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State lottery hires chief of advertising, marketing

by Michael R. Wickline | September 21, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

A former communications specialist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has been hired as the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery's advertising and marketing director.

Ashley McNatt of Little Rock started work for the lottery on Monday with a salary of $96,000 a year, said Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance and Administration. The lottery is part of the finance department.

"We are thrilled to have Ashley spearheading our marketing department," Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Eric Hagler said in a written statement.

"She is an Arkansas native with years of experience and an impressive educational background. I believe she is a perfect fit for our team."

The lottery's former advertising and marketing director, Donna Bragg, departed May 7 after five years in the post to become the chief executive officer of Texas CEO, a multimedia company in Austin. Bragg's salary was $101,507 a year when she left the lottery job.

McNatt has been a communications specialist in communications and marketing at UAMS since 2017 and an instructor teaching communications classes in UAMS's Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health since 2019, according to her resume.

McNatt has left her communications position at UAMS, but still is an instructor there, said Andrea Peel, a spokeswoman at UAMS. She said McNatt's annual salary was $56,105.50 in her communications post, and her salary as an instructor is $16,798.08.

Hardin said the lottery took into consideration McNatt's instructor post and "informed Ashley she may consider continue teaching, if desired."

Asked if the lottery's marketing and advertising director position is no longer considered to be a full-time job, Hardin said the job is full-time.

The lottery "confirmed the hours for teaching are outside the state's primary work hours and will not affect the day to day responsibilities of this position," he said. The state Department of Finance and Administration's human resources team is also aware of the teaching role, he said.

"Any teaching going forward will be a weekend course held over the course of two weekends per semester," Hardin said.

Ten applications were submitted for the lottery's advertising and marketing director post and six were determined to meet the minimum qualifications, he said. The lottery's leadership interviewed three of these applicants, he said.

McNatt's expertise resolves around crisis and risk communications, media relations, leadership, and building and maintaining positive stakeholder relationships, according to the lottery.

She completed a doctoral degree in public health leadership at UAMS in 2018, a master's degree in applied communications studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2009 and a bachelor's degree in journalism at UALR in 2007, according to her resume.

Prior to going work at UAMS as a communications specialist in 2017, McNatt worked in variety of posts at the state Department of Health between 2009-17, according to her resume. Her last position at the state Department of Health was grants manager of the Syndromic Surveillance Program in the Epidemiology Branch between 2015 and 2017.

The lottery has been selling tickets since Sept. 28, 2009, and has helped finance Arkansas Academic Scholarships for more than 30,000 students during each of the past 11 fiscal years.

Print Headline: State lottery hires chief of advertising, marketing

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