“If Vanessa can’t get it, then it can’t be done.”
That’s the reputation Vanessa Abron has built since entering the public relations industry more than 10 years ago. But believe it or not, a public relations career was something the young professional found zero interest in originally.
“I didn’t necessarily want to go into this field. I was really into the music business,” she admits.
While Vanessa might not have noticed her innate talent, one of her college professors did.
As a business management major and a mass communications minor at Dillard University, Vanessa was required to take at least one PR class to fulfill her graduation prerequisites, and her professor thought she had a real shot as a PR professional.
“She really encouraged me to pursue it, but I told her, ‘No, I don’t think so,’” she remembered. “I always knew I would go into some form of marketing, but I was convinced that it wouldn’t be PR.”
After receiving her undergraduate degree, Vanessa went on to pursue a master’s degree in arts management at Columbia College and gained marketing and promotions experience within the music industry.
“I had the opportunity to work directly with Atlantic Records and Hidden Beach Recordings for a while,” said Vanessa. “However, I later joined the leadership group at a small experiential company called Ch’rewd Marketing and Promotions,” she added. “While I was there, I led grass-roots marketing campaigns for Mercedes Benz, Nike, Interscope Records, Def Jam Recording, Virgin Records and Reebok while also managing the company’s staff.”
Upon receiving her master’s degree in arts management from Columbia College Chicago, the music industry suffered greatly, and a continued career in that area looked grim. As Vanessa continued to search for job opportunities, yet another person suggested she pursue public relations.
“A friend told me that I should give it a try. Hearing it again, I figured I should look into it deeper,” she says.
That’s when the Chicago-native began searching for jobs and attending networking events related to the field. Before long, she found herself smack dab in the middle of the very profession she initially attempted to avoid.
She started landing internships from RJ Dale Advertising Public Relations Agency to Weber Shandwick, and she began soaking up as much knowledge as possible.
By the time she made it to Hill + Knowlton Strategies—first as an intern and then as a full-time employee—she had racked up an impressive clientele list that included Aflac, Illinois Lottery, Pringles, Adidas, Kraft South Beach Diet products, the American Optometric Association and Target.
Vanessa also received a few awards along the way. In fact, she was on the team that received the PRSA 2013 Chicago Skyline Award of Excellence for the Aflac Workforces Report Campaign while at Hill + Knowlton Strategies.
“Things started to click. I was starting to unveil my talent in securing placements for these companies. That’s when I realized, ‘Hey, I may be kind of good at this,’” she exclaims. “I guess everyone saw something I didn’t.”
All of her previous experiences paved the way to her success, providing the foundation she needed to grow to another level.
She continued to seek new challenges by sharpening her internal and corporate PR skills, which landed her top positions at Johnson Publishing Company, the home of EBONY and JET magazines and Fashion Fair Cosmetics, and later at Nielsen as the director of communications.
Vanessa has fallen in love with the world of PR. She developed her experience in pitching, managing media strategies and cultivating strong local and national coverage. She developed a true passion for building beneficial relationships between some of the most reputable national corporations and the public audiences that followed their brands.
Now as an independent public relations consultant, Vanessa is continuing to thrive. Her vibrant personality and interactive work ethic is magnetic, and she’s dedicated to creating positive experiences for all she encounters.
“It’s not just about securing a media placement,” Vanessa points out. “I believe in establishing mutually beneficial relationships and positioning the clients and brands I work with in the best light possible to help them reach their intended audience.”