Member Profile: Kelly Koski
Meet our members! We will 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.
Associate Director, Communications & Audience Development
Oakland Museum of California
How did you get started in public relations/communications and what has your journey looked like?
My communications track has primarily been focused in the non-profit arts world. After graduating with a BA in Non-Profit Business from the College of Charleston, I began my career as a Public Relations Coordinator at a small museum in Charleston, South Carolina. I later moved to Maryland, working as the Communications Manager at the Baltimore Museum of Art before moving to San Francisco to start my own communications consulting business and starting graduate school.
A year into my consulting business, I was hired full-time by the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) as their Communications Manager during a time when the museum was undergoing a major re-building and re-branding effort. I’m now the Associate Director of Communications and Audience Development at OMCA, overseeing all marketing, communications and social media, as well as editorial projects and online projects.
I’ve also kept my consultancy alive over the past five years and have focused my work primarily on supporting all marketing and communications needs for Yinfinite Wellness, a holistic wellness clinic in San Carlos. I’m passionate about alternative medicine and holistic healing and working with Yinfinite Wellness has allowed me to use my professional skills to support something I really believe in.
What do you like the most about your career in public relations/communications?
I like that the field is consistently changing and there is always something to learn and new ways of working to prototype. I also really enjoy media relations and working with media partners to develop angles that help share the story of my organization with new audiences.
Overall, I find communications fascinating on the purely human level. Communications skills used on the job translate into every facet of your life and can have a tremendous impact on your relationships and overall how you interact and relate to people. I’ve enjoyed learning how to empower people within my organization to feel more comfortable and confident in their own communications skills and to see the result of that confidence as positive press for OMCA.
Tell us about a memorable moment in your career.
The most memorable moment that comes to mind was definitely not an easy moment. Recently, the Oakland Museum of California was the unfortunate victim of two burglaries: the first in November 2012 and the second in January 2013. In both instances, we were able to act quickly to manage the crisis communications. We were able to communicate what happened and how we were managing the situation with our leadership, full staff and core constituents before the news broke in the media. Throughout the crisis timeframe, we heavily utilized social media as a way to update the community, museum members and fans with how the investigation was progressing, what we were doing to help the recovery of what was stolen, as well as what security measures we were adding to help prevent a burglary from happening again in the future.
The Oakland Police Department’s Chief Information Officer was amazing to work with throughout this time and her dedication to communicating openly with me at all hours of the day and night helped me keep OMCA’s crisis communications team focused and prepared before information broke to the media.
At the end of the day, I was most proud of OMCA’s ability to effectively manage the crisis with a crisis communications approach that was based on the organization’s core values of being open and transparent with our community.
Why did you join PRSA and how does your membership benefit you?
My membership in PRSA keeps me informed on both trends in the industry as well as success stories from other organizations. In a field that is constantly changing as technology continues to evolve the way we get information and communicate with each other, staying informed and knowing how and when to encourage your communications team and your organization to adopt new methods of communications is paramount.