Meet the Board Monday: Mike Sanchez
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 Student Affairs, Mike Sanchez. In his day job, he's an Account Executive at Edelman.
Give us a P-R-S-A!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was sculpted by the Central Valley – the non-Hollywood, hard-working, blue-collar region which, with its fertile soil, feeds America. I was born and raised in Newman, CA – a tiny town of about eight thousand people. Newman instilled a powerful sense of community and hard work in me, yet most dream of escaping to bigger cities with more opportunity. I was the first in my family to go to college, choosing Fresno State because it was far enough to be on my own while close enough to visit on the weekends. Feeling the need to maximize my time in college and blaze a trail for my younger siblings, I quickly became involved on campus, serving as PRSSA chapter president, senator for the College of Arts and Humanities, VP of our student PR firm, PR chairman for IFC and I also worked on campus. Once I decided on PR, I did everything possible to set myself apart and position myself for a job in the Bay Area (with the goal of working for Edelman), completing six internships in four years. The work paid off, as I now work in Edelman's San Francisco office (my PRSSA VP is here as well). Outside of work, I love to travel and expose myself to new cultures and ways of thinking. I'm big into brewing and love trying a new style of beer or checking out new bars and restaurants in SF – of which there are many.
What’s the reason you joined and serve PRSA?
The first thing I did when I moved to the Bay Area, even before I received a job offer, was join PRSA. I came to the region not knowing a soul, and knew based on my experience in PRSSA, that I'd be surrounded by like-minded professionals who I could learn a lot from. Additionally, I became a member to make a difference in the lives of others. This organization has given me so much that I felt obliged to pay it back. The chapter allowed me to create a new committee – Student Affairs – in which I'm able to help students navigate their college careers in order to put themselves in the best position to succeed. It's no exaggeration to say that I'll be a PRSA member for life.
What are your specialties in your personal and professional life?
In my current role, I specialize in media relations and writing for tech clients. I've been fortunate to have had the chance to work across a wide spectrum of industries in the tech sector, including artificial intelligence, consumer electronics, e-health, cannabis, enterprise software and more. My past client roster reads like a dream to college-student-me and includes GoPro, Samsung, Logitech, Zoho, Kaiser Permanente as well as incredible startups like Hypur, Maluuba, Cloudponics, and AnyPerk. I've also grown into a great networker, which as an introvert and only child was probably my biggest weakness and fear. I've since overcompensated for that weakness, regularly attending multiple networking events per week over the past three years, and have made enormously influential connections as a result of getting outside of my comfort zone. In my personal life, I'm a skilled consumer of Mexican food, know how to juggle, and a savant of useless facts.
What advice would you give other PR pros?
I would tell PR pros to get a wide breadth of knowledge early in one's career in order to find what they are truly passionate about, and once they find it, focus 100 percent of their efforts on their passion. Let's be honest, if you're going to sell your soul for a job/career that you're not passionate about, PR is a pretty terrible choice – we work long hours, the pay isn't always great, and you must balance multiple clients and deadlines. What excites me is the opportunity to use my skills and expertise to shine a spotlight on the brilliant entrepreneurs and exciting companies that will shape our future. I love the look on a client's face when we get their company in Forbes, WIRED, or any publication in which they have NO business being in (my fellow PR pros know what I mean). Life is so short, and time so precious. Find your passion and don't settle for a role that doesn't excite you.
- Q&A with Mike Sanchez, Account Executive, Edelman