Scarlet Thompson joined Samford University as its Executive Director of University Communication in September 2023. A three-time Emmy award-winning journalist with significant experience in organizational management, Scarlet is also a Samford alum who had her start in covering the campus as the Samford Crimson’s editor-in-chief and a Samford News Network anchor more than two decades ago.
Scarlet came to Samford after serving as Executive Vice President of Civitan International, a worldwide group of service clubs founded in Birmingham, Alabama. At Civitan, she and her team revamped the century-old organization to be more sustainable and serve communities globally in new ways. Under Scarlet’s leadership in nearly six short years, Civitan International raised more than four million dollars for the Civitan International Research Center and reestablished its brand and core messaging.
Prior to joining Civitan, Scarlet helped lead The Arc of Jefferson County (now The Arc of Central Alabama) in Birmingham, Alabama, as its Vice President of Development and Marketing. She oversaw The Arc’s fundraising and RecyclABILITY teams that helped the agency maintain a $28 million annual budget. In her tenure at The Arc, Scarlet launched the organization’s fundraising efforts, more than doubling special events income in less than two years. She secured several grants for the organization and successfully brought the Wings for Autism program to Alabama. Her team also received The Arc of Alabama’s chapter marketing award three years in a row.
Before her placement at The Arc, Scarlet served nearly eight years at the American Cancer Society. Most of that time was as the State Communications Director, where she helped manage the statewide campaign for a smoke-free Alabama. She won the 2010 Award of Excellence for a Non-Profit Government Relations Campaign from the Public Relations Society of America for her work organizing lobby days to restore funding for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Scarlet later served as the organization’s Mid-South Division Mission Delivery Director, where she maintained relationships with cancer researchers in six states and managed enrollments for the American Cancer Society’s largest research study to date. In her last year at ACS, she raised $1.4 million through Relay For Life events in 13 Alabama counties.
Before her time in the non-profit sector, Scarlet worked for ten years in local television news. She started her career as a news producer at ABC 33/40 and then moved to WVTM-13. During her five years there, she won two regional Emmys, including one for her newscast on September 11, 2001. Scarlet eventually moved to FOX6 to become its Evening Executive Producer where she won her third Emmy and was responsible for launching the station’s 9:30pm newscast. Additionally, Scarlet has received an Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast and two Alabama Associated Press awards. She also frequently came to Samford’s campus to speak to journalism classes and conferences.Scarlet graduated from Samford University with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She is married and has three children. One of her daughters is a current Samford University student. She and her family are members of Meadow Brook Baptist Church, where she serves as the chair of the Child and Student Safety Committee. Scarlet has been a member of the Samford University Journalism Department Advisory Council, a former board member at the Hoover City Schools Foundation and served as the President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Alabama. She co-chaired the 2021 National Philanthropy Day in Birmingham and recently was recognized at its event as a VIP in Philanthropy. Scarlet was also named “Who’s Who in Non-Profits” for 2022 by the Birmingham Business Journal.