Jeanna Balreira stands in front of art installation
Trinity Names Assistant Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing
Jeanna Goodrich Balreira ’08 brings a joyful voice to University brand

Jeanna Goodrich Balreira’s voice—and laughter—is instantly recognizable from any corner of Trinity’s campus.

Hearing it is like hearing a bubbly version of the Jaws theme: it just means inescapable joy is coming down the hall, instead of a shark.

Hearing it is to hear joy in a good story. Joy in a good meal shared with friends and coworkers at Mabee Dining Hall, or an outburst of song waiting for the elevator in Northrup Hall. And joy in shaping the voice of Trinity University—where Balreira ’08 has been appointed as assistant vice president for Strategic Communications and Marketing.

“I think if you've ever been trapped in any sort of small space with me for longer than 15 seconds, you know I like to tell stories,” Balreira says. “And hopefully they bring a smile to your face. I'm a storyteller at heart, and I think there's no better time than right now to be taking a megaphone and shouting Trinity's story across the nation and the world. I am honored and humbled that Trinity picked me to do that, but I'm also fiercely dedicated to it.”

Balreira’s passion for Trinity has shone through her 15-plus years at Trinity, the past decade with Strategic Communications and Marketing, an office formed in 2013 with the vision of bringing Trinity’s story and brand to a national stage across a variety of media and audiences. 

"As we prepare to surge on the national scene, we need a leader to own and oversee the telling of our story,” says Frank Guerra ’83, vice president for SCM. “Who better than Jeanna, who embodies the spirit, joy, and intelligence of Trinity University?”

And the SCM office is just the beginning of where Balreira’s voice has had a profound impact. She’s also served as an adjunct professor in Trinity’s Department of Communication, headed and served on countless University committees, and fought to improve the lives of her fellow employees by leading the way for Trinity’s implementation of a parental leave policy for staff.

Part of Balreira’s enthusiasm for Trinity’s story is that she’s been part of it in so many unique ways: first as a transfer student, then as an employee, and ultimately as a leader, a spouse, and a mom. 

Arriving at Trinity in the 2005 spring semester as a transfer music major from the University of North Texas, Balreira was immediately known to faculty as the “girl who wrote a letter [to Admissions] that said, ‘Dear Trinity University, I have made a terrible mistake,’” she says. Balreira would make the most of her second chance at Trinity, graduating in 2008 as an English and German double major with a comparative literature minor.

As a student, Balreira served as the Trinitonian’s first-ever graphics editor, as well as one of the first-ever resident assistants (RA) for Sophomore College, the pilot program for second-year-specific housing. “That was one of the more memorable and meaningful experiences in my time at Trinity as a student,” she says. “Being an RA and being a camp counselor are some of the things I have fallen back on the most in my life.”

Venturing out into the professional world, Balreira spent time in design, marketing, and publishing for local mainstays such as the San Antonio Express-News and Lake Flato Architects. But in 2013, while doing freelance work on Trinity’s campus in the Center for Learning and Technology (CLT), her design work caught the eye of then-CLT director Rob Chapman. 

“He said, ‘Any chance you would want to give some of your talent to Trinity?’” Balreira recalls. “I felt absolutely honored that my alma mater would value my work that way, so I started helping out what was then the University Communications office on a contract basis, and before I knew it, I was a full-time web producer.”

Jeanna Balreira '08 and Samantha Skory '16 (left) taught "Balance and Symmetry in Mathematics and Art" to a class of students, faculty, and staff during 2016's Great Trinity Experiment.

Over the following decade, Balreira would rise through positions as associate director for creative services, editor of Trinity magazine, and most recently director for content strategy. While working through these roles—and raising two children—she also obtained a Master of Arts in Technical Communication from Texas Tech in 2019 and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in the same field.

“What really drew me to keep doing this work, and to keep changing it, to keep making mistakes and keep making it better,” Balreira explains, “is that at Trinity, the way we market the University comes from really valuing the input from our community as to how we want the world to perceive us.”

And, true to Balreira’s prowess as a storyteller, that input exists in its purest form as storytelling. 

“Whether through student storytelling, faculty storytelling, or alumni storytelling, marketing at Trinity University means equipping our campus community with some of the best ways to talk about Trinity: the place that they work, that they live, that they learn,” Balreira says. “The result is a really authentic story for Trinity to be telling. People don't want to be ‘sold on an experience’: they want to see what sparks joy in their heart. They want to feel like they’re already a part of the Trinity experience before even stepping foot on campus.”

So, with Balreira in place as SCM’s new assistant vice president, where does Trinity’s story go from here? And why does this matter for those outside SCM?

“In SCM, we want to operate on the forefront of innovation,” Balreira says. “What we do is very visible. Nothing feels better than binge watching your favorite show on Hulu, and seeing a commercial we’ve produced pop up, and seeing a Trinity student that you know, or who you've taught in class, or who has been an intern in your office, and they just have this ‘spark’ where you say to yourself, ‘Yeah, that's Trinity! That embodies Trinity.’”

Balreira wants all of campus to feel engaged with Trinity’s story—and to feel connected and confident in understanding how SCM can help them find their sweet spot for doing so.

“I want to make sure that I can ask the question, ‘What is strategic communications and marketing?’ to our campus partners, and have them know the answer,” Balreira says. “But I also want them to be able to ask that of us. What does strategic communications and marketing look like for all of our audiences? How are we together supporting student success? Through these questions, we’re going to be working toward making the art of strategic communications and marketing a customized experience for each of the divisions across campus.”

This is a natural mindset for an alumna of a University that treats its individuals as more than faces in the crowd.

“Trinity has prided itself, for as long as I've known, as a place where personal attention matters,” Balreira says. “I’ve seen that as a student, as a staff member, as an alumna, and as (maybe) a future Trinity parent, and it continues to ring true. The way marketing has—and is going to—work at Trinity, means that we are going to be able to look at our personal Trinity experiences and know that we mattered.”

Jeanna Balreira '08 and mathematics professor Cabral Balreira can think of no better place than Trinity to be a family, along with their two future Tigers, EJ (Class of 2039) and Jonah (Class of 2042).

As Balreira steps into her new role, she’s also going to be doing it with the support that matters the most: her husband—Trinity mathematics professor and chair Eduardo Cabral Balreira—and the couple’s two sons, EJ and Jonah.

“It’s convenient having a carpool work associate to come to campus with,” Balreira laughs. “In addition to being absolutely an amazing father, he has been so supportive of my wild ideas. He listens to me jabber, and he even encourages me to stay late to run the Tiger Network cameras because he knows how much joy it brings me.”

And Balreira is excited to announce that she and Cabral are going to be extending that love and support to future Trinity students through the establishment of the Familia Balreira Endowed Scholarship Fund for first-generation students.

“Together, he and I have so much love and passion for Trinity and for its mission,” she says. “It's something I hope rubs off on our own kids, but also on the students around us, especially first-gen students, international students, or students who didn't take the traditional college path.”

That’s a lot of joy to go around.

And if Balreira’s next Trinity decade is anything like the last, that joy is spreading to every corner of campus, whether we’re ready for it or not.

“Trinity’s story is something I feel in my heart, my soul, and my spirit,” Balreira says. “I can think of no better honor than being able to be Trinity's storyteller, in being able to be around the people who are sharing their stories with you: whether that's the talented and amazing people in SCM; the students who share little glimpses into their individual experiences; the faculty who teach me new things every day; or the staff whose dedication is just unparalleled.”


Jeremiah Gerlach is the brand journalist for Trinity University Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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