Member Spotlight: Patrice Lewis

Patrice Lewis serves as a senior advisor at SIR, a 54-year old strategic consulting firm here in Richmond. At SIR, Patrice provides strategy, insights and management for communications-related projects in transportation, government, healthcare and education. These projects include diversity and inclusion initiatives, communications plans, crisis management, leadership management, and change management.
Prior to joining the SIR team, Patrice was the outreach and community engagement representative for U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner and legislative assistant for Delegate Onzlee Ware from Roanoke. Patrice earned her B.A. in sociology from the University of Virginia and her J.D. from Regent University School of Law. She’s licensed to practice law in the state of Maryland. In her spare time, Patrice has served on numerous boards and associations such as the Urban League of Greater Richmond civic engagement committee, ChamberRVA Chesterfield, Henrico CASA caseworker, Brown Virginia and PRSA Diversity and Inclusion committee.

What drew you to the public relations industry?

Being able to tell stories in a way that relates to people has always been a passion of mine. Even as a young person, I’ve had an innate ability to communicate between people from different backgrounds, honoring their differences, finding the commonality, and making sure that whatever’s communicated is relatable to an individual’s or groups’ circumstance. PR just seems like a natural fit with my strengths.

How has your law degree impacted your work in communications?

My legal education helps me to critically think through scenarios. Lawyers are trained to see all the possibilities and ask the question, “what if?” I try to keep in mind that there are nuances and sensitivities in word choices, in images, in experiences, and in perceptions that are important to any communication.

As a member of the PRSA Diversity and Inclusion committee, what do you think is a key takeaway for professionals to know about diversity and inclusion in the industry?

Diversity and inclusion are ever-changing. As we continue to grow and transform as a society, so will they ways that we can be diverse and inclusive. Allowing ourselves to be flexible and vulnerable are key.

If you had to explain PRSA to a new-comer in just two sentences, what would you say?

PRSA is a network of individuals who support and encourage each other to navigate a dynamic field in various ways. It’s that group of PR enthusiasts you need in your life.