Phoenix communications manager, author named to USCCB public affairs post

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Judy M. Keane is seen in this undated photo. She has been named director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Public Affairs, effective Sept. 12. (CNS photo/courtesy Sophia Institute Press)
Judy M. Keane is seen in this undated photo. She has been named director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Public Affairs, effective Sept. 12. (CNS photo/courtesy Sophia Institute Press)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Judy M. Keane has been named director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Public Affairs, effective Sept. 12.

Keane has spent about 20 years managing communications for high-profile organizations.

Most recently she has been director of media relations and strategic communications for Arizona State University, where she served as spokesperson, communications adviser, and oversaw day-to-day and crisis communications, as well as social media and online content operations.

“Judy brings an impressive wealth of professional experience in communications, I’m confident that she will bring valuable service to the conference,” James Rogers, USCCB’s chief communications officer, said in a statement Aug. 22.

From 2008 to 2015, Keane was senior manager of public affairs and communications for Maricopa Integrated Health System, Arizona’s public health care system, where she developed, planned and led strategic communications through a variety of channels and platforms.

From 2001 to 2008, Keane was public affairs and volunteer services manager at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. There, she worked with media relations and communications, and managed and grew the volunteer services department to more than 375 members.

Prior to that, she was a senior account executive at Martz Public Relations and Advertising Agency, where she researched, developed and implemented marketing, media and promotional campaigns and events for several corporate and nonprofit clients.

Her active involvement in humanitarian relief efforts in refugee camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina, led her to also work as an English professor and to write and produce documentaries on the needs of Balkan war refugees. Before that she was a news producer for KTVK, a CNN affiliate in Phoenix.

She holds a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix, and a bachelor’s degree in English and humanities from Arizona State University.

An accomplished writer, Keane also has contributed to several health and Catholic publications and was a member of the Arizona Marian Conference from 1997 to 2015.

In an Aug. 17 interview with The Catholic Sun, newspaper of the Diocese of Phoenix, where she has been a member of Corpus Christi Parish, she talked about her first book, “Single and Catholic: Finding Meaning in Your State of Life,” published by the book division of the Sophia Institute Press.

The book focuses on the 47 percent of adult Catholics who are single, offering encouragement to that demographic and insight for Catholic Church leaders.

“This is about all of us,” Keane writes in the introduction. “Those who are just starting out, those who have never married, those who have survived broken relationships, those who have not lived according to the church but are considering and even trying to find their way back, and those facing single life once again because they have been widowed or are dealing with a separation or divorce.”

Keane had written related articles for “Catholic Exchange,” the website platform tied in with Sophia Institute Press’ book publishing division. But she told The Catholic Sun that even with that, she was surprised to find in her research for the 12-chapter book that there are so many single Catholics.

The chance to do the book project came about a week after a failed engagement, and “was not the first post-breakup plan I had in mind,” Keane writes.

Keane said she hopes readers finish the book feeling affirmed that their party of one is never alone in trying to live the faith.

Single Catholics are dynamic people accomplishing much for the church and culture, she said. She credits her single state for giving her the flexibility to spend those two years teaching English in a refugee camp.

Keane’s isn’t the only voice in the book. Readers also will meet a cattle rancher from the Dakotas, a veterinarian, a former Miss Universe titleholder and a single mom whose daughter is now in college, among others.

“Singles are unique in that we are able to serve the church and to serve our communities and to serve our public at large,” when others rightly put raising children as a higher priority, Keane told The Catholic Sun.

Ambria Hammel in Phoenix contributed to this story.

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