A lighthouse flickers out: Tess Coody-Anders leaves Trinity

Tess Coody-Anders, Vice President of Strategic Communications and Marketing and leader of the Nerve Center, will be leaving Trinity University at the end of February. Coody-Anders, a Trinity alum, has worked here for five years and her loss will be a great one to the university as a whole.

Tess Coody-Anders began working at Trinity in 2017. Her role at the university extended far beyond the typical day-to-day work of an administrator. For example, she has been running the Nerve Center, the group that updates the community about new COVID protocols and numbers, since the beginning of the pandemic in spring 2020. However, as the university got more used to dealing with the complications of COVID-19, Coody-Anders decided that it was a good time to leave.

“I’ve reached a place where I need to recharge and regroup a little bit,” Coody-Anders said. “The past couple of years have been difficult, and while I’m proud of what we’ve done together, I’ve also needed a little time to take care of myself. And I also felt like we were in a place, we’re moving into a good place with our COVID operations and our communications programs. And so it was a good time, personally and professionally, to make that move.”

In the future, she plans on focusing on new projects and her relationship with her family.

“There are a couple of things that I really want to work on that require more of my time and attention outside of Trinity, including taking better care of myself and my family,” she said, “But also I have this passion project around opening up a little independent bookstore. I’m committed to helping develop my downtown. I live in Seguin. I will say that the last few years of the work on campus have really focused on my passions around improving access to high-quality care on college campuses and so I’m also going to work on some ideas I have about that.”

In her absence, Frank Guerra will act as interim Vice President of Strategic Communications and Marketing. Guerra is also a Trinity alum and a personal friend of Coody-Anders. Before this, he worked at Guerra Deberry Coody, a marketing and communications firm that they founded together.

“I’m a former business partner of Tess Coody, so we owned an advertising agency together for many, many years and since she was going to be moving on, she knew that they needed someone in an interim position,” Guerra said. “She obviously had an intimate understanding of everything that needs to be accomplished over the next ten months to a year and since we have known each other so well for so long, she thought I would be a nice fit.”

Coody-Anders said she is confident that Guerra will be the perfect person to take her former job.

“He is a person who shares the value system that I know is important to Trinity. He brings experience and skills that will enhance the role with his personal connections to Trinity and the way he builds lifelong relationships. I know that the institution will be well served,” said Coody-Anders.

In the next few weeks, Guerra and Coody-Anders will be working alongside Human Resources to prepare for the shift.

“A lot of what HR does is compliance-related stuff, wrapping up everything for whoever’s leaving. Processing the payout of any unused time [or] paid time off, so it’s really that type of closing,” said Jim Hertel, Chief Human Resources Officer.

Guerra will be on campus beginning the week of Feb. 21, to shadow Coody-Anders. In the position, he plans to strengthen her legacy.

“It’s an exceptional group of professionals and I just look forward to supporting them as they keep the momentum going within that department,” Guerra said. “And there are a couple of important initiatives coming up, one of them being the selection of a new president of the university, so that will be an important event that we’ll help manage. And then, Trinity is seeking to elevate its status in liberal arts colleges around the country. And it’s also going through a digital transformation so being a part of that and helping to navigate that is going to be also very important.”

Coody-Anders said she will miss working with the students, faculty and staff at Trinity most of all.

“I will miss interactions with students, first and foremost,” she said. “I find that my interactions with Trinity students are energizing and inspiring. I feel emotionally connected to the students at Trinity the way that I do as a mom to my own children. I’m also going to miss my colleagues tremendously. The level of interest to intellectual discourse and challenge, these are the smartest people I’ve ever worked with, in our faculty and staff.”