Carnegie Mellon University


Marketing is responsible for leading the university's central strategic marketing planning and implementation to enhance and deepen the global awareness and reputation of Carnegie Mellon University. Marketing oversees marketing planning, ideation, tactical execution and measurement of university priorities. The team drives cross-university marketing efforts in partnership with all schools, colleges and units. In collaboration with the division's Creative and Communications teams, Marketing is focused on university branding, strategic initiatives, the visitor experience and online strategy.


Alida Smith

Associate Vice President, Marketing

Alida leads strategic marketing initiatives that leverage integrated, high-impact campaigns to build CMU’s reputation and connect deeply with audiences important to the university’s mission and goals. With career experience in both the public and private sector, she sharpened her higher education expertise at The Ohio State University, leading university-wide marketing campaigns and collaborating on many strategic initiatives with her marketing colleagues across the campus. When Alida’s not working, she can often be found watching sports — including her children’s soccer games, Ohio State football, Grand Slam tennis and the Olympics.

Lara Steiner

Lara Steiner

Senior Director of Marketing

Lara manages marketing strategy. Although she is a native of Long Island, New York, hundreds of miles from Pittsburgh, Lara loves black and gold, and plaid. Prior to joining CMU, she worked in account management for chaotic and high-energy advertising agencies like Mullen, Dymun + Co and MARC USA. She has a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Penn State and makes an annual trip to her alma mater to take a picture with the Nittany Lion.

photo of Kara Kessler

Kara Kessler

Strategic Communications Manager

Kara helps coordinate and manage major projects, such as the university's Tony Awards partnership and participation in the World Economic Forum. She earned her undergraduate degree in communications from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and her master's degree in journalism and mass communications from Point Park University. Prior to CMU, she worked for UPMC and Allegheny Health Network, United Way of Allegheny County and H.J. Heinz Company. While at Heinz, she was a part of the corporate team who created the company's float for the 2000 Rose Bowl Parade.