Meet Our Staff

  • Shailagh Murray was appointed Executive Vice President for Public Affairs in September 2018. She oversees the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and the Office of Government and Community Affairs. She spent nearly six years shaping communications strategy inside the Obama White House, most recently serving as Senior Advisor to President Obama from 2015 to 2017. Previously, she was Vice President Biden’s deputy chief of staff and communications director. Prior to that, she worked as a journalist for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. She has a BA in humanities from University of Missouri-Columbia and a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University.

  • Shaba Keys is Associate Vice President for Government & Community Affairs. Prior to joining GCA, Shaba was a consultant to nonprofits on strategic planning and organizational development. She previously worked at LISC leading strategic assessments of program expansions and at The Surdna Foundation where she evaluated industry practices for integrative approaches for community development programs. Shaba holds a B.A. from Tufts University and a J.D. from Catholic University, The Columbus School of Law.

  • Phoebe-Sade Arnold is Director of Community Affairs at Columbia University. A multi-faceted role, Phoebe’s focus is to create mutually beneficial engagement between Columbia and the Harlem community. Phoebe-Sade received her B.A. in Political Science from SUNY Old Westbury, and her Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Nathan serves as Assistant Vice President for Government Relations in the Office of Government and Community Affairs. In this role he focuses on federal and state policy, advocating on a variety of priorities for the university including federal support for scientific research and student financial aid. Prior to his work at Columbia Nathan served as a political analyst at the Japanese Consulate in New York. Nathan received his BA and MA from the University of Chicago.

  • Loftin Flowers is the Associate Vice President for Government Relations and leads the University’s engagement and advocacy efforts with federal, state and city government. Loftin holds a B.A. in History from Haverford College and an M.P.A. from Columbia University. Prior to his role at Columbia, Loftin worked in Washington, DC at the national offices of the Children's Defense Fund, the Democratic National Committee, and John Kerry’s 2004 campaign for President.

  • Junior works on community engagement programs related to the Columbia community and the surrounding community, and on human resources strategies and the implementation of human resources best practices in talent acquisition, professional development, onboarding, and orientation. As the Human Resources Administrator, he leverages employee analytics and HR expertise and experience to provide consultation and guidance regarding HR policies, best practices, and strategies for managing HR issues. Additionally, Junior manages the annual performance appraisal process; troubleshoots, researches and reports on performance issues, and implement strategies for their resolution; and creates onboarding plans for new hires and educate them on HR policies, internal procedures and regulations.

    In his role as Director of Community Outreach, he brings more than fifteen years of experience to manage campus community outreach initiatives such as University-wide blood/bone marrow drives, skin cancer screening, volunteer lunchtime reading program, in conjunction with organizations that run these operations. Working closely with the Vice President of Operations, and the Director of Budget and Administration, Junior Coordinates accounts payable procedures, including review / approval of travel and business reports; manages the update / maintenance of suppliers in the Accounts Payable system; and GCA’s fiscal support for community-based organizations. He also serve as liaison between GCA and external Consultants, relating to compliance management and procurement management, invoicing and check remittance.

    Junior holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Baruch College (’01), and graduate degrees in HRM / Public Administration from John Jay College (’04) and Organizational Learning & Leadership from Columbia University (’12). Junior holds a Certificate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: DEI Strategies for Business Impact from University of Cambridge Judge Business School; is a SHRM Certified Professional, with a specialty in Inclusive Workplace Culture; a Chartered Professional in Human Resources – International (CPHR); and is a duly sworn and commissioned Notary Public Officer of the State of New York. Additionally, he is a member of the Auxiliary Police Department of the NYPD; an active volunteer with New York Cares in the area of adult literacy; and iMentor, an organization dedicated to fostering relationships with first-generation students so they graduate high school and succeed in college.

  • Joan Griffith Lee has been with Columbia University for close to 30 years. She completed her BA at the School of General Studies, MPA at the School of International and Public Affairs and a Masters in Non-Profit Management at the School of Professional Studies. As Director of Columbia Community Service (CCS), she works to expand the scope of the CCS Annual Appeal, which solicits employees and retirees of Columbia University, Barnard College and Teachers College for contributions. The on-campus campaign raises money to help fund over 60 local community organizations with grants allocated for specific projects. The campaign also includes a food, clothing and back to school drive.

  • As Director, Education and Workforce, Henry is responsible for oversight of the efforts made by GCA to engage local youth and young adults in education and workforce-related programming. Among these efforts is the Connecting Youth Initiative which provides outreach and supportive services to local youth and young adults who have yet to graduate high school and are not working, as well as high school graduates looking to enter the workforce. Additionally, Henry manages a workforce development grant administered by GCA that supports efforts to provide workforce training to local youth and young adults. This grant has been used to fund the work of the Youth Justice Network -- a community-based criminal justice organzation -- as well as the Entrepreneurial Design Thinking program and the User Research Lab Fellowship, two community-facing initiatives facilitated by a consortium of university partners. Henry is a New York State licensed Social Worker with nearly a decade's worth of experience related to education and youth development. He holds a MSW in Social Work and a BA in Sociology from Stony Brook University and a MA in Journalism from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.


  • As the Administrative Coordinator for GCA, Erica acts as a liaison between departments, outside vendors and staff members. She provides staffers with support in organizing their schedules, assisting with projects, and aiding the department in purchasing supplies, working with facilities management, and securing maintenance for equipment.

  • Audrey Litvak serves as the Assistant Director of Government Affairs working closely with the University on federal, state, and local issues. She received her M.P.A. at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs and her B.A. from UC Santa Cruz. Prior to this role, Audrey worked on Shaun Donovan's mayoral campaign as well as for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.

  • A member of the GCA staff for over ten years, Annette Ralph is the primary contact for the coordination of select GCA meetings and special events often serving as a GCA liaison to University Events Management, catering and other related departments. Annette is a go-to for assistance with many GCA community outreach initiatives along with providing oversight for the communications and queries (both internal and external) received by GCA.

  • As Director of Government Affairs, Alexis works closely across the University on key state, local, and neighborhood priorities.  Alexis has a breadth of experience in and around the local, state, and federal government.  Most recently, she worked for the Bronx Borough President, and prior to that served for several years as the Bronx Borough Director for Mayor de Blasio’s Community Affairs Unit.  Her additional experience includes roles with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the Office of the Governor, and Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign.