As VP of Corporate Affairs for Northstar Lottery Group, Avis LaVelle oversees external affairs activities for Northstar and on behalf of the Illinois Lottery which Northstar manages. Her staff is responsible for Media Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Employee Volunteer Engagement.
LaVelle founded her firm, A. LaVelle Consulting Services (ALCS) in 2003, and continues to provide a select number of clients with the benefit of her extensive experience in the public and private sectors with the strategies she recommends. Her company was been instrumental in market-entry efforts for international firms such as Bombardier, North America and Cintra-Macquarie, operators of the Chicago Skyway.
Under LaVelle’s leadership, ALCS helped to lead grassroots outreach campaigns that led to the reform of “payday loan store” practices and electric energy rate deregulation. ALCS also worked closely with Chicago’s charter school movement in efforts to win community support for new, smaller schools targeted to communities in need.
For ACCESS Community Health Network, Avis led communications and outreach efforts that have resulted in mobilizing more than 250,000 African-American and Hispanic women to participate in “Pin-A-Sister Sunday”-- a breast health awareness ceremony in their churches on Mother’s Day.
LaVelle’s skills were cultivated as a senior reporter in Chicago, one of the nation’s largest media markets. As Press Secretary, to Mayor Richard M. Daley, LaVelle had oversight for more than two dozen city departments, strategic and crisis communications efforts for major initiatives such as workforce privatization, the Lake Calumet Airport initiative and the Chicago Flood.
As press secretary for the Daley and Clinton/Gore Campaigns, LaVelle designed and implemented grassroots community outreach strategies to keep members of multiple ethnic and geographic constituencies informed of campaign activities through strategic use of community and foreign language print, radio and television.
As a former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs under the Clinton Administration, LaVelle supervised a staff of more than 500 communications professionals at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and directed the rollout of major national health marketing initiatives such as the Childhood Immunization Program and the FDA’s Food Nutrition Labeling initiative under Secretary Donna Shalala.
As a senior level executive of private sector entities such as Waste Management, Inc. and University of Chicago Hospitals (UCH), LaVelle had responsibility for communications, community and media relations and advocacy for such major initiatives as the marketing rollout of the Blue Bag Recycling program; health care funding advocacy, and community relations for land acquisition.
LaVelle also served seven years on the Chicago Schools Reform Board of Trustees, five as Vice President, providing strategic communications consulting to guide CPS through major policy shifts on such potentially controversial issues as busing, school closings, and the end to social promotion.
Avis holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Keller School of Management and bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Illinois, Urbana.