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Andrea Saul, former spox for Charlie Crist, Mitt Romney, moves to Silcone Valley startup Instacart

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Andrea Saul, communications director for Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s non-profit Lean In, is taking her talents to Instacart, the startup on-demand grocery delivery service.

As VP of communications, Saul brings a wealth of political expertise; she served as communications director for former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist as well as press secretary to presidential candidate Mitt Romney and for Carly Fiorina in her Senate bid.

She also was communications aide for U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and director of Media Affairs in John McCain’s presidential campaign.

After a recent round of $220 million in backing, Instacart has been busy pushing into new markets, bringing on both Saul as VP, as well as Nikhil Shanbhag from Google as general counsel.

Saul told Ryan Lawler of Tech Crunch that during the Romney campaign, her next goal was a startup. Saul had worked to leverage her two-year stint at LeanIn.org into a Silicon Valley position.

“When I spoke with Sheryl,” Saul said, “it was such a good opportunity I couldn’t turn it down.”

Saul’s opportunity at Instacart came at a good time; as a user of the service, she focused her attentions on the fast-growing company just as they were beginning to search for a communications director.

As for political experience, Saul believes she is a perfect match for the company. Every startup will face “crises, policy issues, and challenges,” she said. “My background in public policy can help with (that).”

Instacart, so far available in 16 U.S. markets, is experiencing substantial growth. The firm started the year with 120 employees, and now has more than 200, and is currently hiring across the board.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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