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Miss America Names New Director

With a new Board of Directors in place, the Miss America Organization is already taking strides towards building its brand back up after the email scandal. The Board took the first step on Monday by naming its new Executive Director, Karen Nocella. (Read: What You NEED to Know About the Miss America Email Scandal)

Updated at 5:15 p.m. to include two new members added to the Board of Directors, Jessie Bennett and Ashley Byrd.

So… who’s Karen Nocella?

Glad you asked! Karen Nocella started with the Miss America Organization in 2008 as a tour director for Miss America as she traveled with the reigning Miss America for all her appearances. She then transitioned to a new role, the inaugural executive director of promotions and licensing for Miss America. During her time in this new role, she grew Miss America’s brand through appearance opportunities for the national titleholder and increased the Miss America Organization’s profits from appearances by 41 percent.

During her time with Miss America, she has also dabbled in social media campaigns in an effort to increase engagement and social media presence for the brand. She’s responsible for the #HealthyChildrenStrongAmerica, #VowToEndIt and #CirclesOfUnity social media campaigns. She has worked with the promotional office staff and directly with many former Miss Americas. (Read: What Should You Post on Social Media as a Titleholder?)

Karen Nocella (right) with Miss America 2013, Mallory Hagan and her mom while on tour. Photo: Albert Cesare/Opelika-Auburn News
Karen Nocella (right) with Miss America 2013, Mallory Hagan, and her mom while on tour. Photo: Albert Cesare/Opelika-Auburn News

Miss America is looking for heroes to step up to the plate right now and they found one. Nocella was even featured in “Super Woman,” a New Jersey magazine, and helped to publish the Phillies Magazine and The Fan Magazine before her work with the Miss America Organization.

Okay, why did Miss America pick her?

Her resumé speaks for itself! Nocella has proved over the years that she can market the Miss America brand both in person and online. She has an extensive background in marketing, brand management and event planning for small and large companies.

Photo: LinkedIn
Photo: LinkedIn

Her previous work as a tour manager shows that she is definitely detail-oriented and has every thing under control. Nocella may be just who the brand needs while it tries to redefine itself and stay relevant in these times.  She will be overseeing all the day-to-day operations in the Miss America offices in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

So, did the Board do anything else?

Yup! The Board of Directors also unanimously elected two member board members: Jessie Bennett and Ashley Byrd. Bennett is the former Executive Director of the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Organization and Byrd is the former Executive Director of the Miss South Carolina Scholarship Organization. Both members willingly resigned their positions as Executive Directors of their respective states in order to avoid conflicts of interest.

Bennett was Miss Arkansas 2001 and transformed the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Organization over her tenure as Executive Director for the last eight years. In 2017 alone, Bennett helped the Miss Arkansas Organization hand out close to $180,000 in scholarships to contestants. Byrd served in the Miss South Carolina Organization for 17 years between his role as a Field Director for the Miss Hartsville Scholarship Organization. At his local pageant alone, he was able to award $34,000 in scholarships among 21 contestants.

While we’ll wait to see how these ladies do in their new roles, one thing is for sure. This appointment is just the first in a long series of changes coming to the Miss America Organization while it tries to find its footing again. (Read: Miss America Board Releases New Changes to State Directors)

What do you think of this new appointment? Let us know below!

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