Meet Whitney

Mesa Marketing’s founder, Whitney Slightham Cripe, has custom-developed WordPress websites and led strategic communications initiatives for 13 years. Her digital marketing and public relations campaigns have earned 11 national and international recognitions. She has a proven track record of driving revenue and elevating technical stories in prime media markets, including earned international media coverage in the BBC, CBC, Washington Post, and NPR.

Whitney most recently served as the communications director for Virginia Tech’s Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, where she supervised a team, and supported the institute’s 37 principal investigators and 400 employees with internal and external communications projects. She directed international media relations campaigns that reached more than 600 million people worldwide in 2021 – while doubling science story output as the team’s primary content producer and editor. During her tenure at Virginia Tech, she also managed the university’s strategic communications partnerships with Johnson & Johnson and Children’s National Hospital. As the primary social media manager for the research institute, Whitney created more than 1,700 social media posts over three years and boosted audience engagement and community size by 500%. She also redesigned and led the launch of the institute’s website, porting over 1,000 pages of content into a new platform along with her team. Within six months, unique user website traffic grew by 20%.

Before joining Virginia Tech, Whitney led city-wide communications campaigns, issues management, crisis communications, and community engagement for the City of Roanoke, Virginia, where she reported directly to the City Manager. She grew and managed a digital community size of 220,000 followers, and shot and edited viral video content that reached 3 million viewers worldwide in 2018. She also led a major website redevelopment project that resulted in a 30% uptick in City program registrations, 100 leads generated per month, and a 2017 Gold Public Relations Society of America Award. Whitney also initiated the City’s Welcoming Roanoke program to engage immigrants and refugees, and successfully applied for New American Economy’s Gateways for Growth grant funding on behalf of the City.

She previously worked at the award-winning digital marketing agency, 434 Marketing, as the agency’s Marketing Director. In this capacity, she managed hundreds of content marketing and web development projects. Of note, she led the content strategy and project management for a City of Lynchburg website. Her marketing strategy won an International Economic Development Council award, elevated site traffic by 397%, increased lead conversions by 476%, and resulted in 376 new leads in just three months post-launch.

While completing graduate school, Whitney started a consulting business in Toronto, where she developed strategic communications and investor relations tactics for publicly traded, non-profit, and private clients spanning original equipment engineering, mineral exploration, and biotech industries. Whitney holds an honors bachelor’s degree in English from Western University in London and a one-year postgraduate certificate in Public Relations from Humber College in Toronto.

She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her husband, son, and husky. When she’s not working, Whitney loves mountain biking, hiking, scuba diving, climbing, reading, painting, or enjoying a hoppy IPA at a local brewery.

Whitney Slightham Cripe
Founder, Mesa Marketing

Public Relations Graduate Certificate
Humber College (Toronto, ON)
2012 – 2013

B.A., Honors English
Western University (London, ON)
2008 – 2012

Other Training:

Neurobiology Research Mentorship (2019)
Molecular Biology Course (2019)
Laboratory Safety Training (2019)
VDEM Crisis Training for PIOs (2018)
Public Deliberation Training (2018)
Leadership College (2017)
500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training (2016)
Inbound Marketing, HubSpot (2014)

Communications Director, Virginia Tech (2021 – 2022)
Part-Time Writer / Strategy Consultant, 434 Marketing (2020 – 2022)
Assistant Communications Director, Virginia Tech (2019 – 2021)
Citizen Engagement Officer, City of Roanoke, VA (2017 – 2019)
Marketing Coordinator, City of Roanoke, VA (2016 – 2017)
Marketing Director, 434 Marketing (2014 – 2016)
Strategic Communications Advisor, Slightham Communications (2012 – 2015)
Recruitment Officer, Western University (2012)
Research Assistant, Western University (2009 – 2012)
Editor-in-Chief, Western University Grapevine (2010 – 2012)

Board Member (2018 – 2021)
Apple Ridge Farm

Communications Chair (2019 – 2020)
PRSA Blue Ridge Chapter

Laboratory Volunteer (2019)
Fox Lab, Fralin Biomedical

Community Volunteer (2017 – Present)
Virginia Tech

On Call Victim Advocate (2015 – 2016)
Lynchburg YWCA & Centra Hospital

Yoga Teacher (2015 – 2018)
City of Roanoke, City of Lynchburg

On Call Crisis Responder (2015 – 2016)
Lynchburg YWCA & Centra Hospital

PR Event Volunteer (2013)
CIBC Wood Gundy, Toronto ON

PR Director (2013 – 2014)
Markham, ON Jazz Festival

Communications Advisor (2014)
Kinark Child and Family Services

Radio Host, “Tech in Ten” (2011 – 2012)
CHRW Radio, Western University

Arts Reporter (2011 – 2012)
Western University Daily Gazette

New American Economy Gateways for Growth Challenge Grant (2019)
Public Relations Society of America Gold – Best PR Campaign (2018)
Public Relations Society of America Gold – Best Website (2017)
Public Relations Society of America Silver – Best PR Campaign (2017)
VRPS Best Traditional Promotional Effort (2016)
Lynchburg Community Impact Award (2016)
STAR Top Performing Employee – City of Roanoke Awards (2016 – 2019)
International Economic Development Council Award (2015)

Graduate- and undergraduate-level lectures in communications presented at Virginia Tech, Lynchburg College, Randolph College, and Kutztown University

Science Communications Course – Virginia Tech, Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (2021)

Regular Media Training and Science Communications Lectures for Graduate Student Researchers – Virginia Tech (2019 – 2021)

North Carolina Triangle J Council of Governments Lecture – “Community Engagement” (2019)

Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education Conference – “Applying Inbound Marketing to the Outdoors” (2017)

International Economic Development Council Conference – “Marketing Best Practices” Presentation + Panel Discussion (2015)

Central Virginia Small Business Development Center Lecture – “Understanding Your Buyers” (2015)

434 Marketing Lunch & Learn Lectures – “Buyer Persona Research” (2015)