Candace Nelson is the Digital Marketing Coordinator at the West Virginia Division of Tourism, where she leads interactive communication strategies.
Previously, Nelson was the Social Media Editor at West Virginia University. She leveraged social media as part of overarching marketing initiatives for the university and implemented goals pertaining to brand perception, active engagement, and creative storytelling that resulted in positioning West Virginia University as a strategic communications leader.
During her tenure, West Virginia University significantly increased its follower base and engagement across platforms and reached an audience of approximately 500,000 people.
Nelson is a recognized leader in the industry and has traveled across the country presenting at dozens of national conferences on storytelling through digital platforms.
She is an award-winning marketing professional who has been honored by PRSA, PR News, the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for her development of social engagement campaigns.
In 2016, Nelson led the team that won PRSA's "Best in West Virginia" award for the best overall public relations campaign in the state, which pioneered innovative use of Snapchat, social video projects, multimedia, and collaboration on crowd-sourced content.
Prior to joining West Virginia University, Nelson worked as an award-winning reporter for the Charleston Daily Mail and The Dominion Post. Prior work history includes The Charleston Daily Mail, The Daily Athenaeum, the West Virginia University Writing Center and the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism. Internships includes USA Today, West Virginia Living Magazine, West Virginia Radio Corporation, West Virginia University Business Incubator, and West Virginia University Press. Freelance work includes Prerogative Magazine, Savor WV Magazine, Spotlight WV Magazine, Taste WV Magazine and West Virginia Executive Magazine. Other work has appeared in newspapers across the state, including The Dominion Post, The Beckley Register-Herald, the Moorefield Examiner, the Pocahontas Times, and The Journal in Martinsburg, as well as West Virginia Public Broadcasting.
Nelson authors a food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail where she explores the Appalachian food community and works to help tell West Virginia's story. Her work has appeared in publications across West Virginia, in addition to Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, NPR, Food & Wine, and more. She writes a blog that focuses on food culture in West Virginia, Candace Lately, which can be found at www.CandaceLately.com. She is also an active board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central West Virginia and Faith in Action of the Greater Kanawha Valley. Her first book, The West Virginia Pepperoni Roll, documents the history of the regional West Virginia snack was published June 1, 2017.
She earned her Master of Science in Journalism (2013), Bachelor of Science in Journalism (2011) and Bachelor of Arts in English (2011) from West Virginia University.
She is a college instructor, author, published researcher, organization leader and community volunteer.