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PRSA Tampa Bay Member Spotlight: Amanda Lee

May 20, 2014

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.

Next up in our #PRSATB Spotlight is Amanda Lee, public relations manager at Tech Data Corporation, who says “it’s an incredible feeling to create a PR strategy and watch it come to life.”

Amanda Lee_HeadshotName: Amanda Lee

Title: Public Relations Manager

Company/Organization: Tech Data Corporation

PRSA Involvement (past and present): Active member and participant

Connect with Amanda on Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.


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

As an undergraduate, I chose to major in marketing within the School of Business. The experience gave me a strong foundation upon which to build my career, and led me to my first post-graduation job in New York City as an event planner in the hospitality industry.

Following a move to Washington, DC two years later, I began working in public affairs concentrating on business development. Together with my marketing and event planning background, the opportunity opened the door to a job on Capitol Hill where I worked as a communications director for a member of Congress.

Serving in the fast-paced public sector of the United States Congress afforded me the opportunity to establish relationships with leading national media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, Fox News and more. While working for the Congressman, I established a public relations strategy, hired individuals to fill operational roles and led external outreach efforts. Additionally, I authored press releases, opinion editorials and columns released to national, local and political press. As the ghostwriter for the Congressman’s columns and op-eds, I was very honored and proud to see my work in print.

During my time in Congress, the world of social media grew exponentially, and my team and I learned right along with it. We strategically established accounts via social media channels—to tell the Congressman’s story and communicate his message—and through those efforts built and led a following. We also created methods to drive traffic to our website: writing and managing content, as well as designing and implementing the site in order to highlight the Congressman’s legislative priorities and positions.

While working for Congress, I earned my master’s degree in communications and public relations from Georgetown University. This was a challenging undertaking from a time-management perspective, but has proven to be a great decision as it increased my knowledge base and strengthened my skill set.

After spending nearly a decade working in Washington for Congress, I joined the private sector as a public relations manager for Tech Data, one of the largest public companies in the state of Florida. At Tech Data, I am responsible for the strategic development and management of trade, local and national media relations, including external communications, corporate communications functions and social media.

The journey continues and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

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

It is very beneficial to have a mentor guide you through your career path. With over a decade of experience in PR, I still consult with my mentor regularly about career advice—it has been instrumental to my success. In addition, I think it’s important for aspiring PR professionals to pursue graduate studies, with one caveat to consider: additional schooling is often most effective after having gained some valuable work experience as it could end up changing an individual’s course of study.

I chose to pursue my master’s degree in public relations and communications at Georgetown University in my mid-twenties while working as a communications director for a member of Congress. ​It was important to me that I gain experience before seeking my master’s degree in order to allow my career path to evolve. Had I had sought my master’s degree following undergraduate school, my career would look different today. I am passionate about PR and my career, so I am thankful I waited until I was further into my career to continue my education.

What do you suggest students do to stand out among applicants in the competitive job market?

Seek internships. Internships will help students build relationships, learn about various industries and ultimately advance their career. I would encourage students to start seeking internships early in their education—don’t wait until senior year. This will give students a competitive edge and diversify their skill-sets. It will also help them gain an understanding about their career interests and talent development, including understanding company cultures.

What do you love most about working as a PR professional?

First and foremost, I love helping people and businesses creatively advance their message and enhance the prestige of their brand. It is an incredible feeling to create a PR strategy and watch it come to life—all the way through to the tactical implementation stage. I enjoy educating stakeholders about new PR opportunities for their company and providing a simple, attainable roadmap to help them accomplish their goals and objectives.

I also enjoy working with reporters and editors at various media outlets and publications. Overtime, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know them personally which has made for a successful working relationship.

Do you think it takes a certain kind of personality to thrive in PR? What traits are most important?

Top 4: Business-minded, self-starter, skilled writer, great communicator

When you see a great story in the press, what’s your immediate thought?

How can I get my company on the evening news associated with that great story!

What personality traits and intangible qualities do you look for when recruiting new PR talent?

Top 5: Willingness to learn, strong writing skills, a good communicator, organized, thoughtful and creative

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

Skiing, running, yoga, water sports and reading

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

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