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Lillian Govus Named Director of New Communications & Public Engagement Department

Buncombe County is pleased to announce Lillian Govus, APR, will oversee a new Communications and Public Engagement Department. After an extensive search, Lillian was selected from more than 126 applicants to serve in the role. “Over the last year, we have evaluated and made several observations regarding the effectiveness of our current organizational structure. Accordingly, we implemented changes to develop a new structure designed to increase accountability, create a more evenly distributed workload, and foster collaboration, says Assistant County Manager DK Wesley. “One such change includes the creation of the Communications and Public Engagement Department which consolidates county community engagement, media relations, and communications functions.”

Lillian most recently served as Director of Community Relations and Communications for Salem-Keizer Public Schools, the second largest public school district in Oregon. She comes to Buncombe with more than 15 years of experience leading communications for large educational institutions, government agencies, and legislators. “I am excited to welcome Lillian, as she brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to this important leadership position. She’ll be a vital part of creating and sharing the County’s story, enhancing transparency through effective communication, and continuing to build public trust,” says Wesley.

Lillian will oversee the newly formed Communications and Public Engagement department, with a focus on Buncombe’s 2025 strategic plan, ensuring brand consistency, and developing a culture of meaningful public engagement across the County. She will start on July 27, and will oversee a team of seven employees. A native of Western North Carolina, she is excited to return home. “My dad was a DJ for WNCW, and I basically grew up at Bele Chere. I see Buncombe County for all of its incredible offerings, but I also understand that the growth that comes with a vibrant community can sometimes have unintended consequences,” notes Lillian. “As much as I love my work in Oregon, if there’s one lesson I have learned through this pandemic is that I’m far away from where I belong. It will be a privilege to support Buncombe County, that’s where my heart is.”

Professional Bio

Lillian Govus, APR, comes to Buncombe County from Oregon, but is no stranger to Western North Carolina. She grew up in the foothills and spent her summers attending baseball camp with the Asheville Tourists. From August 2017 until present, Lillian served as the Director of Community Relations and Communications for Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS) in Oregon's capital. Prior to joining SKPS, Lillian led communications for two large urban school districts in North Carolina and Georgia, and the City of Atlanta's Department of Watershed Management. Lillian also serves as an instructor with the University of Oregon's Administrative Licensure Program for educators. Lillian is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and she began her career in the same city as a reporter with the News & Record, a mid-size daily newspaper. In her free time, Lillian enjoys riding motorcycles with her partner Karl, or hiking with their dogs, Tugboat and Porkchop.