Jeanne Forbis named chief of staff and executive communications officer for Virginia Bioinformatics Institute

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 18, 2008 – The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech has named Jeanne Forbis as its chief of staff and executive communications officer. Forbis will serve as a key advisor to the institute's Executive and Scientific Director Bruno Sobral and play a key role in shaping the institute’s collaborative culture in the years ahead.

A communications and managerial leader with more than 20 years experience, Forbis comes to the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute from medical device manufacturer Medtronic, where she served as vice president of global public and media relations reporting directly to the company’s chief executive officer. In this position, Forbis managed all corporate communications efforts, including media and public relations, crisis communications, financial communications, executive communications, corporate branding, issues management, state government relations, and community affairs. She has also served as general manager of corporate communications for ChevronTexaco and in senior communications roles for Conoco Inc. and Phillips Petroleum Co. Forbis also has extensive experience as a newspaper editor and reporter.

Several strategic communication initiatives created under her leadership have received public relations industry awards, including PR Week magazine’s “Campaign of the Year” and “Public Affairs Campaign of the Year” awards, and the Public Relations Society of America’s “Silver Anvil Award” for public relations campaign of the year.

“We are very pleased to welcome Jeanne Forbis to [the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute],” said Sobral. “Jeanne will play a key role in shaping [the institute’s] collaborative culture, which is at the heart of our vision of a successful, transdisciplinary research institute. As [the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute] continues to grow, we see an increasing need for the development, deployment and use of a wide range of internal communication tools. Jeanne’s proven expertise will be invaluable as we build our internal communication program and culture of team science, implement a new institute-wide intranet, and pursue collaborations with a wide range of external partners.” He added, “Jeanne will play a key role in the institute’s Strategy Team as we realize and surpass the long-term goals and objectives of the institute.”

“I am very pleased to be joining [the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute] at this exciting point in its history,” Forbis said. “I look forward to contributing to the organization as it continues its development as a leading research institute,” she added.

Forbis has a master’s degree in management from the University of Maryland’s Graduate School of Management and Technology and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Oklahoma State University. She has served as co-chair of the public affairs committee for the Advanced Medical Technology Association, as a member of the International Association of Business Communicators and on the general communications committee of the American Petroleum Institute.