Education: BS in journalism, broadcast news, from West Virginia University
Employment: Public Relations Specialist at Tennessee Valley Authority
Why did you choose public relations as a career?
I worked for 14 years as a broadcast journalist before someone suggested my skills might be useful in public relations. I had never considered that my ability to write and to speak comfortably on camera and to the media could translate to a career in public relations. So I made the leap to “the dark side” in 2003 and have been in public relations since that time.
What’s the most memorable moment of your career?
I spent two years as the public relations/media relations coordinator for the first new nuclear power unit to come on line in the U.S. in the 21st century. I didn’t recognize the significance beyond that until a co-worker pointed out that I’m the only PR professional in the country over the last 20 years to have worked through the process to successfully license a new nuclear unit. It was a project that required coordination for media outreach, public information and community involvement. It was a proud moment to be at the plant when we announced the unit was officially operating. That outreach effort has been recognized by the Nuclear Energy Institute and PRSA.
Why are you a member of PRSA?
I believe professional development and networking is very important in any career. PRSA offers opportunities for education and growth as well as the chance to gather with others in our profession (and we all know PR folks love to socialize.)
What advice would you give to new professionals?
If you’re in college, take every internship opportunity you can get. If you’re a new professional, join PRSA and attend events and get to know people. Get involved in your community – you can make some very important and useful contacts by volunteering and meeting others with a servant mentality. You never know where those relationships could lead. Stay informed on politics and local news.