Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook has named Danielle McCourt director of University Communications and Marketing on the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus. McCourt previously served as assistant director and associate director. She stepped into her new role this summer.
“Danielle has done a wonderful job leading the communications and marketing team. I know she will continue to do so in this new role,” Holbrook said. “She is passionate about our mission and the role we play in the community, and she brings with her valuable experience in marketing, strategic planning, business operations and project management."
As director, McCourt will play a key role in telling the Sarasota-Manatee campus story, shaping communications strategies, overseeing university marketing and branding efforts and collaborating with others on the senior leadership team. She will be deeply involved in the crafting of the communications strategy for the upcoming campus expansion projects, including the new on-campus housing and student center complex and the Nursing/STEM building.
“It’s an exciting time to be part of the Sarasota-Manatee campus,” McCourt said. “We are on a trajectory of growth that will provide even more opportunities to our students, faculty and staff and our community.”
McCourt brings a unique skillset to her role. Like the Sarasota-Manatee campus, her own story is one of transformation and perseverance.
After graduating high school, McCourt pursued an associate degree at St. Petersburg College while working full time at Achieva Credit Union, where she rose through the ranks, from teller to accountant to marketing specialist, and was invited by senior leadership to participate in their management training program. Upon completing her associate degree, McCourt transferred to USF’s St. Petersburg campus, where she majored in accounting for a year before switching to marketing.
As a first-generation college student, McCourt credits scholarships, tuition reimbursement programs and her maternal grandmother’s unwavering support for getting her to where she is today.
“Growing up, we had very little,” she said. “I started babysitting at 12 and got my first job at 15. I just wanted to make enough money so I didn’t have to live like that. Initially, that was the core of my ambition. And then, as I started to get into working and going to school, I just wanted to keep learning. My goals switched. It became less about me and more about what I could do to help others. I came to a point where I really had this calling to be more of service and help people directly.”
McCourt, a certified yoga and meditation instructor, went on to design and launch a health and wellness business, delivering custom programs, workshops and courses all with the goal of improving client wellbeing. As an independent consultant, she also provided multimedia support for a range of marketing campaigns. In 2020, she joined the Sarasota-Manatee campus as an assistant director of communications and marketing.
“I chose USF because of my personal commitment to helping others,” she said. “My experiences through college, working in different business units, operating my own business and coaching others, led me here.”
Her new role will create more opportunities for her to help others.
“USF is making a difference,” she said. “Whether that's through scholarship, education, career development, research… we are changing lives. And I’m excited to work with a talented team to tell those stories and implement campaigns to support those initiatives and propel USF forward.”
This fall, McCourt embarked on a new academic journey by enrolling in the Professional Weekend MBA program on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. She says the flexibility of the hybrid program will help her be successful both professionally and academically.
“In yoga, there’s this idea of the ‘beginner’s mind,’” McCourt said. “Don’t assume. Take the time to step back and really look at the situation or experience or event. Having that beginner’s mind has really helped me tackle difficult situations, remove the judgement, remove the assumptions and ask, ‘What can I learn right now?’”
“I have a lot going on,” McCourt said. “But I have a great team at USF and at home and am excited for what’s to come.”