New UNCG Communications Leader talks background, goals


Zachary Weaver
 Staff Writer

Jeff Shafer will take over as UNCG’s communications leader in Monday, November 28, bringing with him experience from Lenovo, North Carolina Central University, and UNC Chapel Hill.

“UNC Greensboro has a tremendous story to tell; incredible students, a world-class faculty, innovative programs and a bold vision for the future,” UNCG Chancellor Franklin Gilliam stated, as quoted in a UNCG News & Features article. “We are excited to have Jeff join our team and bring a new perspective, energy and focus to this critical role. Our university has a strong foundation, real momentum and the opportunity to take giant steps forward in the coming years. Jeff and our communications team will play a key role in helping us reach new heights.”

Shafer began to transition into academic culture during his time with Lenovo by guest-teaching at NC Central University and UNC Chapel Hill.

“Over the past few years, I’ve realized that my dream job is… coming to college campus every day,” Shafer said, “and making that part of my life. It’s a great mission, and fulfilling in a lot of different ways”

Joining Lenovo in 2007 as Vice President of Global Communications, Shafer helped the company reach number 202 on the Fortune Global 500 and its number one spot in the PC industry. He also has served on UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism Board of Advisers and as Wells Fargo Endowed Chair in Communication at NC Central University.

Shafer has also served in communications positions with CompuServe, Sprint, and Ericsson. Shafer began guest-teaching at UNC Chapel Hill and NC Central

At Lenovo Shafer was responsible for ‘all worldwide communications, but not all communications worldwide.’  These included communications regarding financial, acquisition, product launch, and sponsorship matters, making up a large part of Lenovo’s external communications. Shafer described his duties as ‘set tone, establish message, and maintain reputation.’

Shafer has long desired to enter higher education, and learned about the opportunity through UNCG Chancellor Franklin Gilliam.

“The next thing for me wasn’t same job, different company,” Shafer said.

Shafer said that his goals had changed, and that while he respected what Lenovo does, it was not how he wanted to spend his time.

“I’ve got a second wave of a career to build, and UNCG is giving me a chance to do that,” Shafer said.

Shafer described UNCG and its campus as ‘beautiful and interesting,’ stating that the faculty and students were a colorful and diverse group.

“It’s an opportunity to do innovative things… to build something,” Shafer said.

Shafer also stated that his corporate background in Lenovo’s global communications afforded him skills that would be useful in academia, citing his experiences with world cultures and their differences equipped him to interact with UNCG’s diverse student base.

Shafer said that he looked forward to beginning at the end of November, and relished the opportunity to tell UNCG’s stories.

“I want to become a part of the family, the institution, and tell their story,” Shafer said in conclusion. “I can’t wait to get started!”

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