April 1, 2019

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In our latest edition of ‘Meet the Board Mondays’, a series to help you get to know your 2019 Board of Directors, we bring you PRSA-SF Bay Area Director of Programs, Cherise Adkins. In her day job, she's a Media Supervisor at Edelman.



Tell us a little about yourself.

I consider myself bi-coastal. I was born and raised in San Jose, California, but have spent most of my adult life on the East Coast, including Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia – so my personality is a mix of West Coast charm and East Coast edge! Public relations is a second career for me. I actually started off as television news producer, which I did for almost 9 years before transitioning to PR. I like to stay connected to my community through organizations, including PRSA, the National Black MBA Association and alumni groups for my alma maters Saint Mary’s College of California and the George Washington University. When I’m not working or networking, you can find me spending time with family, entertaining dinner guests, dancing or mentoring.



What’s the reason you joined and serve PRSA?

I joined PRSA as a way to connect with like-minded professionals from my hometown. When I first got involved with this chapter, I was truly blown away by the people I met. Everyone was so welcoming, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about helping to evolve the profession. Like my PRSA colleagues, I became a member to make a difference in the lives of others. Now as Director of Programs, I get to share my passion for PR by creating opportunities that blend fun and learning to help people gain knowledge and skills that they can carry with them for a lifetime.



What are your specialties in your personal and professional life?

In my current role, I specialize in media relations and executive visibility. I am on the health team at Edelman, so I know a lot about the heath care industry, hospital systems, diseases, advancements in medicine and more. I also serve as one of the firm’s diversity and inclusion facilitators, going from office to office teaching my colleagues about cultural competency. I have two hidden talents, both involving artistry – I grew up playing classical piano and used to work as a freelance makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics. There are a handful of things I would say I do best, which are dominating at celebrity trivia, making guacamole, giving relationship advice, career counseling, and being a good judge of character.



What advice would you give other PR pros? 

I encourage PR students and young professionals to take a step back and discover what it is they are truly passionate about and allow that to guide their career decisions. Working in PR means you are going to eat, sleep, breathe and live the area of your focus. Try to pursue jobs in fields that interest you. For example, if you enjoy traveling, try hospitality PR. If you care about making a positive impact, work in the non-profit sector or in corporate social responsibility. If you like celebrity news, be a publicist. Always go with your passion, because working in a field that you love will improve your chances of long-term satisfaction. More importantly, don’t put so much pressure on yourself – whether it’s in the interview process or on a new job. You’re in the room because you have already been deemed worthy. You will learn most of what you need to know on the job. And if you make a mistake, forgive yourself, improve and move on.