An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!
Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 50 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.
For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews
Introducing Jessica Lewis; A Dedicated And Hardworking Public Relations Leader Within Our Community
In this highlight we turn our attention to Jessica Lewis of Lalew Public Relations, an excellent, passionate public relations specialist, and hard working, recognizable leader within our community.
I first met Jessica at the 2017 Roc Awards. Filled with grace and positivity, she greeted me and many other of the guests before we entered the theatre with a friendly, graceful and positive disposition.
The qualities that stood out the most to me was her impressive, professional composure. Jessica is loyal to her profession. Jessica is both inspiring and motivating to those that come into contact with her.
I asked Jessica Lewis a series of questions. Here is what we discussed.
Tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, grew up, what H.S./College you attended etc.
I grew up in Rochester and attended school in West Irondequoit through the Urban/Suburban Transfer program. I started as a second grade student there. I attended #16 School in the first grade, so going to West Irondequoit was quite a transition because none of the students looked like me and didn’t live in the same neighborhood, so it was an adjustment I got acclimated to and I ended up enjoying the experience.
After graduating from Irondequoit High School, I enrolled at Buffalo State College and majored in Social Studies Education, grades 7-12. I was very active in college, involved in many different clubs and organizations, including Black Active Minds and Spirit Gospel Choir, I was also a R.A. on campus. After graduating from Buffalo State, I enrolled at the University of Rochester, where I earned a Masters Degree in Teaching and Curriculum and Social Studies Education, also grades 7-12.
What inspired you to be an Public Relations Specialist? Early experiences worth sharing?
What inspired me to pursue Public Relations was when I had an opportunity to go back to school through my employer. At the time, I was working at the Urban/Suburban Program, a program of Monroe BOCES. They had a tuition reimbursement program and my supervisor there really encouraged me to go back to school. However I already had a Masters Degree and really no desire to go back to school at the time. But I prayed about it and I asked the lord, “What are my next steps?”
I was then guided towards journalism, and had the opportunity to shadow a journalist at Channel 8 WROC. Journalism didn’t end up working and through some reevaluation it came to me. I like to talk, be in front of the camera so I looked into Communications in Media Arts at the Monroe Community College. Upon enrolling at Monroe Community College, I took a Public Relations 101 course with Dresden Engle, Dresden inspired me and I said to myself, “I want to do what she’s doing.”
Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed.
While I was employed with the Urban/Suburban program, that position came to an end in December 2016, so I had a period of transition. When you talk about a time of facing adversity where you came out triumphant, it was in THAT transition time, that I started Lalew Public Relations. So prior to this job, Lalew was just written out in black and white in its early stages.
I was very apprehensive to taking the next step, of course. Fear, doubt, anxiety and all of those things that can hinder you from pursuing your dreams and your passions set in. However, one day in the month of March, I was home literally doing nothing and the lord spoke to me and said, “Get up! Go downtown and get your papers for this business.” So that is exactly what I did, and looking back I am so grateful and thankful that I took a leap of faith and didn’t let fear, doubt or anxiety stand in my way and so today, I stand triumphant.
What do you believe sets you apart from other Public Relations Specialists?
What sets me apart from other Public Relations Specialists, is that I do everything in excellence. I treat every client the way that I would want to be treated. I’m sure to give my all to each and every project because that is what I would expect in return. I think thay is why a lot of people choose me to lead their public relations efforts is because they know what I can do and they know that I deliver. I’m a woman of my word and am confident in my abilities as a Public Relations Specialist.
Do you have other interests or hobbies?
I’m a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. I am the immediate past president of the Theta Omega Sigma Alumnae Chapter, so through my participation in the sorority we do a lot of community service, we mentor young ladies through our Rhoer Club, which is a group for girls ages 12-18. Through this mentorship program, we teach the young ladies how to give back and teach them what it means to be a servant leader.
Additionally, I am the Vice President of the youth department at my church, which is the church of God by Faith. So a lot of times, you can find me in church services or various functions we are doing out in the community. Also I am a member of the Democrat and Chronicle‘s Young Professionals Group and the Rochester Association of Black Journalists. So I definitely have many interests and hobbies and things that keep me busy.
Any projects you have out or currently working on?
I am currently working on the Love Marriage Ministries, “Why Did I Get Married?” conference. This will be happening on Saturday May 20th at 9 A.M. What im doing for this project is coordinating the Public Relations, the press and media with the founders. Please be on the lookout for their interviews and if you are interested in registering, log on to lovemarriageministries.com
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
I would like to see myself pursuing Lalew Public Relations on a full time basis. I’d like to have a stationed location, and I would also like to continue to lead as a black woman in this community, and really set a positive example for other women and my peers.
What advice can you give to aspiring Public Relations Specialists?
If there are aspiring publicists out there, my advice to you is always maintaining good relationships. That is so very important, ESPECIALLY when you are dealing with the media because it is hard to get in front of them. It is hard to get things covered because there are a lot of negative things that get coverage very easily, so you have to work through that to get the positive to shine. Don’t get discouraged when things don’t go your way, just remain persistent and keep at your goals.
How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?
You can follow Lalew Public Relations here:
Facebook: Lalew Public Relations