By Morgan Cartier Weston | Illustration by Jillian Ohl
A Greensboro native, Tanya Moore graduated from UNC with her bachelor’s in journalism and mass communication in 2001. She has worked in the University Communications (formerly University Relations) office ever since. In April 2019, she was appointed to the role of associate vice chancellor for campus and community communications; she also serves on the board of the Chapel Hill & Orange County Visitors Bureau. Tanya lives in Durham with her husband, Trae Moore, and is the ladies’ golf club champion at Hope Valley Country Club.
Tanya Moore’s first job after graduating from UNC was coordinating logistics for the Tar Heel Bus Tour. “Back then, the tour was a five-day trip across the state to introduce new faculty to all things North Carolina – from our people, politics and economics to how the university serves the state through research and public service,” she says. Nearly 20 years later, she oversaw another avenue for the public to connect to UNC.
In March 2020, the new UNC Visitors Center featuring interactive exhibits opened on East Franklin Street. “[It is] a beautiful, modern facility in the heart of downtown to welcome visitors and give them a space to relax and chat with our talented staff and students,” Tanya says. “We want people to leave understanding what exactly defines us: academic excellence, groundbreaking research and commitment to public service.”
In the University Communications office, Tanya oversees campus and internal communications, executive communications and community relations. Her team is composed of storytellers. They write speeches, draft announcements, handle issues, assist visitors, lead campus tours and engage with the Town of Chapel Hill. “No two days are alike,” Tanya says, “and managing a wide variety of areas is part of what I love about my job. As a trusted advisor, I also provide communications counsel to the vice chancellor, other senior administrators and colleagues across campus.”
These duties, and the encouragement and trust instilled in her along the way, drive her to excel. “One of the things that I enjoy most about working at Carolina is that, regardless of my role, I’ve been given the opportunity to take on challenges and then was mentored along the way,” she says. “Looking back, I realize how much responsibility I was given as a junior staffer, and I’m grateful for it every day. Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of working for talented leaders who’ve coached me, trusted me and allowed me the opportunity to learn and grow.”
This support has helped Tanya face the challenges that have come her way. “Getting through the difficult days takes patience, perseverance and the ability to keep everything in perspective,” Tanya says. “Now, as we respond to COVID-19 and realize the impact locally and on campus, I appreciate how our communications team and others have come together to respond to this emergency.”
Since her appointment to this current role, Tanya and her team have also placed a renewed emphasis on serving the larger community. “Certainly, the Visitors Center is top of mind, but we’ve made additional investments in downtown, including the 1789 Venture Lab, Launch Chapel Hill and other innovation spaces,” Tanya says.
Tanya is proud of the connection that continues to strengthen between town and gown. “Our partnership with the towns to provide fare-free bus service is a hallmark,” she says. “How we work together to manage major events and celebrations like Final Fours, Halloween and football Saturdays is truly a collaborative effort.”
She notes the evolution of technology as a key component to reinforcing that shared sense of identity. “Social media has transformed how we communicate with our neighbors and friends and enables us to keep them informed and engaged in real time,” she says. “We’re still diligent about sending emails, but for those who want to stay up to the minute, we’ve got them covered, too.”
“Tanya is one of the smartest and hardest-working colleagues I have ever known,” says Vice Chancellor of Communications Joel Curran. “Her love for Carolina is only surpassed by her deep and highly nuanced understanding of what makes this university so special and unique, and how to best share our stories with the state, the nation and the world.”
While UNC’s legacy is a critical part of its story, Tanya and her team are excited to focus on the future. “Moving forward, we’re innovating in everything we do – from how we teach and meet the needs of today’s students to how we modernize the operational side of the enterprise to how we respond to unprecedented challenges like COVID-19. Advancing change at a 226-year-old institution isn’t easy, but it’s essential if we are to remain a leading global public research university.”
Although she’s no longer a student, Tanya still feels right at home on campus. “I love walking along the brick paths, especially as flowers start to bloom in the spring,” she says. “Our students, faculty and staff – and their energy and passion – remind me why I do what I do.”
Read more about this year’s Women of Achievement honorees here.