Humans of PRSSA: Imani Roberson

This week we interviewed Imani Roberson. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Imani is a sophomore studying public relations and political science. In last week’s meeting, Imani was elected as the Vice President of our chapter for the upcoming school year.

What made you join PRSSA?

I didn’t really know about PRSSA at all my freshman year and then sophomore year I heard a couple people talking about it. I was originally a journalism student and then I switched to PR, so people kept asking, “Oh, are you in PRSSA?” and I said “Oh no, am I behind? What is it?” So I heard about it from a friend and I just decided to reach out and say, “Hi, I’m interested in joining”, and I believe it was Rachel [McLean], our current VP, who said “Yeah come to one of our meetings!” So I came and I really liked listening to the speakers and then I just decided to really commit to it. So I paid dues and just started going to meetings each week.

What’s your dream job?

That’s a hard question, because I have a lot of interests. Part of me thinks a dream job would be being a press secretary, but then I’m also a type of person who really likes to have fun, and I know press secretaries in the whole political environment are very professional, very party-biased, very stay-to-your-own. But I’m very social so often I think, “Will I really fit in on Capitol Hill?”

How did you choose PR as a major?

I chose PR because I realized journalism was not for me. I did journalism in high school – I was the editor-in-chief of our news magazine, and by the time I got to college I was very burnt out with the journalism field. Then I realized I really like to advocate for things, and that’s the thing with journalists – you have to make sure you’re unbiased. I also don’t like doing the same thing every day, which is another thing with PR because one day you might be planning an event but the next day you’re leading a press conference or you’re briefing a client. So I really like that there’s a lot of versatility in the job.

What has been your favorite class taken in COM?

I really enjoyed my 201 class. I liked it because it gave me a taste of everything. We got to do scriptwriting which was really fun. It also got us a lot of experience because we got to have a nonprofit come in and we did an advertising campaign for them for their upcoming event, Boston Glow. They were having their annual conference so we worked in groups and created ads and press releases for them to possibly use, then our professor, Professor Carlton, emailed them to the nonprofit. It gave me my very first taste of PR, and I thought, “Oh, ok I like this.”

Who has been your favorite speaker from the weekly PRSSA meetings?

I would have to say Monique Kelly from Weber Shandwick. I really liked listening to her because she had so much experience and so much to tell us. She gave us a great overview of what it was like when she was studying at BU and how her path led her to being a VP at Weber Shandwick. She also mentioned how the way she got a lot of her jobs was through networking, so it really made realize that the relationships I make here at BU can possibly be the reason why I’m employed later on in the future. Then I got to assist her at regional conference and be her point of contact so it was really awesome to get to know her as a person.

What would you tell people who have no idea what PR is or what we do? 

Whenever I tell people I want to be a press secretary or work in PR they always say, “Oh, so you want to lie for a living?” I always say, “No, actually PR is very important.” When I was trying to explain to my parents what PR was I explained that at the end of the day, I would say that we’re the reason news exists. We have various clients and people we’re representing, and we try and build relationships between media and our clients, or businesses if you’re doing B2B. We try to basically build relationships, and at the end of the day, it’s a win-win for everyone. A lot of people see us as spin doctors but I see us as matchmakers.

Edited By Veronica Paskulin

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