We are excited to announce that Tracy Zimmerman has joined Neimand Collaborative as our Vice President, Policy and Communications. At Neimand Collaborative, we work to simplify the complexity of rallying governments, philanthropy, private enterprise, practitioners and people around something new and better. Tracy’s deep experience with conceiving and running integrated communications campaigns outside and inside of government is a great asset to our clients and the causes they trust us to advance. We could not be more thrilled to welcome her to our team.
“Tracy is just the person we need to continue our track record of creating and implementing campaigns that have a big impact in states and across the nation,” said our President, Sarah Hutchinson. “She is a die-hard optimist who believes that with authentic listening, excellent strategy and effective messaging, we can make positive change that gives everyone the opportunity to live a life with purpose. I can’t wait to see what we will achieve for our clients with Tracy on board.”
We first met Tracy when she was Communications Director for Smart Start and frequently collaborated with her to advance quality early childhood development in North Carolina and nationally. She later created The First 2000 Days campaign, which was adopted by several states and also went on to co-found the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation. It is credited with building bipartisan support and shifted the conversation from “why early childhood?” to “what should we do?” She also built a statewide Pathways to Grade Level Reading framework, facilitating a multi-year effort with people across sectors, disciplines and the political aisle to develop shared measures and strategies to support children’s optimal development. The framework was included in legislation, endorsed by business leaders, government agencies and nonprofits; and helped drive aligned action across the state.
Tracy later became the Deputy Secretary for Policy and Communications at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, where she led North Carolina’s communications and public outreach in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including more than 150 press briefings; the award-winning Whatever Your Reason, Get Behind the Mask campaign; and a research-informed public engagement strategy to promote COVID-19 vaccination with a focus on historically marginalized populations to ensure health equity. The state eliminated the vaccination gap between the Latino and white population; significantly narrowed the gap between the Black and white population; and had the lowest per capita death rate in the southeast and among the lowest in the nation. Tracy was recognized by Governor Roy Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen for exemplary service, exceptional leadership, outstanding achievements and relentless commitment to excellence during the pandemic response.
“The impact of Tracy’s work can be seen across North Carolina and the nation—in everything from children’s earliest experiences to our state’s effective pandemic response. She is a trusted advisor who asks the hard questions essential to effective strategy and has a gift for making the complex simple.” – former NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
Tracy lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband, a public school teacher. They have two children, one an engineer working in Mississippi and another an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Sorry Capitals fans, but Tracy and the family are die-hard Hurricanes fans.