of internal human resources communications to OPAC and helped support the Yale Visitor Center, which reports to OPAC, as he conducted tours for the premier admissions office. cycle due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Nickerson focused on moving internal communications over the summer. Staff can expect new ways to meet in person and virtually in the fall, he said.

While at Yale, Nickerson also led the “Healthy Yale” campaign to help spread public health information about the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as communications for Yale’s For Humanity fundraising campaign, a fundraising campaign. fundraiser that each president launches during his term of office.

“Nate thinks clearly in times of crisis and thinks boldly in times of opportunity,” university provost Scott Strobel said in a statement. “He has been a key strategic partner in implementing our academic priorities and creating the communication plans to advance public health during the pandemic.”

Nickerson said he enjoyed his years at Yale, but the work could be “heavy” at times.

“It’s a tough role to learn because there’s a lot to do and research universities are complicated places,” Nickerson said. “They’re complicated in the way influence and power work, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty joyful work.”

The Office of Public Affairs and Communications is located at 2 Whitney Avenue.


Sarah Cook covers President Salovey’s cabinet and works in the social media team. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, she is a freshman at Grace Hopper majoring in neuroscience.


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