Meet the Board: Scott Wintner, Director-at-Large
Tell us about yourself and your current role.
I work for the City of San Jose as Deputy Director of Mineta San Jose International Airport, overseeing the Airport's Communications and Marketing teams. Thank the beginning and end of "Love, Actually" -- airports are full of incredible stories, and my teams are responsible for sharing them with the world.
How did you get into PR?
I entered college wanting to become a television producer, and since I've always been most interested in nonfiction stories, I first majored in journalism. I quickly learned that journalism is truly a labor of love, and I didn't find enough self-fulfillment in the day-to-day struggle of chasing sources and dealing with newsroom priorities that a journalist must have to offset the long hours and (unfortunately) inadequate pay. Meanwhile, I had no idea PR existed as its own career option. The more I learned through my introductory courses in college about the role and importance of professional communication to the success of organizations, the more I was drawn to PR as another way to approach my desire to develop a career in nonfiction storytelling.
What do you love about PR?
I'm a storyteller at heart, and PR has given me so many (and varied) opportunities to craft and tell stories that have a meaningful impact. I also really appreciate the diversity of the relationships I've had a chance to build throughout my career in various PR roles.
Why are you in PRSA-SF? What do you feel the benefits have been for you?
I've actually been involved in PRSA longer than I've worked in PR. My first PR professor at Boston University was a big proponent of PRSA. It was his enthusiasm for the association that encouraged me to join PRSSA as a sophomore, and then join PRSA immediately upon graduation. One of the first things that professor told my introductory PR class was that, as PR pros, we should prepare to spend the rest of our careers having to explain to everyone around us what we do. I've certainly found that to be true, and I have a strong appreciation for PRSA's role as an advocate for the profession -- more now than ever given the near total erosion of integrity among some of PR's most high profile practitioners. Since joining the SF Bay Area Chapter in 2013, my involvement has deepened as I came to discover that our chapter, in particular, is full of some of the most genuine, committed and FUN people I've met anywhere.
What are you hoping to accomplish during your year as director-at-large with PRSA-SF?
After five years on the Executive Committee -- first as Secretary/Treasurer, then as CFO -- I'm committed to spend my last year on the Board supporting our new Executive Committee's success running the day-to-day business of the Chapter.
What's one piece of advice you wish you would have known when you started out in PR?
My experience at Boston University's College of Communication really prepared me well for my career in PR. I can't think of any advice I wish I'd received, but one piece of advice I did get from my first PR professor that really proved true is that, as PR pros, we should be prepared to spend the rest of our careers explaining and making the case to our co-workers for what we do. The vast majority of people I've encountered in my life -- personally and professionally -- have no idea what public relations professionals do and how they add value to the organization. I spend a good amount of time in each role I've held educating my colleagues about what I can do to help them (and our organization) be successful.
What are some of your hobbies? What do you do for fun?
Two of my favorite things to do are travel and play lacrosse -- two things I haven't been able to do much the past year. I've been spending the pandemic months catching-up on the long list of television shows that have been recommended to me over the years (I do love a good, well-told story!), and I've enjoyed having the time to get more creative in the kitchen!