Member Spotlight withTerrell Merritt
Monday, September 28, 2020
Posted by: Renee Wolf
Terrell F. Merritt
Digital Marketing Strategist
The City University of New York
PRSA-NY Member since 2016
LinkedIn - Terrell Merritt
Twitter - @terrellfmerritt
Instagram - @terrellfmerrit
How did you get into the PR industry?
I started out studying computer science in college. However, most of the work I did in my extracurriculars fell under what I now know is public relations and communications. In reality, creating email newsletters, serving as the editor of a publication, launching social media channels, and managing events were just some of the things I did for organizations without even knowing the term “public relations.” Trying to figure it out, I found the Public Relations Student Society of America and continued with it as I transferred to The City College of New York with full intent on staying in this industry. Taking on leadership in that chapter exposed me to the great people of PRSA-NY as well as exposing me to PRSSA’s National Committee, which I would later serve on as vice president of brand engagement. In hindsight, this field always made sense for me.
When I oversaw the PRSSA National blog, Progressions, I tried to answer this question. http://progressions.prssa.org/index.php/2019/09/09/how-a-programmer-became-your-editor-in-chief/
What is your favorite PR story?
When I was at a previous job, I was frequently tasked with communicating educational policy to everyday parents and children. Messaging and presentation guidelines that I helped develop were very well received by those families, predominantly people of color, and we frequently heard that our work made a very daunting process feel accessible to them. Not only did it feel good to approach our goal of simplifying what can be very complicated language on a controversial subject, namely diversity in high-performing public schools, but being able to support people going through precisely what my family did when I was younger? That meant the world.
What do you love about PR?
As cliché as it is, public relations is truly all about storytelling. There are so many people, organizations, causes, and places that deserve to be highlighted. Making the right connections so that the stories are heard and are able to resonate — that’s powerful. And there is honestly something for everybody in this industry. While I can be all over the place in terms of my interests, a person can have a career in PR whether they are more STEM-minded, more creative, or more data-oriented. While there is work to do to make sure it is fully representative and inclusive, find nature the industry is very welcoming and inviting, and I’ve really been able to feel at home using these skills with like-minded folks.
Why do you feel PRSA-NY is important for staying connected in the field?
PRSA-NY has connected me to so many talented professionals in the industry, across all sorts of different sectors! Having people I know I can reach out to for insights on various topics is such a benefit. We say that the industry is evolving a lot and that it’s moving towards digital. The pandemic has only expedited that evolution, and the support system of others going through it is invaluable. There are also great conversations being started during the various panels and socials, all of which give me the knowledge that I can then bring back to my job
The New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America is one of the oldest, largest, and most prominent public relations chapters in the country. Located in the media capital of the world, it offers top-level professional development,
networking, mentoring, and awards. PRSA-NY serves communications professionals in agencies, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government, as well as independent practitioners.