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PRSA Tampa Bay Member Spotlight: Lisa Braswell

August 21, 2013

Every two weeks, we put a spotlight on a PRSA Tampa Bay member to learn more about their public relations background, advice on best practices and why they love working in the field.

This week’s #PRSATB Member Spotlight is on Lisa Braswell, APR, Marketing Consultant with Aetna, who is grateful to have earned her accreditation four years ago and recommends pursuing your APR once you have some experience in communications planning.

Lisa Braswell, APR

Lisa Braswell, APR

Name: Lisa Braswell, APR

Title: Marketing Consultant

Company/Organization: Aetna

PRSA Involvement (past and present): President-Elect, 2013; Chapter Treasurer, 2011-12; Student Liaison, 2010

Links to Personal and/or Professional Social Channels: www.linkedin.com/in/lisabraswell/

1)    Tell us a little bit about your career, educational/professional background and how you got to where you are today.

My college major was feature writing, so I was thrilled to get a job at a local trade magazine. The job allowed me to stretch my creative muscles; unfortunately, it also helped shrink my wallet with its tiny paycheck. On a whim, I responded to a help-wanted ad for a corporate communications writer. I ended up working for a financial services company writing bulletins, brochures, newsletters—you name it. From there, I jumped to the non-profit world managing various public relations functions. Now I handle marketing communications and community outreach for a non-profit health plan Aetna administers. It’s the best of both the corporate and non-profit worlds!

2)    Have you earned your Accreditation in PR? If so, at what stage in your professional career do you recommend pursuing an APR and why?

I am grateful to have earned my accreditation four years ago. Once you have some experience in communications planning is the ideal time to pursue accreditation. At that stage you have the experience to pass the test, and you also have plenty of time to use your enhanced knowledge for future projects. It is so much easier to write communications plans now that I have earned my APR!

3)    What do you wish someone had told you when you first started your career in PR?

I wish someone had suggested that I pursue an advanced education in business earlier in my career.  Of course, having a strong writing and media background is a requirement in our field; having a solid background in business fundamentals adds even greater dimension to that foundation.

4)    In grade school, what things did your teachers note on your report cards that you feel correlate to the PR pro you are today?

In grade school, I always received teachers’ comments along the lines of, “Lisa is so nice and plays well with others.” That’s important in our field dealing with so many different personalities—and egos! I also got kudos on spelling, grammar and writing projects. But it may surprise you to learn that I actually liked math. In fact, I was third-grade multiplication champ! My mom was so proud. Hmmm, maybe I was destined to become PRSA treasurer?

5)    What’re some of your personal hobbies outside of work/PR?

I try to stay active with kayaking and bike riding, but recently I’ve taken up a different kind of hobby. At first I was embarrassed to admit that I had started making greeting cards. It just seemed kind of nerdy. But I’ve found that it’s helped me appreciate the visual side of communication. Now this “word person” is obsessing over images and color combinations. Plus, I’ve started a blog to showcase my designs, so it helps me keep up-to-date with social media trends. So far I haven’t associated my name with my blog, but I will let you know if I change my mind!

If you are interested in being featured in a “PRSATB Member Spotlight,” please reach out to Jenna Stock.

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