Jessica M. Graham, APR, Charlotte chapter

JessicaGrahamName: Jessica M. Graham, APR

Chapter: Charlotte

Current position: Vice President, Communications & Community Relations for Belk, Inc.

How long in current position: Five years

First PR job: My first PR jobs was for a non-profit education foundation.

Where you attended college: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – J-School

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be.., I honestly have no idea.

What is your passion? To leave things in a better place than when I got there.

Proudest professional accomplishment: This past year – guiding Belk’s internal and external communications as we sold our 127-year-old, family-owned company

Why are you a PRSA member? For networking and professional development opportunities. It’s a great organization!

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,300 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.

Lisa T. Fall, PhD, APR, Volunteer chapter

Lisa Fall PhD APRName: Lisa T. Fall, PhD, APR

Chapter: Volunteer

Current position: Associate Professor of Public Relations, School of Advertising & Public Relations, University of Tennessee

How long in current position: 16 years

First PR job: Account coordinator at the Cowen Agency, a full-service advertising/public relations agency in Phoenix, AZ

Where you attended college: Central Michigan University (undergrad), University of South Carolina (graduate), Michigan State University (doctoral)

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be.., working as a conference/meeting planner at a beachfront resort in South Carolina.

What is your passion? I have a passion for connecting people to work toward a common goal. I also love rolling up my sleeves and immersing myself in coordinating and planning projects that involve a variety of facets and details. I think team work can be truly amazing – if everyone is on board and committed to the task at hand. Stepping back and reviewing your end product can be very rewarding, whether it is a conference, a special event, an education program – or even an innovative class workshop.

Proudest professional accomplishment: One of my proudest accomplishments involved working on the promotion of the grand opening of a world-renowned chimpanzee exhibit at the Detroit Zoo: http://detroitzoo.org/animals/zoo-animals/chimpanzee/. We brought in Jane Goodall, the famous British primatologist and anthropologist, to speak to our membership and to assist us in the opening. It was very exciting! Getting to meet Jane and hear her speak was truly and honor.

Why are you a PRSA member? I am personally a PRSA member because this organization keeps me connected to the industry. Plus, I enjoy all the benefits the organization offers – which includes connecting with colleagues in our field from as close as my home community to as far as across the world . Also, I am a member because PRSA is a valuable resource for our students. Our PRSA Volunteer Chapter colleagues are so very helpful to our students. They provide internships, workshops and seminars–and a chance for our students to meet their colleagues from throughout region as well as throughout the country, which serves as an invaluable networking opportunity.  I have been a member since I first earned my undergraduate degree. I think anyone who is employed in the public relations field should definitely be a part of this dynamic organization!

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,300 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.

Marisa Tatum, Georgia chapter

Marisa TatumName: Marisa Tatum

Chapter: Georgia

Current position: Communications Specialist (Corporate Communications, LexisNexis)

How long in current position: 3.5 years

First PR job: PR assistant/administrative aide for the Ohio Senate

Where you attended college:  Auburn University (M.A.) and Southern Illinois University (B.A.)

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be.., owning and managing an event venue that specializes in weddings (I love weddings) and mentoring at-risk children.

What is your passion? Using my creative abilities to evoke positive emotions within people.

Proudest professional accomplishment: It’s a tie between winning my first two industry awards last year for video features that I produced and recently launching the African American Network employee resource group for our corporate office.

Why are you a PRSA member? To connect with other communications professionals and stay in the know regarding industry news, best practices and insights.

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,300 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.

Kristin Hudson, South Carolina chapter

Kristin Hudson headshotName: Kristin Hudson

Chapter: South Carolina

Current position: Events Manager, Cancer Centers at Palmetto Health Foundation

How long in current position: 2 years

First PR job: Government relations assistant at South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation.

Where you attended college: Clemson University

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be.., a fiction author and interior designer – think Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper

What is your passion? I love writing. Using wordplay to make someone laugh, encourage them to make a difference, or tell a story provides such a thrill and an opportunity to express my creativity.

Proudest professional accomplishment: My first Walk for Life/Race for Life event, which is our signature fundraising event for Palmetto Health Breast Center. My mom is a breast cancer survivor so I felt like every day was fueled with passion and we were able to exceed so many goals with more than 11,000 participants walking and running in honor of survivors along with record breaking fundraising totals. The energy provided by our brand ambassadors (which were in their first year of existence), volunteers, participants, and our community as a whole was such an exciting thing to be a part of.

Why are you a PRSA member? I really relish the opportunity it allows me to get to know and network with other people in my field. There is so much to learn from each of them!

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,300 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.

Lisa Lynch Williams, Memphis chapter

lisa-1Name: Lisa Lynch Williams

Chapter: Memphis

Current position: Public Relations Coordinators for City Leadership, an organization that exists to recruit and catalyze leaders in Memphis through a few different campaigns and initiatives: Choose901, Teach901, and Serve901. I also serve as secretary for the PRSA Memphis chapter.

How long in current position: I just recently joined the team and have been here for a month. I was previously with an agency, Hemline | Tailored Brand Strategies.

First PR job: Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Playhouse on the Square, a professional resident theatre company

Where you attended college: University of Missouri-Columbia for undergrad and the University of Memphis for grad school.

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be.., pursuing a career in film marketing or entertainment industry contract law.

What is your passion? Enjoying the arts and culture scene in Memphis. I adore our creative community!

Proudest professional accomplishment: Overcoming my fear of serving one of the agency’s largest corporate clients, and going on to create communication tools that would be used by their sales force worldwide.

Why are you a PRSA member? The real world insight into how I can be a more effective professional, our chapter’s informative and entertaining programming, and the valuable relationships that I’m building.

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,300 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.