Jessica Fontana, Georgia chapter

JessicaFontanaName: Jessica Fontana

Chapter: Georgia

Current position: Senior Communications Manager at Georgia Aquarium

How long in current position: 4 years with Georgia Aquarium’s Public Relations team, 1 year in current position.

First PR job: Carden Group Communications, a boutique agency in St. Louis that represents retail, restaurant and a variety of clients.

Where you attended college: Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be…… I would love to produce for a television show or plan large scale events and galas.

Proudest professional accomplishment: I feel fortunate enough to have had several proud moments. Anytime we score big coverage on our research and conservation stories or when we celebrated Georgia Aquarium’s 10th anniversary this spring with a total of 4.8 million impressions in just one day! I am also proud to work at Georgia Aquarium everyday where we are working tirelessly to conserve and preserve animal species, educate young minds on the state of our ocean and inspire generations to care more about our ocean and its inhabitants.

What is your passion? Family, travel and animals. I am lucky that I have found a job that is a combination of all my passions.

Why you are a PRSA member? PRSA brings together professionals from a wide range of experiences, industries and interests.  Being a member is important to me to stay connected with the PR community, learn from colleagues about trends and current practices and become inspired by others.

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,700 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.

Robin DeMonia, Alabama chapter

RobinDeMoniaName: Robin DeMonia

Chapter: Alabama (Birmingham)

Current position: Senior vice president, Direct Communications

How long in current position: Almost four years with the firm

First PR job: Senior account manager, Direct Communications

Where you attended college: University of Alabama

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be…… probably still a journalist.

Proudest professional accomplishment: Editorial series that was finalist for Pulitzer Prize

What is your passion? A weird mishmash of health, education, justice and politics

Why you are a PRSA member? Opportunity to learn and improve skills

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,700 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.

Jo Alice Driggers, Alabama chapter

Driggers, J_DSC7654Name: Jo Alice Driggers

Chapter: Alabama

Current position: Account Executive, Operations Communication, Corporate Communication, Southern Company

How long in current position: 12 years

First PR job: Senior Account Executive, Galassini & Associates Advertising

Where you attended college: University of Alabama

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be……Like most avid readers, at one point, I had every communicator’s dream of writing fiction. But more realistically, I believe I would be working in an educational environment. I come from a family of teachers.

Proudest professional accomplishment: At Southern Company, I’ve had the opportunity to lead both internal and external communication initiatives for the company’s Operations business unit. Whether I’ve been telling interesting stories about our people, communicating our leadership’s vision or planning employee and stakeholder events, every project has been highly satisfying. Before my career in the electric utility industry, I worked in healthcare communication. That was also very rewarding because I was able to share information that could improve peoples’ lives and health.

What is your passion? Professionally, to always do an exemplary job and produce real value for those who are depending on me.

Why you are a PRSA member?As a past president of the Alabama chapter, I’ve always believed in the advantages PRSA membership can bring. With the rapid and transformative changes going on in our industry, the networking, mentoring, professional development and advocacy PRSA provides is more important than ever.

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,700 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.

Chris Fletcher, Nashville chapter

Chris-FletcherName: Chris Fletcher

Chapter: Nashville

Current position: PR & Communications Manager, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee

How long in current position: Since October 2014

First PR job: This is my first job in PR. For 26 years prior, I worked in journalism as a reporter and editor for newspapers and the Associated Press in Texas, Florida and Tennessee.

Where you attended college: Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas.

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be … Still working someplace like Goodwill, which is dedicated to educating and empowering people.

Proudest professional accomplishment: Anytime I have been able to make a genuine difference in someone’s life through my writing. Bylines and awards tarnish and fade, but hearing “thank you” from a grateful reader never does.

What is your passion? Storytelling as a tool to educate and bring people closer together. I think the power of a good story to change the world is almost limitless.

Why you are a PRSA member? Because I have an awful lot to learn in this industry. I have already gotten a lot of guidance through PRSA-hosted events.

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,700 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.

 

 

Tyler Pearson, Georgia chapter

Tyler Pearson headshotName: Tyler Pearson

Chapter: Georgia Chapter

Current position: Director of Public Relations, WellStar Health System

How long in current position: 2.5 years

First PR job: PR Specialist, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

Where you attended college: Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a BA in History from Furman University

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be…… If I weren’t in PR, I’d probably still be in TV news.  At this point, I’d probably have made the switch to behind the camera work—executive producer, news director, etc…  Either that or I’d be a ninja.  Flip a coin.

Proudest professional accomplishment: There have been a number of great moments from my agency days—promoting big brands in national campaigns to working with smaller not-for-profits on local crisis communications, but my proudest moment happened recently.  On April 1, WellStar Health System completed the acquisition of six hospitals.  Overnight we grew from 5 hospitals to 11, becoming the largest health system in Georgia.  As you can imagine, there is a lot of work that goes into making something like this happen and communication is a critical component every step of the way.  Our team worked together throughout the process.  This includes PR, internal communication, events, marketing and digital.  There were long hours and some serious challenges, but we pulled together and everything went smoothly.

What is your passion? I am passionate about story telling.  I got into TV news to tell great stories.  In PR I do the same thing, I just tell a brand’s story.  My TV reporter friends have trouble understanding this, but at its best, PR is about storytelling—not spinning.

Why you are a PRSA member? I do not have a PR degree.  In fact (this freaks people out), I never took a PR class in college.  My knowledge of the media comes firsthand from working as a reporter.  PRSA gives me the opportunity to network and learn from the best in the business.  This organization has been invaluable to me as I have grown in my career.

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,700 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.