Ashley Sherry – Corporate Communications Specialist, First Citizens Bank

This Friday’s Palmetto PR Diva Dish focuses on Ashley Sherry, corporate communications specialist for First Citizens Bank.

I discovered that both her and Liza worked at Cookerly Public Relations, but missed each other by a few years! Read on to learn more and have a great weekend!

As Corporate Communications Specialist for First Citizens, Ashley handles public relations, media relations and a variety of corporate communications for the company. She serves as the managing editor of internal publication, First Citizenship. Ashley also develops, writes and pitches stories about topics relevant to the financial services industry and writes various corporate messages for executive management to deliver to internal and external audiences. In addition, Ashley manages internal and external corporate events.

Additionally, Ashley was recently selected as one of Columbia’s 20 Under 40 Rising Stars in Business. For all of her hard work, she was also the recipient of the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award from the South Carolina Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

o How did you become interested in the public relations/advertising industry?
I interned at Cookerly Public Relations in Atlanta when I was in college and loved it. I knew then PR was what I wanted to do.

o What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you?
Just the rise of technology and the use of social media in PR. It is amazing to me to see the shift from “fact-based” articles in newspapers to the idea of viral marketing via text messages and Facebook. I think this type of PR and marketing is something everyone in PR needs to take note of and use, if is in the best interest of the client or company of course.

o Are you involved in any professional associations? If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?
I am actively involved in SCPRSA. I serve on the board of directors as Midlands Regional Director and membership vice chair. I also serve as luncheons chair for the Midlands. The organization has been a great way to get involved and further my professional career, as well as network with other professionals.

I am also involved with Columbia Opportunity Resource (COR), which has allowed me to become more involved with the City of Columbia and network. I also sit on the Healthy Learners Fund Development Board.

o What is the one piece of advice you would give students that are interested in pursuing a career in the public relations/investor relations/marketing industry?

Only one? Well, I would say to gain some internship experience. In PR, you can study all day, but you really need to learn hands on. The field has so many aspects to it, that internships are a great way to see it all. Also, try to intern on both the client side and the agency side.

o What is the best thing about your job?
The collaborative team environment is the best thing about my job. I also have a boss that is great at brainstorming and mentoring. I am able to use my talents and skills, but also learn more each day.

o What is the thing you like least about your job?
The research. It is necessary, but not my favorite.

o How do you balance your professional career with your personal life?
I think this is one of my strengths. In prior jobs, I worked long hours and on weekends, but I’ve had to discipline myself to take time for myself, friends, family, and relationships. I leave work at work, but tend to it if needed past a certain time. I am very career-oriented, but I’ve learned that I can have a rewarding career and personal life. I also think that the people I choose to socialize with have similar concepts of work/life balance, so that helps. We are usually all busy at the same time or all together enjoying life.

o Anything else you would like to add?

PR is a great career. It has it challenges and its rewards and I can’t think of doing anything else.


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