Steven K. Ertel, B.A.
Vice Chancellor for Communications
Steve Ertel leads Vanderbilt University’s global communications strategy to help achieve the university’s goals and enhance Vanderbilt’s reputation and influence. He is responsible for all external and internal communications, marketing and digital strategy for the university. He joined the university in February 2017.
Prior to his appointment, Ertel served as the vice president of strategic communications for World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading global conservation organization and one of the most recognized nonprofit brands globally. At WWF, Ertel led an award-winning communications team that helped deliver a number of high-impact outcomes, including efforts to help secure a global agreement to address climate change through the United Nations, the Stop Wildlife Crime Campaign to halt illegal wildlife trafficking, the Arctic Home polar bear conservation initiative in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, and Earth Hour, the world’s largest global movement to raise awareness about climate change.
In 2016, Ertel was honored as one of PRWeek’s “40 Under 40,” which highlights “innovators in creativity and influence positioned to guide the industry toward a new horizon.” Before joining WWF, he served in senior communications roles at The Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund. Ertel began his career in the private sector, where he managed public relations for technology and biotechnology companies.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in communication with a specialization in human ecology from Rutgers University and completed the university’s certificate in social strategies for environmental protection.