Jovan Petty

Jovan Petty
Membership Administrator, Committees & Interest Groups


Do you need to have a strong background in journalism to be a good PR person?“I think it is beneficial to have a background in journalism, because you can gain the necessary skills that you need for PR, like strong writing, knowing how to research a story and fact check. You also have an inside perspective in working with the media. My undergrad degree is in communication with a concentration in journalism from George Mason University. But I decided to pursue PR, because when I was graduating in 2010, the field of journalism was changing and they were expecting someone to be a one-man band – researching the story, interviewing and also shooting and editing your own footage. I just didn’t have a lot of technical experience and that kind of turned me off from it. It’s not exactly what I was looking to do. At the same time, I was sort of interested in PR, so I took some of those classes right before I graduated. That’s when I said to myself, ‘okay, I think this is what I want to do.’”

If you ever left the PR field, what brought you back?

“I’m actually just beginning in the PR field. I just finished my master’s degree in strategic public relations at the George Washington University this summer. Currently, I work in the non-profit field for a membership association. I manage the volunteer program as a membership administrator. This year I’ve also had the opportunity to assist with strategic planning for my organization’s PR program.”

If you were a college student again, what would you do differently to prepare for your job?

“I did two internships that focused on marketing and communications. My first internship was at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children where I worked in the marketing department. I think having hands-on experience, maybe at a PR agency, would’ve been really helpful.”

What personality characteristics are most important to be successful in PR?

“I think you need to be creative. You need to have the ability to think quickly on your feet and to have perseverance, especially when handling crisis situations.”

What is your dream PR project?

“My dream is to work for a food and hospitality PR organization that specializes in branding, promotion and events for restaurants. I think working for an organization where I can be involved in projects such as restaurant openings would be really exciting. That’s what I’m really passionate about – food. I’ve always been a foodie. I like learning about different cultures and trying their food. I also make a list every year to try a different restaurant once a month. Since my passion is food, it would be really cool to do what I love.”