Brian Lavelle has been named communication and membership manager for Communicators for Women Religious. Lavelle joins the CWR team after spending 19 years as a communications or media relations director for professional and junior hockey teams. Most recently, he acted as director of communications, broadcasting and team services for the Quad City Mallards in Moline, Illinois.

“Brian comes to CWR with a deep understanding of what it takes to run a small communication shop in a complex and demanding environment,” said CWR Board of Directors Chair Kathy Gatliff. “That’s the same reality for most of our members. When you combine that experience with a deep appreciation he has for the Catholic sisters in his life, you have a dynamic addition to the CWR team.”

Lavelle takes on a key role in CWR’s efforts to deliver the support, development opportunities and community building each of its members count on the association to provide. At the same time, he will work to foster growth by demonstrating the value of CWR’s work to communicators who are not currently members.

“Gaining a clear understanding of the needs and goals of our members is vital to successfully carrying out CWR’s mission,” said Lavelle. “In light of this fact, I look forward to not only meeting those needs but also forging relationships with members in the process.”

Lavelle began work at CWR’s Chicago headquarters this week.

“What impressed me during Brian’s interview is the amount of research he had done about our organization, as well as his enthusiasm about the prospect of working with us. And from the sample work projects he shared, it seems he has the ability to very creatively ‘think outside the box,’” said CWR treasurer Jean Merry.

Lavelle brings his fresh perspective to CWR as the association approaches its twenty-fifth anniversary.

“The fact that CWR’s silver anniversary is on the horizon offers a strong reminder of the work done by so many—including members, board and staff—to nurture and build up CWR over the last quarter century,” said Lavelle. “While I look forward to doing my part to advance CWR and its work I also recognize that the institutional memory our members carry is a hugely valuable resource, especially for a newcomer like me. I have a great deal to learn from our members and I look forward to doing so.”

While there are obviously marked differences between Lavelle’s previous positions and his new role, there are also ways in which his prior experience has prepared him for joining CWR.

“I know firsthand the value of professional networks for communicators in specialized fields. In my last position I was a member of a network of communications directors for East Coast Hockey League teams and found the group to be a superb resource,” he said. “Though I am new to this position, I likewise have a strong belief in the value CWR provides to its members through the sharing of best practices, peer-to-peer advice and many other benefits.”

The work of Catholic sisters has already had a significant influence on Lavelle’s life dating to his days as a student at St. Agnes grammar school and Arlington Catholic High School in Arlington, Massachusetts.

“I am thankful to this day for the education I received and to the teachers—including many Sisters of St. Joseph—who provided it,” said Lavelle. “While attending Catholic schools I benefited from a quality of education that would not have been available to me anywhere else. Any academic and professional successes I have enjoyed since then are built on a foundation that Catholic sisters did so much to create. It seems remarkably fitting that I now have the opportunity to work on behalf of women religious and those who tell their stories.”

Lavelle can be reached by calling the CWR office’s main phone number (773-891-3313) or by emailing