Personnel note: Gov. DeSantis taps Savannah Kelly Jefferson to be external affairs director

Savannah Kelly Jefferson ART
Jefferson was previously communications director at the Florida Hospital Association.

Savannah Kelly Jefferson has joined Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ administration as external affairs director.

Jefferson took up the role earlier this month after DeSantis’ prior external affairs director, Mara Gambineri, left the Governor’s Office to rejoin the Department of Environmental Protection.

Before joining the DeSantis administration, Jefferson had since January been communications director at the Florida Hospital Administration, a hospital advocacy organization. There she served under President and CEO Mary Mayhew, who was DeSantis’ Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration until September 2020.

Prior to her time at FHA, Jefferson spent three years at Volunteer Florida, rising from executive liaison to external affairs director. She was also previously a consultant at AK Consulting Group.

She earned her undergraduate degree in business hospitality at Florida State University in 2015.

Gambineri left the Governor’s Office earlier this month to become Deputy Secretary for Land and Recreation at DEP. Before joining the Governor’s Office in June 2019, she was communications director at DEP. Before that, she was a deputy communications director in the Governor’s Office under former Gov. Rick Scott.

Jefferson oversees the Governor’s external affairs office, which runs scheduling and acts as a liaison for the Governor with citizens and public service groups. The office coordinates volunteer and community initiatives in Florida and oversees the Governor’s special assistants around the state.

The external affairs office also issues proclamations on behalf of the Governor.

Jefferson started in her new role on Oct. 11.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


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