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Meet the Board: Harper Schmidt, Secretary & 2022 President-Elect

Tell us about yourself and your current role

While I started my career working in-house for a national non-profit, I have spent the last 6 years in B2B tech PR agencies. Currently I am an Account Supervisor at PAN Communications where I’ve worked my way through the ranks and even made a cross-country move in 2019 from their Boston headquarters, here to SF. In my current position I get to lead the day-to-day strategy for a variety of tech clients from start-ups to public enterprises, which spans media relations, social media, content development and even podcast production.

How did you get into PR?

I’ve always loved writing and speaking so I have known I wanted to go into “communications” since I was in high school. After taking some intro classes in public relations in college, I knew this was the right career path for me – it was an area I loved and felt I really excelled in. After having several internships in PR, I knew this was the right move and I’ve never looked back!

What do you love about PR?

I love that in PR there are constantly things to learn. It truly has amazed me how much the industry has evolved and shifted and not just in the past year (thanks COVID!) Whether I’m learning about a new client technology, a new publication, a new PR tool or a new strategy, it’s great to have a constant challenge. PR has also opened up so many opportunities not just to learn, but to travel and connect with such a variety of people.

Why are you in PRSA-SF? What do you feel the benefits have been for you? 

I joined PRSA-SF as a newbie to San Francisco who wanted to get to know more people in the city and expand my professional network. Not only it’s great to have a community to learn from and knowledge-share since many of us encounter similar challenges, but the access to events and programs have been really applicable to my career. Being part of PRSA-SF has also offered opportunities for me to mentor as well, which have been equally as exciting.

What are you hoping to accomplish during your year as Secretary with PRSA-SF? 

In addition to expanding the organizational infrastructure of the chapter, I’m excited to continue to learn more about what each committee is doing and become more involved in different activities and programs. Also really looking forward to being involved in the planning for this year’s Foggies! 

What's one piece of advice you wish you would have known when you started out in PR?

As the cliché goes “it’s PR not ER!” While it’s important to love what you do and want to work hard and take your job seriously, it’s also important to take time for yourself. As I’ve moved through my career, I’ve really worked to prioritize work/life balance, mental health and get the rest I need in order to be productive and successful at work.

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do for fun?

Pre-COVID I loved to travel and was fortunate between work, family obligations and vacation travel every month of 2019. Since we’re unable to travel, I’ve enjoyed exploring different neighborhoods of San Francisco on foot with a cup of coffee in hand. I also love to cook and love trying out new recipes from the now famous Tik Tok feta pasta to recreating Taco Bell’s Crunchwraps at home.