Rising Star Spotlight: Jay Ell Alexander  

Jay Ell HeadshotAt the 2015 Virginia Public Relations Awards held May 21, Jay Ell Alexander was named this year’s Rising Star. The award was instituted in 2010 to recognize an outstanding new member of the public relations profession who has five or fewer years of experience in PR.

Get to know this year’s recipient, Jay Ell Alexander:

PRSA: What does receiving the Rising Star award mean to you?

Alexander: The Rising Star award means being a leader, building a strong foundation to grow, showing initiative, going above and beyond and making a difference early on in my career.  It means seeing your career as a constellation!

How did you decide to get involved in the public relations industry?

I became interested in the public relations industry in undergrad at George Mason University and then completely immersed once graduating and pursuing my Master’s in the field. My first love is journalism and events planning. My mentors J.R. Hipple, Elia Imler and Lisa Van Riper were some crucial folks that helped me along the way and really amazed me with their knowledge of the field.

Do you have a highlight that comes to mind when you think of your career thus far?

A highlight of my career thus far was not too long ago since I have started with the City of Petersburg. I organized a press conference for a controversial topic in the city, and the press conference went completely left. I had to immediately step in during the middle of questions, turn off the mic and shut the press conference.  It got so out of hand that I had to be escorted out by police. The image of the organization was the most important thing to me.

How did you get involved in PRSA Richmond? What has your experience been like as a member?

I became involved as a non-member with PRSA Richmond a couple of years ago. The topics of the luncheons really intrigued me. I became a member just about nine months. Becoming a member was a crucial piece of my career. Its important to be connected to people in the industry in the area. My experience as a member has been great. The professional sessions, luncheons and the networking is untouchable.

What advice do you have for young professionals?

My advice to any young professional would be have persistence, do tasks that you do not want to do or even others want to do, take initiative, find things to do before having to be told and always do it with a smile. People will always remember how hard you work and your pleasant personality.