Meet the Board Monday: Y'Anad Burrell
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-At-Large, Y'Anad Burrell. In her day job, she's Founder and President of Glass House Communications.
Give us a P-R-S-A!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a native San Franciscan and fortunate to have four generations of family still living in here in the Bay Area. I started in the field of public relations representing clients in the entertainment industry over ten years ago, and now my firm, Glass House Communications, represents clients who are government entities, arts and culture non-profit organizations, small businesses and individuals running for elected office. From time to time I reflect on why I chose the field of communications as my bread and butter, and the answer remains the same every time: communications is a part of my DNA and it gives me a daily opportunity to laugh. You know, that ‘interesting scream’ that can come out at any time and anywhere. LOL. I absolutely enjoy being in an industry, communications, that has the ability to level the playing field on a local, regional and national level on issues that affect people of color and marginalized voices. It brings me joy on a daily basis.
What’s the reason you joined and serve PRSA?
As a PR professional, it’s important that I have my hand on the pulse of trends, remain informed about industry news and stay educated on topics that are important to the field. PRSA is the #1 membership association that provides these resources that are critical to remaining relevant in this industry. Serving on PRSA SF’s Board is an honor as it allows an opportunity to work alongside colleagues who are intentional and tenacious about elevating the public relations profession for prospective students and people of color. Most importantly, I was drawn to the San Francisco Board because of its active Diversity & Inclusion Committee. This is where I started my service on the SF Board and now to serve on PRSA’s National D&I Committee allows me to share the stellar work of this chapter as we continue to lead the charge in this area from programming to our chapter’s diversity statement.
What are some specialties in your personal and professional life?
I have a wide range of expertise in the public relations and strategic communications areas, from pitching stories for national coverage to designing an engaging and proactive media relations plan. What I have the most fun with is crisis communications management. I consider myself the ‘Original Olivia Pope’, LOL. I love this area of communications because it’s challenging, which forces me to be creatively savvy and strategically resourceful. In my fun time, I blast my living room stereo for hours, very loudly, and dance, dance, dance. I have always been intrigued by how our bodies can do amazing things from flips to skydiving. So I envision these movements while keeping my entire body and both feet to the floor, dancing the day and night away. And go!
What advice would you give other PR pros?
The one thing that has been the game changer for Glass House Communications remaining relevant for many years in this industry is that I’ve never accepted a client or taken a project where there was not a connection. When meeting the client there had to be an organic chemistry between us where I knew we would be successful together. With respect to a project, if it was not in line with my ethics or sincere interests, I would pass on the opportunity. I am at my best when these elements are in place and my level of creativity is at its highest when the stars align. It’s the best feeling ever and a win-win for everyone. If you’re missing something magical in your public relations journey, I advise you to think about how you’ve engaged the opportunities at the table. Consider what I’ve done and see what happens. And go!