The face of TCU

The face of TCU

On her last day as TCU’s director of strategic communications, Lisa Albert’s office looked just as you would expect someone’s office to look—clean, and for the most part, barren.

White walls, clean desk and organized the way you envision everything to look when you see furniture at IKEA. 

But within those four walls at the southwest corner of Sadler Hall’s fourth floor are memories beyond comparison to many who have had the opportunity to attend TCU or been employed by the university. 

Lisa Albert’s nine-year stint at TCU is only one more impressive attribute of her long résumé with TCU.

She grew up in Dallas, Texas but moved to New Orleans, Louisiana when she began middle school. Her desire was always to come back to the area, so she came to TCU.

She was an undergraduate at the university from 1998 to 2001.

Three of those years were spent on the sidelines as a member of TCU Cheer squad. That’s also where she met her husband.

But like most seniors, realizing how soon college life would be over and how soon real life would start, she felt a strong urge to pursue professional hobbies. 

“I just cheered three years [in college] and I didn’t my senior year because I was trying to focus on my career. I was president of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and I had my internship [at Stuart Bacon Ad Agency] and I was just focused on the next steps for myself.”

She graduated in the spring of 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism’s public relations and ad sequence. She was offered a full time position with Stuart Bacon and she continued there until she was laid off due to company budget cuts.

She worked for the YMCA of Fort Worth shortly, but in 2003 started a business with her husband.

“Cheerleading never really left my life,” Albert said. “My husband and I were both cheerleaders here and we’ve taught cheerleading forever—that’s how I made money through college. We had enough people who were interested in us continuing to teach and they said ‘If you could start your own place, we’ll follow you,’ so we took a leap of faith and started our own cheerleading business.”

But her endeavor was short-lived.

“Cheerleading is actually a tougher sport than a lot of people think about,” Albert said. “Although you can’t cheer forever and my body is falling apart on me. We closed down in 2006, so we could come back to work.”

In late 2005, a position in TCU’s Marketing and Communication department opened. Using her undergraduate connections and recommendations from professors, Albert took a job as communication specialist. 

“It was recommended to me by a couple people in the department that I knew who had been professors of mine and when they saw the position open up they came to me and said ‘Lisa, you’re great for it, you should go apply’ and I did and it worked out nicely.”

She and her husband still had a few months on their business lease, but Albert already began working her way up the ranks in the department. She was promoted to assistant director and finally became director of strategic communications in 2009—a position she has held for the last five years. 

TCU students, staff and faculty are very familiar with Albert—at least in name—whether through campus-wide emails, or even official statements of the university on television.

But what exactly does she do?

“It’s a lot of things,” she said. “I’m the University spokesperson, so when the media calls and they’re looking for comment or have questions it’s my job to find them the information or get them the information. If we need to deliver an official university statement, that’ll come from me. That also encompasses some crisis communication—we’ve had some of that on campus—managing our way through the crisis and communicating that through both the media and also with our internal and external constituents.”

The TCU community has heard from Albert concerning a variety of things on campus. But she was instrumental in handling the media frenzy in February last year following the death of then TCU senior Stewart Trese.

“That’s one that stand out in my mind for sure,” she said. “Shaping how people perceive what’s going on, view it and then understanding what TCU is really all about, it really just gives us a platform to talk about the fantastic things we’ve got going on in the midst of something not so great happening.”

But now Albert moves on to yet another professional opportunity.

She’s taken a job with Justin Brands, Inc.,the Fort Worth based boot company, as their Senior Communications Manager. Justin Boots Inc. owns five brands: Justin Boots, Justin Work Boots, Nocona Boots, Tony Lama Boots and Chippewa Boots. She’ll be in charge of media relations, public relations functions, community relations and social media oversight.

But Albert believes her new job won’t be that much different than what she’s done in her time at TCU.

“It probably won’t be drastically different because everyone’s trying to push positive information out and engage with their customer base—whatever that looks like—and keeping them in engaged in relating to your company,” she said. “But I think that the type of questions are going to vary drastically.”

Some of those questions can be tough, though. Albert mentioned how tuition increases and student deaths tend to trigger emotional reactions, which she said makes it hard for crisis control.

But she’s learned some valuable lessons from her time as a cheerleader and other hobbies. 

“I also like to dance—Hip-Hop, Salsa and Country—kind of an eclectic mix but I love to dance. Any time music is on I’m dancing. Another thing people probably don’t know is that I’m actually into Martial Arts.”

She started participating in Martial Arts when a gym opened up next to her cheerleading business. 

“They came over at one point and said ‘Would you mind teaching us how to tumble a little bit and we’ll teach you self-defense?’ And I was like ‘OK, cool that sounds good, who couldn’t use some self-defense?”

As time went on she fell in love with the sport. She earned her second-degree black belt and has since moved on to participate in Jiu Jitsu—another form of self-defense training.

“One thing I’ve learned from cheer and from Martial Arts is keeping cool under pressure,” she said. “Something goes wrong you still have to smile and keep it together, or somebody falls out of a stunt you’ve got to keep it together. Same thing in Martial Arts. Manage it to the best of my ability and then sometimes you do have to go down before it goes up when it’s all done.”

That’s something she’s going to have to take into the next step in her at Justin. But she won’t leave TCU behind just yet.

“I love this place. I bleed purple pretty deeply,” she said. “Justin and TCU have had a good partnership over the years and I imagine that’ll kind of continue and I’m imagining that my connections here will provide some more roads and introductions to the right people. I see the two working together in the future and I hope I can be that key component to connect the dots.”