Alissa Zito Cruz


Alissa Zito Cruz

VP, Communications

15 years of service

Los Angeles

Alissa Zito Cruz serves as vice president of communications for Step Up. Based in the organization's headquarters in Los Angeles, Alissa joined the nonprofit in 2009 and leads Step Up's public relations and events efforts.

During her time in the role, Alissa has steered the organization through two brand refreshes and streamlined organizational messages that articulate Step Up's programs and impact. Through partnerships with Oprah's Live the Life You Want Tour, Teen Vogue Summit and others, Alissa increased awareness of Step Up's vision of a world where all girls have the opportunity to pursue their dreams of success. She secured media coverage for the organization in respected outlets including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, InStyle, The Nonprofit Times, People, Variety, and on TODAY, Entertainment Tonight, the KTLA 5 Morning News and many other outlets.

Facing the pandemic cancellation of in-person events including Step Up's signature Inspiration Awards, Alissa led the creation of a digital summit, Step Up Together. In its inaugural year, the day of content for changemakers garnered over 3,400 registrants from 12 countries and raised more than $600,000 for Step Up's mentorship programs for girls. In addition to working on the concept for the event, Alissa managed content for the day's 44 sessions, and booked talent and executive speakers.

In celebration of the organization's 25th year of service in 2023, Alissa led the creation of Step Up's "25 Mentors of the Year" program. Through the mission-driven platform, Step Up secured coverage in outlets including The Hollywood Reporter, engaged executive women, and raised new funds for its mentorship programs. Among the mentors celebrated was award-winning actress, entrepreneur, producer and New York Times bestselling author Reese Witherspoon, an investor whose funding brought Step Up mentorship programs to Nashville for the first time.

In addition to running point on Step Up's partnership with Witherspoon, Alissa's day-to-day work involves managing Step Up's brand, media relations, content, digital marketing, speaking engagements and talent relations. She also supports corporate partnerships that involve media, talent and digital marketing.

Alissa came to Step Up with public relations experience in both the agency and higher education arenas. She served as a publicist at MML PR, a boutique agency based in Venice, Calif. There, she led creative campaigns for clients including Chobani Greek Yogurt, Knock Knock, The TeaSpot and others. Previously, she worked as the associate director of athletics for media relations at Loyola Marymount University, making her the media contact for the school's NCAA Division I teams including baseball, volleyball and LMU's 2004 NCAA March Madness women's basketball squad.

She holds an MBA and BA in communications from Loyola Marymount University, where she currently serves as adjunct faculty teaching public relations. Alissa and her husband, Frank, reside in Los Angeles.

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