By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Joanna King joined the chancery staff as Director of Communications on Monday, June 24. She is a member of Flowood St. Paul Parish and a graduate of Natchez Cathedral School. King previously worked in law and as the Communications Director for the Good Samaritan Center. She has also been on the executive board for Leadership Greater Jackson for four years, serving as secretary for two of those years.
King said she was looking for a more active way to share her faith so she felt called to apply for the position at the diocese. “I have been working on being more mindful of the Holy Spirit in my everyday life. If you listen, you will hear and feel the guidance of the Holy Spirit every day. One evening I sat down to read my Mississippi Catholic paper. Before opening it, I silently asked, ‘God, is there something you need me to hear?’ I randomly opened the paper and the first thing my eyes laid on was the position opening for the Director of Communications. So, you can say that the Holy Spirit definitely called me to apply and I listened,” she said. She participated in the Christ Life program and will begin working with the Alpha program at her parish this fall.
“I feel blessed that the position will afford me the opportunity to share and celebrate my Catholic faith, in addition to continuing my love of service,” King explained. “For the last 12 and-a-half years I have worked at a social service agency that allowed me to do Jesus’ work to help clothe and feed the hungry. I feel so blessed to have served in that capacity. It truly has helped my understanding of the Church’s love for all people,” she added.
She graduated from Mississippi State University and went on to law school at Mississippi College. She brings a variety of experience to her new role. As Director of Communications, she will be the editor for Mississippi Catholic newspaper, maintain the diocesan website and act as the spokesperson for the Diocese of Jackson.
“I look forward to building relationships with new people and strengthening relationships with those I do know. I also look forward to continuing my life-long love of learning. I love that this position affords me the opportunity to learn and grow in my Catholic faith,” said King.
The Department of Communications worked with a search committee to seek a new director. “Joanna’s enthusiasm and love for the church were obvious from the moment we met. This is such an important position in our diocese, and Joanna is genuine in her excitement and willingness to get the job done,” said committee member Mary Margaret Halford, a member of Vicksburg St. Paul Parish.
Corinne Anderson from Jackson Holy Family was also on the committee. “During the interview, I was particularly interested in Joanna’s ability to manage and work with staff and respond to various constituencies. Her past work record document skills that are requisite for the job of editor. I was sold by her candidness and apparent cognizance of the fact that she will need to work with key diocesan personnel to enhance her current skills and ensure that diocesan policies and basic Catholic doctrine guide her work as editor and manager,” she said.
King replaces Maureen Smith, who has been with the diocese for seven years and has been director for four of those. Smith is moving back to her hometown of Atlanta, Ga., to be closer to family.
King lives in Brandon with her husband and son.
By Maureen Smith