After more than 23 years at Concordia, the university’s first spokesperson says goodbye
After working at Concordia for more than 23 years, director of media relations and university spokesperson Christine Mota will retire on May 31.
The last time Mota left her job, it was under very different circumstances. After spending more than 15 years working in broadcast journalism as a producer and talk show host, Mota lost her job as part of a wave of layoffs at the radio station she was working at. However, she didn’t have to search for a new gig for very long.
Getting laid off was “actually the best thing that could have ever happened to me, timing-wise,” Mota said. “There was a replacement position available at Concordia, so I was unemployed for 36 hours… Which said to me, ‘This is where you’re supposed to be.’”
It seems her instinct was right. In 1993, Mota was hired as the university’s media advisor.
Concordia didn’t have a spokesperson until Mota took the job in 2006, when the position was created as part of the university’s move to centralize and modernize its communications work. Since then, Mota’s title has been director of media relations and university spokesperson. According to Mota, it is a process that has made Concordia’s public relations more efficient and effective.
“Concordia’s communications [services] is a leader,” Mota said. “Within the university sector, people try to emulate the way we function.”
Mota cited the recent bomb threat against the university as an example of how the media relations team is critical to the success of the school. After the threat was received, the group, led by Mota, was in charge of sending out the emergency messages to students and faculty and coordinating the university’s response in the media.
Over the course of Mota’s career, she has seen the communications services department grow in tandem with the university as a whole.
“As an institution, I don’t recognize the Concordia of today from the Concordia I arrived at in 1993. It’s just not the same place,” Mota said. “We have a very solid reputation.”
Mota is now in charge of the bragging. As director of media relations, Mota manages a team whose tasks include finding interesting events and impressive students for the media to cover, enhancing the university’s reputation in the process.
As the public face of the school, Mota’s quotes can often be found in local newspaper stories involving Concordia. Mota said she finds her mandate to protect and enhance the university’s reputation relatively easy these days, since there is so much to be proud of at Concordia. Mota pointed to Concordia’s student body and research profile as some of the university’s strengths.
“We have a lot to squawk about,” Mota said. “We can’t do our work [in communications services] unless people here are doing wonderful things. There’s so much neat stuff [at Concordia].”
Mota said she is looking forward to her retirement at the end of May, but knows the adjustment will be strange. She said she’s looking forward to spending time with her children—both of whom are Concordia graduates like Mota herself—and her grandson.
“My heart is here,” Mota said. “The day I walk out of that door, it’s not going to be easy. I’ll probably do some consulting. I’m not too eager to jump in [another job] yet, I’ll give myself a little breather, but I don’t think I’ll be bored.”