Member Profile: Tiarra Earls
Meet Tiarra Earls,
Public Information Officer, Port of San Francisco
We periodically feature veteran and new PRSA San Francisco members, and tell the story of their public relations career. If you would like to suggest a PRSA San Francisco member for a profile, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why did you join PRSA and what is one of your favorite benefits that the organization provides?
I first joined PRSA when I was undergrad studying communications at Sacramento State. They had an active PRSSA chapter that was involved in several campus campaigns for various causes. I appreciated how active the chapter was and joined which provided me the opportunity to 1) participate in the Bateman Competition and 2) attend my first PRSSA/PRSA conference! It was an incredible experience and I’ve remained a member ever since. The best benefits that I find afforded by PRSA are the training and networking opportunities. The training goes beyond conferences and seminars, but also online webinars and tools that I have found very helpful.
You have been in PR for over 5 years. Share a few ways it has changed over the years and where you see it going.
I find a very huge shift toward digital communications and social media know-how. Professionals today need to have multiple skill sets to be competitive. I think many practitioners are going to need to be social media experts, and carry a broad understanding of most of the social media platforms as well as expertise on social media listening strategies and analytics. In addition, website management is also an important skill I find that is emphasized in many PR pros i.e. HTML, HTML 5, CSS and other coding languages (to some degree). I’m also seeing a shift away from press releases, although in the government sector those are our best friend!
Tell us about one of your most memorable experiences during your career.
My most memorable experience was early in my career when I was working my first post-college role at a non-profit anti-domestic violence coalition. At that time, my role was part communications, part state policy support. The coalition did, and continues to do, incredible policy work at the state and federal level to bring awareness to the anti-domestic violence cause and influence legislative policy to ensure shelters stay funded and have the tools they need to provide services to survivors. I had the opportunity to participate in a project that included 1) preparing the advocate trainings around financial independence for survivors of violence and 2) creating a communications strategy around the project, which was funded by Allstate. I chose to utilize media relations tactics, social media and create a blog that would highlight the efforts of some of the advocates who were taking the trainings and provide additional financial resources to victims and trainers alike. The project received great publicity, was fun to put together and was for a tremendous cause.
What’s your best advice to the new generation of PR professionals?
Take advantage of any available learning opportunities and network, network, network! Make an effort to become proficient of many of the digital technologies as well, and you will do fine!