McElrath comes to the NGFA with extensive business communications experience. She served as vice-president and communications manager for Rabobank in New York City from 2007-11. Prior to that, she was senior public relations manager for Freddie Mac and public relations manager at the American Bankers Association (ABA). While with the ABA from 2003-05, she among other things developed, managed and executed strategic outreach and communications plans for its Center for Agricultural and Rural Banking, and its Center for Community Development. Most recently, she worked as director of public relations for PHH Arval, a truck fleet management consulting firm based in Sparks, Maryland, U.S.
“Heather has a great background for this position, with particularly strong communications experience in the financial sector,” said NGFA President Randy Gordon. “In her previous roles, she had a great knack for digesting complex financial subjects in easy-to-understand language, and did extensive work with the print and broadcast media. She also is experienced in social media and website development, and will be a tremendous asset as the NGFA modernizes and reinvents its communications programs, including redesigning its website and launching business-related social media platforms to increase its outreach to industry members and the public. The industry will enjoy and benefit from her energy and eagerness to engage on issues important to the grain, feed, processing and export sectors. We’re very fortunate to have her join our staff team.”
McElrath is a California native, and received an undergraduate degree in 1994 from Virginia Tech University in communications studies (with a journalism emphasis) and a minor in English. While at Virginia Tech, she was editor-in-chief of the Collegiate Times, the student newspaper. In 2005, she received a master of business administration degree in marketing from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
McElrath also worked as a public relations and marketing specialist at Virginia Tech following graduation, and as writer and editor at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in Washington. She also has newspaper editing experience, having worked for the Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle and the Citrus County (Florida) Chronicle.